What you are we have been. What we are you will be.

German proverb: Was ihr seid sind wir gewesen. Was wir sind werdet ihr sein.



DSCN0424This pile of skulls and bones is deposited in a vault in an old village in Alsace. The remains were from an ancient burial site.

It’s good to occasionally be reminded where we all will lie at the end of this life.  Perhaps it helps us focus on what is important on this side of the grass.



13 thoughts on “What you are we have been. What we are you will be.

  1. A rather depressing start to one’s Monday morning.

    My german-speaking grandparents used to use that saying.

    Even scarier, they used to tell us grandchildren that no matter how much we said we wouldn’t, we would grow up to be like our parents. Now THAT was scary…and mostly true.

  2. I don’t find this depressing in the least…In fact in some ways I find it comforting and reassuring. No one live forever, but we will always be a part of what happened before us and what will happen after us. You can only wish that you have made a big enough noise to have made a difference. As my mothers family migrated from Alsace around 1605, I would only hope that one of those skulls was from some one related to me.I am obsessed now, I have to translate the proverb into Alsatian…I’ll let you know when I get it…funny, I am reading a George Simenon novel now that takes place in Alsace, Le Relais Alsace…and a lot of the dialogue is full of Alsatian expressions…….

  3. It was a village in the eastern edge of the Vosges. My cousin from Strasbourg guided us on a day trip through Alsace a few years ago and he stopped at ‘vault of skulls’ for shock value. It is a charming region with excellent wines and quaint villages.

    I await your Alsacian translation.

    1. …too many questions, my friend, way-too many!

      What is important? The further I move from my birth date, the more I realize that, besides raising and nurturing family, not much else matters. My tombstone [if I have one!] will say nothing of me and, if my grandchildren/ great-grandchildren don’t pass anything on, then it is as if I never lived at all.

      1. Each day I read the local obituaries and often sigh when I read comments about the deceased having loved the Yankees or Red Wings or some other worthless unit. Or that his only claim to ‘fame’ was that he was drafted into WWII. Recently there was one that said nothing of the deceased and only listed the surviving relatives. Sad.

  4. That is what I was getting to in those questions. My thoughts are the same. I regret them. Is it a failed life that there is nothing but two dates
    on a tombstone? Did we just occupy a brief space of time? It leaves me unsatisfied, M_R, and the possibility of doing something “important”
    becomes dimmer each day. I think along the lines of fate. Maybe it’s along
    the lines of predestination. Wow, this is getting to deep for 7am, lol!


  5. True story fro yesterday. I went inti an Office Depot to have some copies
    printed. The charge was 4.11. I told the lady that’s my birthdate. She siad, that was her’s. Is it just a co-incidence?

    1. Sadly,yes, mere coincidence, although we would wish it were something more supernatural. Probability is 1:365 which is terrible in a horse race, but rather common in life. On the other hand, what was the probality that you and I ended up in the same 2nd grade classroom, my friend? Do the math.

  6. I’m not all that sure about it being a co-incidence. So many variables in
    your 1 in 365 probability like day, time, why that place, why that clerk,
    why was she working, and probably others

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