"THE MEMORY OF THE JUST IS BLESSED": EPITAPHS
Gravestones vividly attest to the broken connection between the living and the dead, but their images and words also bear witness to an undying bond. While death results in biological and psychic annihilation, life includes perceptions of symbolic connections preceding and outlasting death. Cemeteries, with their monuments and inscriptions, often reveal words and symbols that say "no" to death and "yes" to life. Along with funeral rites, eulogies, and elegies, gravestones help individuals to place their personal sorrow in larger, more public contexts, and thereby to share and make sense of grief. Often, this is done through a rhetoric of "death as transformation," as death becomes sleep, a journey, or a gateway to some form of transcendence. Thus, the deceased may live on in children or creative works, while many religions proclaim a life after death, whether through the soul's transmigration or heavenly ascent, or by a continued existence in the universe, albeit in a new form.
"May the Souls be Bound Up in Eternal Life"
The following memorials in Mount Hope illustrate the idea of epitaph: