When you decide to visit Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park you can choose to see the park or the cemetery. Not that they are two separates places. You can choose to have a nice conversation on a bench under the shade of a tree or to jog on the path among the groves. You can also walk the dog among centenary tombstones and maybe not bother to leave his droppings in the bush.
When you chose to see the cemetery you start to think about the hundreds of people buried there. You imagine a story and a face for each of them, you read the date of death on the headstones and think if there is still someone who care for the person interred there. You ask yourself how they lived. Choosing to see the cemetery can be overwhelming. You start to see hundreds of faces, stories, hundreds of hearts broken by the absence of those who cannot return.
The cemetery inside the park can be overwhelming. I believe that many people prefer not to see the monuments because they fear the existential question related to death. They avoid the truth that is screamed in every corner
“For all I’ve created returns unto me,
From dust were ye made and dust ye shall be.”
As Paul Simon wrote in “Sparrow”. You can feel people fleeing the awareness of their mortality, as you can smell the perfume of hyacinth spreading through the park. Nevertheless this place gives generous gifts to people who chose to grasp its essence. It testifies the great amount of love that people carry with themselves. The only survivor to the eternal caducity of life.