“She gave us this gift from back home” Understanding they are good neighbours, friends even. But what her voice and her skin do not say is she left this home her country 40 years past. There is no forgetting. She cooks one way one day and the other the next, speaks to her children in the language for them to access the knowledge, the culture. They learn the major tongue elsewhere. Uprooted at six months old he lived here for forty years. What his voice does not say he tells strangers willingly: “I am from there” he smiles and chooses to remember. He tells stories and asks for them, visits landmarks with his children. Did they laugh in school at his name, at his parents' voice, until he owned them? “Not from here, different” some say, some whisper. What does it take to be accepted or tolerated? What does it take to not be? A voice, a skin, a remembrance of identity – food, people, places, customs? Blend in some cannot, would they want it or not, a mixture made over time they have a foot over some line, drawn with changing references it forgets history and choices.
I live by an old cemetery with a few sandstones amongst the trees, and some new marble ones at the back.
For a long time, I have been afraid that I or my child may be swallowed in our morbid days by this sight, by our fear of death.
But fear of death is only fear of the unknown and fear of change, it is no evil but what we make.
These graves are Death Happened, but also Lives Lived!
How many were short, or lain not to be regretted?
The stones, the words, the few flowers say: however long they were there, here lay people who mattered.
It shines in the darkness, by the shadow of the sun in the trees, by the light of the moon on the grass:
Death is a life lived to the end. These graves are lives loved.