Cemeteries facilitate continuing bonds between the dead and the living. More than once I have put on pictures of children’s graves – often more than 50 years old – that still carry signs of grave visits (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). As the years pass by I do wonder who is still visiting those old graves? Is there an expiration date to these bonds? Does the materialization/ritualization of the relation change?
Next to recent and regular signs of grave visits I also notice signs of (material) disintegration: broken or crushed little statues, names on the headstone that are no longer readable, tattered stuffed animals and once green leaves of plastic flowers that eventually turn bright blue… Are these signs that the bonds no longer last? What does this material aspect tell us? And why do I perceive these images as gloomy and sad?