Memento Mori

Memento Mori had been the subject of one of my English courses. I stumbled upon Memento Mori while searching for images of Victorian fashion, I came across this photo:

I play this fun game when looking at memento mori. Which one(s) in the photo dead, and which are alive. Whoa, whoa! It is just a fun game! Yeah, I know I am going to hell, but luckily, I have already purchased lava front property with a wraparound balcony.

Death and the rituals surrounding the subject intrigues the heck out of me. I feel that the ways death is handled in other religious sects or cultures that vary place to place. I think it is good to remind yourself that death is inevitable, impossible to resist or escape.

Understanding and preparation can go a long way if it is utilized and practiced. Remind yourself daily that life comes to an end for everyone, and nobody has comeback from the grave – so that worry is null, but what if?

Educate yourselves as much as possible regarding death and dying. READ more books surrounding the subject. I am a strong believer in paper books. I know, most people want nothing to do with a Barnes and Noble, other than the coffee. Damn near a warehouse in there – paper books, hardcover, loose-leaf, magazines, how-to’s, Kama Sutra, and more!

Next stop on my list is the importance of paperback books. There is just something about touching the pages of a physical book that produces an emotion not yet given a name – a bookbinder’s hope. Logophiles’ and bibliomaniacs’ nightmare. Losing the physical book would be globally devastating if at any point global internet connections go dark. If all of the paperback books were destroyed, imagine the amount of information that will be lost to generations of humankind to come.

maroon flower on top of brown book
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Post-mortem photography helped me understand the finality of death, but not only that – even after we are gone, our memories are held fast by way of spoken tradition.

When I browsed the very large Memento Mori collection – it hit me. My guts churned and sand plastered my tongue. This practice utilizes respect for the dead, a memory to hold on to, and a way to celebrate the person they were before they passed away.

I found it interesting that in certain cases when they cannot leave the eyes open – they would paint eyes over their eyelids and blush their cheeks. Tall, metal standing frames were created to help hold and position the corpses in order to pose them for the photographs. Pretty macabre, huh?

Something really cool is the veiled woman that you see in some memento mori photos is called the “veiled mother”. This woman was alive and was asked to wear a black veil and dress to conceal her features and identity. After all, nobody wants a picture of their deceased child in some other woman’s arms. That is where the veiled mother bridged a gap. She was the posing frame, a posing frame for infants.

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