The story goes that a young woman of old
suddenly found herself a widow. Her short marriage had been the happiest time of her life and her husband was her true soul mate. She would spend her days at her husband’s grave in New Orleans , sweeping, cleaning, putting out fresh flowers and weeping for her loss. After weeks of this ritual, the young wife began to contemplate suicide. She asked her husband for guidance and then sat down next to his resting place and fell asleep. St. Louis Cemetery
When she awoke, darkness had fallen. A mist covered the ground and an eerie silence hung over the cemetery. Just as she stood to leave, a ghostly form stepped out of her husband’s tomb. To her astonishment, the young woman recognized the love of her life. Before she could even utter his name, the couple was surrounded by other shades. They welcomed the young wife and laughed and joked with one another as if nighttime in the cemetery was the best party of all.
When she managed to look away from her husband, the young woman realized that she could see right through the tombs, markers and even the very walls of the cemetery. Through these, she spotted a frightening number of skeletons. They were all hurrying forward to some unknown destination, stepping over one another without regard as if their time and effort was all that was important.
Seeing his wife’s horror, the young man took her hand and said: “That is what the living look like to us. We are happy while they scramble on to no end other than the one we have already achieved. They are the dead; we are truly living.”
At that moment, the young woman felt the weight of her grief lifted. She spent the rest of the night with the shades and then went forward into a happy and fruitful life. She was known as serene and philanthropic and unshakable in her faith of a joyful life at the end of this one. When she passed on, she was laid to rest next to her long dead love. Amour toujour ~
Header: Danse macabre from an Italian manuscript c 1450