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Nikon D3

Capture Date/Time:January 8, 2008 9:58
Aperture/Shutter Speed:f 4 / 1/100
Focal Length: 10.5 mm
ISO: 800
Flash: None

I didn't want to leave the posts of Manila without putting up this one from an important visit a few days ago. I thought hard about whether or not to post this, and in the end I thought it really relays our experiences and emotions from this trip. Here is my mom and her two sisters visiting the grave of their parents. It was, as many visits have been on this trip, a very moving experience. Our visit to my Great Grandfather's grave in Xiamen was also quite moving, but in a different way.

Here, my mom had not visited this site since her father passed away, so to see the site where her parents are both buried together--and to visit with her remaining siblings (including my uncle who is out of the frame)--made for an emotional trip.

For most of my adult life I have thought that cremation and the scattering of one's ashes is the better thing to do upon the passing of a loved one. My main reason is that I didn't think that it was a good thing to obligate your relatives to come and visit, or otherwise create guilt about having a place that they should visit. But this trip has truly changed my mind. I am so glad that I was able to visit this site and the others. To know that the grandparents I briefly knew are actually here is somehow important to me. I will take my children here to see it. And the other sites. Soon.

One other note about this post. This visit and the others were not full of sadness and tears by any means. What I don't show are the funny stories and laughs we all shared just a few minutes after this shot was taken. That went on and on, and we left all smiles. There was something very cathartic about all of it.


01.11.08, 10:58 AM, P.J.:

This is a very powerful image. I lost my father in the past year and I will say, having the grave is a good thing for the human thought process and healing.

01.12.08, 06:09 AM, ana:

very powerful shot. thank you for sharing your personal experience.

01.13.08, 12:19 AM, Archie FlorCruz:

There is a lot of emotion to be felt in this one... every time I fly back to the Philippines we always visit the gravesite of my grandparents on both sides of the family to pay our respects. Since the Philippines doesn't have cartography established in the provinces I have plotted the latitude and longitude coordinates on my GPS if there is a day I want to go back there in the very far future and nobody is around anymore to tell me how to get there that I'll be able to find it if maps ever get made...

01.13.08, 11:08 AM, Pieter:

Thank you for sharing your trip, your feelings and the images. great "stuff" of life.

01.15.08, 02:12 PM, Mark:

Mike, thanks so much for sharing photos of the trip. At one time, I did a fair amount of genealogy and still am very interested in family history, not just names of ancestors but where they were from, what they did, etc. One of the most interesting aspects of that is when you find their grave. There is something special about knowing where their body actually lies. Knowing that you are standing on the spot where, most likely, a group of friends & family once stood in memorial. The grave of one of my great,great, great Grandfathers was lost but I finally found someone who stood at the base of a mountain and pointed up the steep incline. Up there, I found an old cemetery that had been overtaken by a forest, and there was his headstone. Yes, cremation makes a lot of sense in terms of money, resources, and making the smallest impact on the planet. Though I support that, times like finding a grave of a relative makes you rethink the position, as you stated.

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