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Monday, May 14, 2012

Lives Remembered

photos of deceased people at the Kun Ian Temple in Macau

Over a month ago I stood here in Macau's Kun Iam Temple transfixed by all the faces from the past. I wondered about their lives--so many different stories I would never know.

Later that same day, I came across a similar scene at the Cemetery of Saint Michael the Archangel.

final resting places, some with photos, at the Cemetery of Saint Michael the Archangel in Macau

And again I thought about all of the lives and wondered what could be learned to help answer the question "What is life?"

I then slowly walked around looking at a variety of gravestones--some with a mix of Eastern and Western styles. One gravestone especially caught my eye.

graves at the Cemetery of Saint Michael the Archangel in Macau

GEORGE V DO ROZARIO
BORN IN SHANGHAI 21-7-1914
DIED IN MACAU 2-8-1968

SON OF JOSE MIGUEL DO ROZARIO AND OF
IZA DO ROZARIO

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

REST IN PEACE
A man who was not ethnically Chinese, but China had been the place of his birth and death. I wondered what stories he could have told. What brought his family to Shanghai? Why and when did he leave? What brought him to Macau? What did he experience in China during a time when it underwent immense changes and challenges?

My inability to find any answers leads me to ponder the phrase "Gone but not forgotten". What does it mean to be remembered? Why would it matter? How long will the gravestone last?

These experiences and questions come to my mind now due to the recent death of someone I knew. A man who began his life in the U.S. but found his end in Shanghai, a place where he discovered much that he enjoyed. Just days ago we were discussing the great variety of people that can be found in China.

I know more about him than the man who died in Macau. Yet as is highlighted by what others are now sharing online in a new form of an old ritual, I am sure there remains so much more I could learn. I am also sure that two men who had different journeys have something in common. They both impacted me and others. And I know the resulting changes are a form of remembrance, no matter what happens to their stories.

flowers on the ground outside the Kun Ian Temple in Macau
Outside the Kun Iam Temple

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