A tale of two cemeteries


As part of my January trip to the UK, I popped up to Glasgow to see my brother, and do a cemetery visit. I went to Glenduffhill Cemetery on the morning after a short snowfall had turned the usually dreary place into something of a black and white postcard. It’s never a cheery place to visit, despite the efforts to make the gardens bloom and flourish, but the snow changed the atmosphere into something more stark, and more beautiful.

Glenduffhill is in the eastern part of Glasgow. It is not in one of the city’s finest residential areas, but recent years have seen some improvement with the addition of nearby private housing stock, and less of the wrack and ruin and desolation that used to plague the surrounding streets. Opened for business in 1934, for some years Glenduffhill has been the main Jewish cemetery, although the smaller facility at Cathcart is still in use. Glenduffhill is where my mother and maternal grandparents and other family are buried. Susan’s father and other family are buried there.

I made my visits, said what I had to say and what I wanted to say, shed some tears, and left. As a wise man once said, visiting the cemetery is all good and well, but it’s better to be able to leave.

I flew down to London with Susan to spend Shabbat and a few more days with Richard and Sarah.

Unfortunately, on the Monday, Sarah’s mother (Isobel) passed away. The funeral took place in Bushey Cemetery. Although it was cold, the weather that day was clear and bright enough, so the cemetery did not have an oppressive shroud of depressive darkness about it. On the other hand, maybe because I don’t have any family buried there, that explains my less gloomy feelings. Certainly, Bushey is in a much nicer part of the world than Glenduffhill is, and that also might be part of the explanation. Susan’s paternal grandfather is buried there, so we took the opportunity of paying our respects there.

Thus it was that our UK trip was a tale of two cemeteries.