To be remembered is its major purpose; a graveyard has one central aim: to preserve the memory of loved ones gone. Its nucleus, heart or core or whatever you want to call it, is memory.
If the last trace of those buried there is gone, a graveyard has lost its innermost purpose.
It is a very human need indeed, wanting to be remembered. As much as loved ones will want to remember the deceased, those gone will want to remain in the hearts of those they have left. A graveyard is the representation of that mutual need.
A forgotten grave is a paradox in itself.
Immortality remains a spiritual hope but not a factual one because a forgotten grave is a life forgotten at least in public memory.
Merkadale cemetery is one of those forgotten graveyards. The burial ground on the Isle of Skye, a small enclosure on the southern end of Loch Harport, belongs to a small settlement at the foot of Dun Merkadale.
A new cemetery has been added to the ancient ground. The few remaining slabs of the old part are completely overgrown with moss, the inscriptions undecipherable.
The old church lies in ruins, its name remains unknown. So do the men, women and children buried here.
And their hopes and dreams.
The memory of the graves in Merkadale is faint, the dead are long forgotten.
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.” Ecclesiastes 9:5; King James Bible
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