Search This Blog

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Diversity in Death

A museum exhibit dedicated to the multi-cultural nature of Wellington

At the Museum of Wellington, City and Sea, there is a display memorializing the different ways different cultures pay homage to their departed ones.

There are stories written on the walls.  One that I found touching was of a Jewish man who had been educated at Church of England schools.  His Orthodox father was dying, and his physician, knowing the problem that this man faced, tactfully offered to teach him how to say kaddish.  The man said that he would be everlastingly grateful for this kindness.

In the center of the room hangs a web of fine chains surrounding a single light.  Desks at the sides of the room invite people to write their own stories on cards, and tie them with ribbons to the chains.

The web is crowded with people's memories of friends and relatives who have passed on.  I was amazed to find what a host of different languages was recorded there. Some supplied translations on the backs of the cards.  Others were in scripts that I didn't even recognize.  But I know that all the stories were as touching as the one on the wall.

But what a testament to the multi-culturality of Wellington, in far-off New Zealand!

No comments: