Central Florida cemeteries

Grave Offerings

As I wander through cemeteries, I am always struck by the variety of offerings to the dead that I encounter. Sometimes they are simple: a flower; a photo; a favorite toy; bottles of soda or alcohol; a statuette… In other cases, they can be quite elaborate. I am most intrigued by those things left behind that imply an element of ritual, and I wonder if they are meant to appease a potentially restless spirit or an angry god/God. For one who believes the spirits of the dead are wandering around in the ether or that God demands appeasement rather than having a character of love, I suppose these gifts serve both a symbolic and a functional or practical purpose. I am intrigued by how they are often indicative of a broader culture or faith while simultaneously revealing the very individualized and personal ways we employ to cope with the death of a loved one.

"Grave Offerings" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/25 sec., 85mm

“Grave Offerings” Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/25 sec., 85mm
Click here to view a larger size.

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Resting in the Garden

There is a grave in Rose Hill Cemetery that has become a lush garden of tropical plants. Catholic idols and instruments attend this woman, this mother, who was so obviously cherished by family and friends. As I was roaming through the cemetery in the last few minutes of daylight, my eye was caught by this grave and the way the combination of light and shadow drew the eye directly to the angel statue, holding a rosary and watching over this loved one. I was struck by the variety of ways we express our grief and our love for those who have died, and liked how grief for this much-loved mother has grown into a garden.

"Resting in the Garden" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/9.0 at 1/13 sec., 85 mm

“Resting in the Garden” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/9.0 at 1/13 sec., 85 mm

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