Telling a life story in cemetery symbolism

      I found these cemetery symbolism charts on Pinterest and thought I would see if I could find a few of them when decorating my family graves on Memorial Day. 


The symbolism explains why certain markers have, what others might think odd, a reason for a different look than the flat grave markers common today. 


 I began to see these markers as a personal history lesson about the lives of the people laid to rest beneath.

A mother’s tears from another time

This is a story that could be told in any city that has an “old” cemetery. This is a story that has happened over and over with little notice or concern but for a fleeting moment.

In this story some “vandals” thought for whatever reason they had the right or pleasure to destroy graves in a historical cemetery where I live. First I should mention that the vandalism did not go unnoticed by the hardworking staff and the volunteers that give their time and talent to preserve this historical cemetery.

What did go unnoticed by the vandals were the dates, ages, and names of one particular headstone.  I would hope they didn’t notice and still chose to destroy the headstone, that would make them not only vandals, but lost souls.

The headstone I’m referring belonged to the Steele family. To be specific, the Steele children;

Eliza – age 4yrs. – Henry age 3yrs. – Timothy age 2yrs.

All three children died within a few days of one another in March of 1877. That year there was an epidemic of scarlet fever and the Steele children succumbed to the fever.  I can’t imagine the grief and pain this mother must have felt or the tears that continued to come that horrible month in 1877 as she lost one child ,and then another ,and another.  The monument was a way of expressing that her children were here on earth, they were part of a family, they were loved, and their deaths left a hole in their family and her heart.

A few months ago someone discovered the missing headstones in a creek on the other side of town. The headstones have been restored thanks to the work of volunteers.

I can only vision a mother who wiped her tears away with the restoration of her children’s final resting place.

The hardest thing(s) I’ve ever done…..

You can ask anyone “what is the hardest thing you have ever had to do?” And the answers will be as unique as the individual you are asking. I have had many times in my life that have been a challenge. There are two that are very intertwined and I have grown as a person the most from.

I have lost many loved ones in my life. I had lost my childhood in the passing of my brothers and my parents by the time I was thirty-eight. The most challenging was a nine month period in which my father, mother and younger brother died. I can’t remember feeling anything but scared and numb. 

Scared and numb were the same feelings I had (although in a very different way) when I decided to share my memorial crosses with others.

 Would anyone want them? 

Would anyone buy them? 

I was sure that I did not require the knowledge needed to open an online shop. Like many times in my life I just told myself to try. 

Just like that moment in time when my family was dying one after the other I just had to believe that things would get better if I just tried to take life a day at a time. 

Learning social media, SEO, photography ( still learning ), how to set up websites, graphics, PayPal, and the list goes on and on. All these new trials and tribulations have been scary and mind numbing but I’ve managed, and suceeded. 

What have been the hardest things I have ever done have also served as the most personal growth in my soul. 

“Oh, What do you sell?”

Small talk can be one of those awkward or uneasy moments that we use to pass time until the moment we want arrives. Now I enjoy small talk, I’m a talker so that’s no surprise. What I enjoy the most is meeting and talking to others. If you listen you might be surprised at what you learn. I have also learned over the years that I must have a look about me because people love to tell me their troubles. I’m never uncomfortable in these situations and everyone needs someone to listen to what they have to say.

Such conversations include those while waiting in line at the post office. Now I only live a few blocks away from my neighborhood post office and I enjoy dropping of my packages in person. (a little “control ” issue I suffer from) Yes I know that this is 2017 and there is no need to drop off packages at the post office when they will come pick them up. Yes, I purchase my postage online and print it off myself but I just have to follow through with that final step. 

When I go I am usually just dropping off which is an in and out errand, but the times I’m waiting in line the small talk starts. Someone will notice that I have several packages and after some conversation about the line and how much it grows each time we come, or maybe how they have less staff than the time before, the questions I expect is ask. 

“Do you always have so many packages to mail?”

“I sell online”

“Oh, what do you sell?”

Now, this is the part where I know my answer is probably going to surprise, shock, confuse the person asking, or end the conversation.  I am very proud of my work, and the customers I serve so I smile and explain that I make cemetery/ grave crosses.

“Oh” is usually the reply then silence.

 I smile and move along in the line. 

I like small talk so it’s a little sad for me that I end it every time with my answer.

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