When my children were really young, they spent a great deal of time with me in cemeteries as I looked to find this grave or that one. Some cemeteries were calm and peaceful, but others were downright creepy with their collapsed above-ground crypts and ground cracked wide open due to extreme drought conditions. There were a few at which I couldn't even coax one or two of the children out of the car. Our research trips always involved adventure, either dodging sunken graves or consoling a screaming toddler and ending the trip early.
The stones marking the graves often have interesting stories to tell. They tell of military service, young widowhood, and multiple losses that no family should have to endure, but did, and went on to try for more babies, just to lose them, too. One of the saddest cemeteries that I have been in is the old Silverbrook Cemetery in Anderson, South Carolina. Siblings, parents, and grandparents of my paternal grandmother are buried there. There is a section of this cemetery called Baby Hill. Hundreds of little graves line up down the hill, all over that section. Many of these babies were sent back to Heaven during the flu pandemic in the early 20th century around 1918 or so.
The old Silverbrook is also the cemetery where my cousin Michael Anthony Moore is buried. He was born a few months after I was and only lived to be about three weeks old. Our mothers were out walking one day and my mother fell into a hole. My aunt, pregnant as she was, had to try to help my pregnant mama out. I have always felt that somehow my aunt blamed me and my mama for Michael's death. In my adult-head, I know that it wasn't my fault, but in my little girl-heart, I have always felt so guilty because I lived and he didn't. In reality, his death had nothing to do with his mama helping mine back out of that hole. He had a defect in his stomach. Reality and feelings don't always see things the same way.
Another sad thing about graveyards is knowing there are many people there that are not so apparent; they have nothing to mark their graves. If I had the means to do so, I would make sure a marker of some sort was at every grave. I know there are many reasons for a grave to be markerless: finances, time and vandals destroying the markers, etc. In some cases, maybe it is that no one ever cared to put a marker there for the person, though they had the means to do so.
There is a volunteer project called Find-a-Grave that allows contributors to create memorials to their loved ones and others buried in cemeteries across the US (and maybe other countries, too...not sure about that!). Volunteers go around to the different cemeteries and photograph the markers or the plots for those that have requested the pictures. I have been able to acquire images of various relative graves through Find-a-Grave. It is a worthwhile project!
This was found on a headstone in an Irish cemetery:
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." (World of Quotes)