Libera Me

In the northern part of Buenos Aires is the chic neighborhood of Recoleta. Next to a café where Jorge Borges would spend many an afternoon, I purposely walked for days alone through Recoleta Cemetary, a place where generations of Argentine elite repose in ornate splendor. Argentines are cadaver cultists who honor their most revered on the date of their death, not their birthday. They have a saying; “It is cheaper to live extravagantly all your life than to be buried in Recoleta.”

My father is a Holocaust survivor who witnessed massive amounts of death in his youth during his stay in eight forced labor camps throughout Poland. His entire family; eight siblings, parents, grandparents were killed. I have had a tremendous fascination with death since childhood which I suspect is directly linked to my father’s inability to process his monumental sadness, grief and loss. Like his smile, I believe his unprocessed grief and sadness was handed down to me.

Recoleta Cemetary is a veritable city for the dead, a red carpet entrance to lost souls who are either forgotten for decades or remembered daily with bouquets of freshly cut flowers. I saw angels and crosses and graves resembling chapels, Greek temples, pyramids and mini mansions. The cats wandering the grounds and the tiny, green plants sprinkled and rooted here and there, remind me that there is life after death.

The photos I’ve taken remind me to enjoy the present while I still have my inhale and exhale and to breathe in deeply and profoundly as we enter into the Age of Aquarius. We have such a short amount of time here. I hope that these images will remind every one of us to stay present to what’s in front of us, to embrace our changing consciousness in humanity, and remember that we are all going to the same place where death is the great equalizer.