Tuesday, September 4, 2012
We visited the historic Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, just next to the Novodevichy Monastery. This is one of the most prestigious cemeteries in the city, and contains the final resting places of Dmitri Shostakovich, Nikita Khruschev, Anton Checkov, Sergei Prokofiev, Boris Yeltsin, and Raisa Gorbacheva. There are many, many fabulous sculptures and grave markers, and the cemetery is very park-like, withe beautiful trees and lovely places to sit and reflect, enjoying the peace and quiet (when there aren't hordes of tourists, anyway.)
This sculpture is my favorite. It marks the grave of Aleksandr Bakulev, one of the pioneers of heart surgery in the Soviet Union. He was the first to perform open heart surgery, hence the ruby representation of a heart in his hands; he also was the first to perform several other thoracic surgery techniques. This literal representation of "holding my life in your hands" speaks to me, as my dad is a heart attack survivor and he wouldn't be here today without life-saving cardiac care. Just goes to show, that no matter how far apart we are, we really aren't all that different. At one point, we were sitting in Red Square, and I said to Thomas, "We're in mothereffing MOSCOW, dude!" It is amazing that we had the chance to visit this place that once seemed so remote, so dangerous, so evil, so OTHER. And when we were there, it couldn't have been more amazing, and the people were so wonderful. Not different, and certainly not evil!