Delving into the past is a great way to make sense of the present, to learn about the past, or to simply enjoy piecing together what people before us did. My husband and I did this recently when we traveled to his hometown to bury a former classmate. In our spare time, we visited some of the local cemeteries to find graves of my husband’s family. Because his hometown is a small city with many rural communities surrounding it, we were not even sure if we could locate the different cemeteries.
We first visited his hometown cemetery where his parents and one brother were buried. We put flowers there, then with only the name of small rural cemetery and directions from one of his friends, we headed out.
It was a gorgeous, crisp autumn day making our drive quite enjoyable. We drove down winding tree-lined lanes and into what seemed to me to be a long forgotten area of the world. Occasionally we came upon neat little homes with large, well-kept yards. It surprised me how people today could live away from towns, but as my husband says, “It would be a boring world if everyone liked the same thing.”
Finally, we came upon a little white church with a high steeple sitting next to a fence-in graveyard.
We found graves of Civil War soldiers and of many, many babies. One man had four infant graves next to his with only the identifying words of Infant and the last name. The lack of medical advancement during those years was a harsh reality. Even my mother-in-law had lost a baby at birth, and on the second day of our search, we visited a third cemetery and found a tiny little marker with his brother’s name on it.
Visiting cemeteries isn’t something my husband and I normally do, but the time we spent on that day was quite meaningful. As we drove away from all the cemeteries, my mind and my heart went out to the families of those people buried there. Sometimes we forgot our ancestors and the people we read about in history books were actual people who lived and breathed, suffered and rejoiced, loved and mourned just as we do today.
If you have a little time sometimes, take a moment and walk through a cemetery near you. It’s amazing what you might learn.
Fran McNabb writes light romances and is waiting for her eighth book, KEEPING HOPE ALIVE, to be published by The Wild Rose Press. Visit her at www.FranMcNabb.com
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.