After a tense exit from Madrid on the day of the national general strike, and return home for Thanksgiving, I thought I would share a few more interesting inscriptions from the British Cemetery in Madrid. I will leave the Spanish, German, Greek, and Hebrew inscriptions for another day and stick to English inscriptions. The picture above shows five inscriptions from five different tombstones, stitched together into one image.
We would all like to think that after we are departed, we will be held by all in “ever affectionate memory.” But putting it into stone does not guarantee it will be so, although it doesn’t really matter to the departed now. Perhaps the departed person helped plan their memorial while still alive?
The title “dearly beloved wife” seems less of a stretch. Surely the husband shared a great deal of Good Love and even Better Love with his beloved wife. The inscription may reflect his thoughts through much of their marriage, not just his thoughts after his wife’s passing.
There can be no doubt that the wife referred to in the third inscription kept a neat and clean house, prepared many good meals, and mended family clothes as needed. But surely she expressed gratitude and encouragement for Better Love in her marriage. After all, love must have been a duty included with other earthly duties when it was stated that she had “scrupulously accomplished all her earthly duties.” What would have been significant praise without the word “scrupulously” was raised to an even higher standard.
This inscription, “of this sad world, the sweetest and the best has smiled and said “good-night” and gone to “rest,”” includes attention-getting praise. Again,that’s a pretty tall praise to have lived up to. But I have little doubt that the person who had the inscription included truly felt that the departed was the sweetest and the best, and had an attention-getting smile to boot. Maybe that smile was able to brighten the “sad world” of many people.
The final stone stirred my imagination to a grandmother now dancing with the angels. And the verse of John 3:16 was included, which sums up the idea that the Best Love of God was demonstrated through his Son, and through our belief in Him we can have eternal live. I would add that we not only get eternal life, but the key to an abundant life in the here and now as well.
At this time of year, when we are all prompted to reflect on what we are grateful for, I am most grateful for relatively good health and the Good Love of friends and family. What are you grateful for? What is it about yourself that you hope others will be grateful for and want to inscribe on your tombstone?