Mink Machine

Remembrance at Père-Lachaise

2020 has been a very strange year. In the wake of the corona virus, it feels like the grim reaper has been closer than usual. Today is the day of remembering the dead. I recently visited a cemetery in my home town, where I found some structures that reminded me of the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

A few years ago, I was walking across Père-Lachaise on a sunny autumn day. Of course, Père-Lachaise is a well-known spot for tourists visiting the graves of Jim Morrison, Chopin and others. But it covers a large area and there are lots of imposing tombs.

Père-Lachaise Raspail family grave, Père-Lachaise.

One of my favorites is the family grave of François-Vincent Raspail, featuring a hooded figure. The tomb gained extra recognition when it was used on the cover of the 1987 album Within the Realm of a Dying Sun by Dead Can Dance. It’s not exactly hidden, near the roundabout Casimir Perier, but easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

Père-Lachaise Chemin Lauriston, Père-Lachaise.

The park in itself is very beautiful and worth a stroll, especially during autumn. The high rise at Avenue Feuillant offers views all the way to Notre Dame, Montparnasse tower and the Eiffel tower.

Père-Lachaise Avenue Principale, Père-Lachaise.

While walking along the lanes, surrounded by stone and ashes, some may feel a sense of dread, or even impending doom. The thought of mortality can be a heavy burden to bear. But I prefer to see it in another light. In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
— Steve Jobs (2005)

Focus on the truly important.


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