They are an embarassment, the dead, in our modern society. Our masters prefer that the remains of the unimportant should vanish, it seems. Only the rich and powerful get graves today.
When the girl we loved dies, there is a funeral still. But the graves of yester-year are no more, at least for us. Instead the body is burned, like so much waste, to be disposed of as expeditiously as possible.
In some cases ashes are delivered to the relatives, and their fate is unknown to anyone else. In others the ashes are supposed to be scattered at the crematorium; although a quick calculation of the number of dead against the size of the area in question reveals that most must be simply thrown in the council landfill.
In either case, the beloved simply vanishes. There will, most likely, be no plaque, no grave, nothing.
What happens, then, to those to only learn of the death in after years? They come to grieve, and find nowhere to grieve. They cannot lay flowers on the grave, for there is not one.
They can, it is true, leave flowers at the crematorium where the funeral took place. Although I find notices like this: “In order to keep the wall of flowers fresh, flowers will be removed every Monday”. But the remains are not there; and so the mourner wonders where he should grieve, where the wreath should be sent, where the card can be placed.
Little by little the traditional way of handling a death, and of mourning them, has been adapted to the production line efficiency where the departed loved ones are simply a commodity.
In Iceland they still have proper cemetaries. Not here, it seems.
It is a cruel, cruel business, this modern way of death.