I Imagine Their Life and Love

Cemeteries.   Some people see them as representation of death.

I see them as representation of life.

Life lived.

I will gladly wonder, wander and meander through a cemetery.   Reading names.  Out loud.  So that someone is remembered.  Even if they’ve been gone one hundred, two hundred, or twenty years.  I see their names and check out the names on the stones close by, connecting the family ties.   Sometimes I can put together small snippets of fact.   And then my imagination picks up where facts let off.  I imagine the life and the world at that time.

Yesterday I saw two headstones.  Well over one hundred years have passed.   When in March a young woman gave birth to a child.   Days later the young woman died.  Days after that the child died.  They will spend eternity distinguished and tied together.  Their lives on the same metal marker.  Affectionate words for each-showing they were loved.

In very close proximity to the marker for mother and child, sits another marker.  Both markers removed from the main cemetery.  Over to the side.  By a fence line.  Alone in their togetherness.  One marker tilted.  Next to the young woman and her child.  Not quite close enough to the woman and child.  Not close enough for him.   The lone and lonely marker bears the name of the husband of the young woman.  His death is a mere couple of weeks after the loss of his wife and child.

Over a hundred and thirty years later I quickly grasp their young lives.  And the short years of their existence, exists still.

I don’t dwell on the sadness of their death.

I imagine and dwell on the power of their love.

I don’t know their story.  But I imagine it.   I imagine it as intensely strong.   Young.  In love.  In a world different than what I know.

But I know love.  I know youth.  I know the expectant feel of carrying a child.  Waiting to hold that child.  Love it.  Raise it.  Share it with my world.

And I guess I just kind of want them to know-I thought about them.  Wondered about them.  And know that their eternity is stronger and continued.  Much more than their short time here.

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34 thoughts on “I Imagine Their Life and Love

  1. inmycorner says:

    Brilliant! I love graveyards too, Colleen. You nailed this one – that family has such a tale to tell – and it is beautiful that you spoke their names out loud. How wonderful that you – a complete stranger can be so touched by them in their death. They are alive – when you spoke their names and read into their story. To take time to reflect on a life like that – full of tragedy and loss and beauty in love – is so so significant. Well done, my friend. Well done.

    • Thank you Stacey. I’ve always loved cemeteries/graveyards. I love the stories I’ll never know. I love it when I get a hint of their story. But I don’t mind imagining them either. 🙂

  2. This is wonderful Colleen. I don’t understand why they are moving the grave markers. Wouldn’t they have to move the graves too? It is so interesting to try and figure out the stories of those who are buried. I went to a graveyard in an old mining town, Silverton, Colorado, and there were a lot of deaths around the same time. It made me wonder if it was trom the flu or the plague, or what. Intersting.

    • I’ll have to go back and see how I wrote that. But I didn’t mean the markers were moved, I meant they were separate from the bulk of the cemetery. Like they got the outer most plots and then no one bought the plots any where near them.

      I’ve noticed that in cemeteries as well. Lots of deaths in a very short period of time. I always wonder about the ‘plague’ as well.

  3. Oh yes, a bit spooky but also wonderful to have a stranger remember you! I always think about the lives of the buried as well, especially those who died young.

  4. 1jaded1 says:

    I hear this…feel this. My family has a group. I don’t know if I will be included when I end…I haven’t purchased property. There is Mr. Miller. He is on the outskirts. He was a WW1 vet. No family, no one…I often.wonder about him.

  5. reocochran says:

    My oldest daughter had a social studies project in middle school. Mr. Brent Carson is still around, volunteers at the historic museum. Mr. C. wanted the students to go to a cemetery and find a couple graves, trace the headstones getting the etchings and tell the people’s story. Colleen, you completed this assignment and I am sending you an “A+” because I am sure he also wanted them to develop compassion for the lives they saw lost. We saw this in your saying their names out loud. Those who have known you awhile know you will carry this young couple and lost baby around with you. Because you care. I love your words, “power of love.”

  6. Debra says:

    It’s amazing what kind of stories we can put together from names and dates. There is always something a little extra troubling to me when I see that babies and children are buried, even if a long, long time ago. I think it’s a very sweet thing to linger over those names and give thought to the lives. Nicely done, Colleen. ox

  7. ksbeth says:

    so sad and beautiful. and how devastating for this young family, so full of love.

  8. Patty B says:

    Very touching – Tom and I often did the same thing, now when I visit him I look around at the older markers that no longer have visitors.

  9. Colleen: I too love cemeteries. Others may think it gruesome but like you – oh the stories they tell. Where I grew up, families are buried together and you’ll find 4 and 5 decades buried next to each other and the graves tended by the living family members. The rural cemetery was once only 2 acres, 1 acre donated by each of my grandfathers. Those 2 acres are full now and we’ll see if other family members are so generous to add on to this location.
    It’s not just both sides of my family but several other families from the local farming community. It’s always a place I visit when I go home for a visit.

  10. niaaeryn says:

    I love cemeteries too for a similar reason. The history, how they lived, what the endured, their hopes and dreams…fascinating. True too their eternity is longer than what was here on earth. The family you came upon must have had a strong bond. A good story, though sad, I agree their love must have been strong. 🙂

  11. Jim McKeever says:

    Wow, Colleen. That one gave me chills. I’ve never read such a beautiful tribute to someone unknown to the author. You captured the essence of life and love and empathy. Well done.

  12. markbialczak says:

    Leave no stone uncherished, MBC. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

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