Saturday, 3 March 2018

Life is too short

Last week it was the first time I visited a local cemetery. This is very ungothlike but the explanation is really simple. Our (Orthodox) cemeteries don't have that sober and dignified look you see in pictures of black lace-clad beauties. Besides, all my dead relatives are scattered around the country, there is no social reason for me to visit any graves here in the capital. Until last week.

Someone I knew committed suicide recently and we gathered a small group to pay our last respects. It was someone I'd met only a few times, we weren't close at all. We were told what had happened some days after the funeral. This person was suffering from depression for years and ultimately lost the fight. As usual, we mere acquaintances had no idea anything was wrong.

I had mixed feelings about going to the cemetery. Aside from the fact that my cemetery related memories are all really, really bad, it is no secret I have problems myself. While not actively suicidal, I still find it very hard to feel the proper grief for suicide victims - or, rather, to feel anything but envy. However, the people I went with are nice and open-minded, so while I didn't discuss my concerns beforehand, I felt I could count on them in case of a breakdown. Luckily, I held up very well. No religious rituals were performed, we pretty much put some flowers on the grave in silence, then stood aside for a little snack and a lighthearted discussion, after which we took a small tour of the cemetery until our noses froze off.

All the graves were covered with the fresh snow that had fallen a couple of days before. I'll admit the neat white snow had a very soothing effect. It's been 17 years since my grandma's funeral - also in winter, on my birthday actually - and I still can't get the image out of my head: a dark hole with dirt scattered all over, disturbing the pure blanket of the sleeping earth. And the infernal noise! Orthodox funerals are really loud, messy, overly dramatic and way more traumatizing than they should be. Anyway, I was now in the company of rational people and I felt confident enough to snap a few pictures to show you what cemeteries look like in this part of the world (and why I hate them).

Some fresh graves, much like the one we visited.

As a rule, headstones are really elaborate. Brought by the same people who take a credit to have the trendiest wedding or buy a bitching car while having no money for gas, here are some gems:

People put the damnedest things on their tombstones.

This guy must have really loved his cigarettes

This was actually quite pretty, but still too much in my opinion.

Not all of them are super fancy. This is close to the edge.

All graves face the same way and many have a table and benches for visitors. The next Sunday after Easter is a holiday to remember the dead and people gather to feast on/around graves. I find this quite disturbing and unsanitary.

The coolest dead people have some kind of enclosure too:

And then there's this...

The icicles make it particularly creepy

Notice the artificial flowers popping into the frame? They are omnipresent and really garish.

I even saw tinsel on more than one grave. Um... new trend, I guess?

There was a church next to the entrance:

I find the traditional imagery depressing, but this one wasn't too bad. My glasses fogged like crazy though so this is all I could see of the inside, it's between the outer door and the actual church interior.

I'll close with some general, "normal" views and then we'll talk about something else.


The cemetery visit, and before that, the news of the suicide, made me rethink some things. Even though I wasn't close friends with the deceased, it affected me. So many people struggle with mental illnesses, some survive, but not all. The world is becoming more aware and tolerant of these people, but our country is sadly very backwards in this aspect. Many flat out refuse to acknowledge depression, saying it's just a fancy word invented by lazy people, and no amount of persuading them will make them change their opinion. As if surviving daily life wasn't difficult enough, we have to deal with such idiots too!

I had a plan, after quitting my last job, to make and sell some art, to earn some money and make myself useful this way. I kept waiting for better supplies, better lighting, more time and so I haven't moved a bit in over four months. Now I finally bought the stuff I was missing from the first art shop where I found it and just started drawing. I had a different idea initially, but now I want to paint a series about mental illnesses first. Here is one of the sketches, the full painting is half done already:

It is a difficult project, not just because of the nature of the subject, but also, as it turns out, I really suck at drawing anything that isn't a miniature! I used to sketch, draw and paint a lot until around my mid teens, but my perfectionism, my increasingly bad eyesight and the accessibility of digital cameras put a stop to that. Now that I'm much older, I've revisited my views and I'll persevere with my project no matter how terrible it looks at first. Because life is too short to wait for the perfect opportunity, perfect supplies and perfect skills.

Blackkitty (^^)~


  1. A death is always complicated, even if it's not of someone close. It greatly affects our sense of reality and makes us question many things. My mom used to be terrified of death news, she'd be scared for days wondering if she would be the next one.. ^^' As for suicide, all my close family already considered it, we had some very tough times for way too long.. But we are over it for ages now (it did last for around 2 decades though). I know life can be hard (sometimes more often than not) but I made a better decision: if life gets to a point it feels unbearable and I'd want to abandon everything, I'd much prefer to sell all I have, travel to a different place and do all the heck I wanna do with my life, like "fuck the world, I'll have my fun now". (But I kinda did that when I got back to the toys hobby, now I feel a lot better)
    And wow, the tables were quite a surprise! Also some of the tombstones.. O___O It's always great to know more about all the traditions out there! Looove the first pic and the structure with icicles! S2

    Also, congrats on starting your project! :D That's the hardest part, specially when we deal with perfectionism. Best of luck and success, and plz do not let the clouds take too much of your thoughts. As hard as it is, we can overcome darkness, one day at a time. Life doesn't have to be too short. :)

    1. Thanks! That's an interesting solution, but it's not my style. Hope you don't have to resort to it either :)


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