Listening for the Alien Heartbeat

The next morning in Vanadzor it was -6°C and clear, with the sweet smell of pine woodsmoke.   Old fruit hung from leafless apple and pear trees. The cemetery was large and overgrown, with headstones that showed many who were born late 1800s, and an unusual number who died in 1952.   Must have been one of the tough years.   But what most struck me here, and in all Armenian cemeteries, was the many dual husband-wife headstones.

These two were born in 1871 and 1878, but died together in 1952.   Matter of fact people from a different century and a different world:

Armenian Cemetery - Two Centuries Together

Many told a single story: the husband in uniform, killed in the 2nd World War as a young man, the wife dying 60 years later, an old woman:

Armenian Cemetery - Man Died in War, Wife 60 Years Later

This one also spoke: the parents born in 1895 and 1897 had a son in 1921.   He was killed in 1941 and is shown in his uniform.   Despite this they somehow lived another 40 and 50 years:

Armenian Cemetery - Father, Mother, Son

Many many headstones had just a picture of the husband, and a space beside him waiting for his longer-lived wife.   This one, a man who lived from 1925-1979.   A coat and tie and a nice face etched in stone.   The space for his wife is still blank.   But everywhere around this headstone there are fresh and drying flowers.   This man, whose premature death only hints at the loss, must be still loved:

Still So Loved - Waiting Man Who among us, 33 years after our death, will be still so loved?

(events  29/Nov/2012)

23 Responses to “Still So Loved”

  1. Mike Goldstone

    Michael, it’s remarkable the longevity of those who led out their full lifespan…..

    • alienheartbeat

      Yes, I just noticed these women lived to 94, 92 and 74. It may say exercise and a simple, even deprived life, are more important than a balanced diet and medicine. That’s certainly what you see in many beautiful but tough places, eg here, and the famous Hunza valley.

  2. bondingtool

    i wanted to say so much but nothing right comes out. this post speaks volume about life. i love the way you tell the story that is so thought provoking yet make me dumbfounded.

    • alienheartbeat

      Thanks Sam. Wandering through cemereries always leaves me reflective. This one especially so as it was of a very old culture that has passed through experiences different to ours, but feels the same heartaches.

  3. bondingtool

    I’m amazed that the couples are so loving they even thought of being together in after-life. The way the “outside” world is now has so much to learn about life, love etc…

  4. Nil

    Thanks for the touching post… A time when a given word went almost beyond the grave for some…

    • alienheartbeat

      hi Sam, sorry for the delay in replying. Thank you very much, it is really a kind honour, and thank you for thinking of me. however I have not been blogging very long and I don’t think I am ready for any awards. Let me wait a year quietly.

      • bondingtool

        Take your time Michael. I just want to let you know your work is special and appreciated, Not many will see what you have seen.Your descriptions and feelings towards your subjects are priceless. I am moved and provoked at the same time. There is no time limit to those awards… when you are ready 🙂

  5. Teju

    Wow Michael! This is so moving…. What bigger blessing than to be so dearly loved? I really admire the couples here who not only spent their lifetimes with each other but are longing to spend their ‘beyond’ with each other too… so loved & so together! Loved this post!

  6. Zhang Wenjie

    I would say his was a life well-lived. One which may not be feted in grand annals, but still quietly loved and remembered in the slow passage of time. This kind of devotion that endures – the most precious of gifts.

  7. carmenw503

    We can only hope to be remembered and not only remembered but loved for as long as those who we leave behind are alive. The lesson is do right in this life, isn’t it? Inspiring post.

        • alienheartbeat

          Experience. The great variety of human reactions to even the most well thought-out do-rights. Our inability to always know what is right anyway.

          • carmenw503

            I understand what you mean by your last sentence but I’m not sure I do understand the previous ones. I mean, is it that doing right is not ‘rewarded’ at times and that is why you say that experience and human reactions have taught you that doing right is not always enough?


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