As a child, one of my fondest memories was that of my father driving us to the cemetery to visit the graves of my mother's relatives including that of her father, who she lost when she was only five years old. My father would dutifully turn off the radio as we entered the majestic looking gates and we were given a primer on cemetery etiquette. Never walk on anyone's graves, keep conversation to only that which was necessary, whisper if we must talk, and pray for the souls of those entombed there.
I found the mausoleums fascinating. By comparison, my grandfather's grave did not even have a headstone to mark it and here were these houses of marble, probably costing more than any place my poor parents ever called home. But what struck me most were the graves of infants and children. One in particular always stayed with me, so much so that I find myself on the look out for it even now. The inscription read something like "Here lies our little angel". I don't even remember the child's name or whether a boy or a girl but I do remember that the monument marking the grave bore a sculpture of a guardian angel with his hand on a child's shoulder, guiding him or her toward eternity.
By contrast, the grave of my cousin, who died of a lethal childhood cancer when he was scarcely past a year old, wasn't marked at all. Not long after his death, his grieving mother became pregnant with another little boy. Shortly after his birth, his father announced he was leaving my aunt. I don't know how my aunt withstood so much grief in so short a period of time. I know she never really recovered. The grave of her baby never did get a marker. It would be years before my mother and her siblings could afford to put a headstone on their father's grave, where her mother also would eventually be laid.
And the thing is, whether she would mark it with a mausoleum or not at all would not matter in the least. These things and these places are intended for our comfort. The only way to comfort the departed souls is by praying for them. My mother always says that she never prays for her mother, only to her because she is convinced her mother is a saint. That is not for me to judge but I do know that my grandmother's example in life could only be called saintly.
The past few years I've made it a practice to visit this cemetery on Holy Saturday.
My favorite inscription is "My Jesus, mercy, Mary, pray".
What more needs to be said?
What follows are some photographs I took on my last visit.