At Mepkin Abbey, every November, the monks put out the Book of the Dead, and visitors can leave the names of their dead. I found it much more moving than I thought it would be to write the names on the page and to think of that book being preserved at the monastery. I tend to believe in monasteries as protectors and preservers of culture, regardless of what comes at them, and so inscribing the names felt important. I took a picture of the page, which you'll see below, with the names of my mother-in-law and grandparents. I can just barely make them out at the bottom right of the photo of the page.
Here's the photo essay:
Books of the Dead
We write their names in the books we keep.
We carve their names on marble, which might last longer.
We trust the monks to keep the Book of the Dead, to remember our loved ones each November.
We keep their ashes close.
We light candles to beat back the darkness.
We scatter rose petals, both because we know the futility of our efforts
and because we commit to beauty.