World Sign
Vol. 90: A Place that Heals Us
A Place that Heals Us

The phrase “cradle-to-grave services” praises the careful welfare services of England, a welfare-oriented state. In Sweden, I felt that the administration, as good as that of England, cared enough about the individual to truly deserve that phrase.
The municipal graveyard in Stockholm made me feel spiritual excitement and peace, quite different from the gloomy and somber atmosphere of Japanese graveyards and the radiant picnic-like mood of American graveyards.
Sorrowful ranges of trees, as well as small hills placed symbolically in the vast stretch of land. Against these excessively abundant backdrops, each of the graves appeared humble and clean. The arena of funeral rites created by one of the representative Swedish architects, Gunnar Asplund, who spent half of his life on the project, formed a space for dialogue with the dead that provides more than what one wishes for.
The building with the triangular roof is literally called “The Chapel in the Woods” and stands still, deep in the cedar woods. I found an oval relief on the wall surface on the gate leading to the chapel. In the building shown in the relief, the phrase “It is you today, it will be me tomorrow” was carved. This phrase must try to express the evanescence of humans’ lives, as well as the depth of the spiritual bonds between those living in this world and the dead.
I am not old enough to feel familiar with death, but having visited this graveyard I truly thought that it would be the best to be entombed in such a place when my time comes.

(translated by Satoko Matsuoka)

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