Two weeks ago, I took my husband and kids to see an old family cemetery that sits on some property that is owned by my great uncle. I grew up knowing about this cemetery and hearing stories about all the relatives that are buried there. That may sound a little crazy, but am from south Georgia and every South Georgia family that I know can tell you all about their relatives and where they are buried, too.
This particular cemetery sits behind the most beautiful little white one room church called Jordan Chapel, named for my great great grandfather, who built it. The cemetery is older than the church, with many headstones that aren't legible anymore. A cotton field surrounds both the church and the cemetery, making it one of the most incredibly beautiful and peaceful places in the world.
Over the past year, we lost 2 members of my family....my great uncle and my cousin, both of whom are now buried at Jordan Chapel cemetery. That is what brought us there 2 weeks ago. I had not been there in a long time and we spent some time looking at the various headstones and listening to my daddy tell us stories about the people he remembered growing up.
It wasn't until right before we began to leave that I noticed this...
In the midst of several family plots marked by last name, there was this one all by itself. As you can see, it is a small grave. The headstone read the baby's name, Thomas, with the inscription "beloved stillborn son". The year of his birth was 1941. But those aren't the things that caught my attention. My mind and my heart were drawn to the pot of fresh flowers that someone has lovingly put on his grave. Seventy three years later, someone is still remembering this baby. This beloved son, born during an era when many mothers were not enouraged to name their stillborn babies or to see them or to mourn openly. This baby Thomas was given a name. And someone out there remembers his name and thinks of him and brings flowers to his grave.
My heart was full. It drove home what I already know. That as long as I am here on this earth, my daughter is remembered.
I think sometimes I worry that I will forget her and her specialness. This was a reminder that she is part of me always and forever.