This Quiet Dust was Gentlemen and Ladies,
and Lads and Girls;
was laughter and ability and sighing,
and frocks and curls
This passive place a Summer's nimble mansion
Where Blooms and Bees
Fulfilled their oriental circuit
Then ceased liked these.
Those who are dead are not dead
they're just living in my head...
One of my pilgrimages while visiting the village where my dad's family is from was to find the graves of my grandfather's two older brothers. While all of the rest of the family is buried outside of town where we just laid my dad to rest, these two boys were buried behind the local church around the corner from the house my father grew up in.
Every family has these stories. Of the five children my great-grandmother Augusta gave birth to, two died tragically young. The first, Russell, was only 5 years old when he caught pneumonia and died. The other, Harold, was even more tragic, catching and cutting his leg on a metal fence and then dying of tetanus shortly thereafter.
It is interesting that the two boys were not buried with my great-grandparent's family, but I suspect Augusta buried them in the churchyard as it was only a five minute walk from her home and my great-grandmother could go and visit them as often as she liked.
The church graveyard is a ruin now. My uncle and brother and I walked up there early Saturday morning. The entire cemetery is completely overgrown with fallen trees and out of control weeds and the tombstones are hidden by shrubs or have fallen or been knocked over. It took us awhile, but we finally found Russell; a tiny old tombstone hidden in the far right corner. We couldn't find Harold but there were several stone fallen over nearby which were too heavy to move. I am going to go back later this summer and now that my uncle knows where they are are he is going to try and get some folks to prop them.
I am inherently sentimental and interested in all things historical. I was so relieved to find Russell; no one has likely visited him in many many years. I had a little conversation with both brothers and regretted that I had not retained even one rose for them, but will remedy that in a future visit. I like the lovely green maple leaf at the base of the grave; hadn't noticed that yesterday! I have also made a vow that should I come into some money in the next few years, maybe by becoming a famous authoress, I am going to give this poor little church some money so that the graveyard can be brought back to rights. It just needs a little love and attention and probably a few thousand dollars...
The older I get the more important I find it to learn my family history from all sides and pass them on to my children (who knows - maybe some of us are related!) and to go and visit their graves and honour my family. We are all still connected. The William and Augusta on this tombstone, my great-grandparents, were the original owners of the dining room set we eat at every evening and had that set and our bedroom furniture made when they were first married. My son's middle name is Augusta's maiden name, Turner.
In the end, we will all be in quiet corners like Harold and Russell, once we have finished our adventures here, and the written and oral sharing of our family histories become ballast to us while we are here. Our ancestor's ability to overcome and survive great tragedy, our ability to overcome and survive great tragedies, become the stuff of pride and legend for ourselves and our children and someday our great-grandchildren. When we honour the dead in our family, we are honouring their gift of life to us. I have made a promise to myself to go every summer to see my parents and grandparents. Now I have added these two young boys to my visiting list. Augusta would be very happy.
Sorry if this post seems morbid. It seems lovely to me, but then I am the sort that is digging through abandoned graveyards on Saturday mornings..
Have a wonderful Monday and stay safe out there!