Category Archives: Graves

Farewell Kiss

The last kiss memorialized in statuary.

 A mother kisses her child for the last time as an angel looking toward heaven grasps the child’s feet.

Cimitero Monumentale di Milano, Milan Italy
Cimitero Monumentale di Milano, Milan Italy

A child, raising a blanket to cover his mother, leans toward her with a parting kiss. The monument celebrates Francesca Warzee, wife of a Belgian entrepreneur.

Cimitero di Bonaria, Cagliari, Italy
Cimitero di Bonaria, Cagliari, Italy

A young boy with hat in hand kisses the image of his sister.

La Certosa cemetery Bologna
La Certosa cemetery Bologna

A young woman lovingly kisses her sister.

sibling

Kisses between lovers always seemed to be entitled The Last Goodbye or the Eternal Kiss.

Friedhof Ohlsdorf hamburg
Friedhof Ohlsdorf, Hamburg, Germany

Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?”
…The first verse of a poem by Emily Bronte, “Remembrance”

pinterest Oliani

These human remains were unearthed in 1972 at the Teppe Hasanlu archaeological site, located in the Solduz Valley in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The site was burned after a military attack. People from both fighting sides were killed in the fire, which apparently spread quite unexpectedly and quickly through the town. The skeletons were found in a plaster grain bin, probably hiding from soldiers, and they almost certainly asphyxiated quickly. The “head wound” is actually from modern-day excavators.

The 6000 year old kiss found in Hasanlu, Iran

Shells

Actual shell fragments left on gravestones in pioneer cemeteries represent the journey through death and rebirth. Shells that are not part of the gravestone were left there to signify that the deceased had not been forgotten.

In localities near the sea, entire graves were covered with shells because this product was cheap and readily available.

Although not a common symbol the shell most often used is a scallop shell which represents the baptism of Christ. Many baptismal fonts are often built in the form of a scallop shell.

It is also a traditional symbol of the Crusades.

This large scallop shell was designed by the deceased, Ransom Cook, some years before his death.

11-cook

The art form of a child cradled in a scallop shell was popular in North America during the 19th century. Sears, Roebuck and Company had a contract with a Vermont marble producer to sell the shell headstone by mail order.

The conch shell was revered by many cultures as a symbol of reincarnation and wisdom. In Buddhism, the shell’s call can awaken one from ignorance, in Chinese Buddhism it signifies a prosperous journey; and in Islam the shell represents hearing the divine word. People in the Bakongo area of Africa believe that the shell encloses the soul (Pagans also held this same belief regarding the shell as a source of life.)

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He Is My Rock

This unusual grave marker in the form of a rock symbolizes Christ (“He is my rock…” Psalm 92:15).

The two symbols carved into the rock signify that the deceased was a member of two fraternities.

  • The Masonic compass and set square are a symbol used to represent the Order of Freemasons who view God as the architect and builder of the universe hence the use of these tools.
  • The three linked rings which signify the chains that bind the Fraternity are synonymous with the International Order of Oddfellows Fraternity (IOOF).

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The rock rests upon a stone base. A slate marker is engraved with two lines which share the same sentiments related in a poem by Robert Richardson.

Sleep Light Dear Heart
Sleep Light
Good Night
Good Night

The poem entitled Annette was published in 1893. The last lines of the poem by Robert Richardson reads

Warm summer sun, shine friendly here 
Warm western wind, blow kindly here; 
Green sod above, rest light, rest light, 
Good-night, Annette! 
Sweetheart, good-night!

Mark Twain also echoed these sentiments when he paraphrased the poem on the grave of his daughter, Olivia Susan Clemens.
Warm summer sun, shine kindly here;
Warm southern wind, blow softly here;
Green sod above, lie light, lie light –
Good night, dear heart, good night, good night.

clemens

 

Not Little Red Riding Hood

The statue situated at the grave of William Ackerman Black is a replica of a sculpture, entitled Winter, created by Emile Wolff in 1847.

findagrave_briand

The statue is a male child with downcast expression draped with a lion skin cloak (the Nemean lion was a vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived at Nemea and was eventually killed by Hercules).

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He is resting on a shepherd’s staff , and in his left hand is a golden apple of the Hesperides which granted immortality when eaten.

panoramio

The statue was reportedly a favorite of Black’s which he kept on his fireplace mantle (seems a little large to be placed on a mantle?). He left instructions for it to be placed on his grave after his death.

Weeping Willow

The weeping willow is (not unexpectedly) symbolic of grief; lamentation; mourning; and sorrow.

Omagh cemetery

The weeping-willow has been associated with sorrow and bereavement ever since the Babylonian Captivity when the Jews became captives of Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C.

In the Native American culture a willow tree represents an Iroquois grave.

The Willow was a symbol of the Greek Underworld goddesses, mostly notably Persephone. Orpheus carried a willow branch when he went to the Underworld, and helped him get his gift of speech to become a famous poet.

The symbolic tree of human sadness is carried at Masonic funerals

 

Candles

Candles are symbolic of the spirit or the soul. To Christians, candles symbolize Jesus Christ who is the Light of the World. Roman Catholics often leave candles at the graveside to show that prayers have been said for the deceased.Candle

The Lord is my light 

Death of a Child

The death of a child is always tragic, an unfulfilled life reduced to a name and two dates on a stone. Sadder still, is a headstone with no details of the departed.

babies 1877

baby boy found rockport quarry
Camden Graveyard. Camden, Maine, USA

Sleeping and waiting

baby found in river

Here lyes dust of

baby girl delaware river

In May 1977, a garbage bag containing the decomposed body of an infant girl was found in the Walnut Creek arm of the Delaware River. The baby, only a few weeks old, was never identified and was buried in Oskaloosa’s Pleasant View Cemetery, where it remained mostly forgotten and without a stone marker. The grave marker for the unidentified baby girl was donated by Hutton Monuments of Topeka.

negro boy

He died at the Marion County Poor Farm/Asylum in central Kansas, USA. The asylum offered a home for the indigent, those unable to live independently, and unwed pregnant girls who lived there until they gave birth. The children were then put up for adoption.

Oak Woods Cemetery Chicago Chicago Orphan Asylum

A cholera epidemic in 1847 orphaned many children who were then billeted at the Oak Woods Cemetery Orphan Asylum in Chicago. The relentless epidemic eventually led to their deaths.

Loved and lost awhile

unusual  headstone

On 8 January 1872, the horribly mutilated body of a 16 year old girl named Angeline Moore was found. She was bound to servitude with Mrs. Thompson. Although the cause of death was never determined, Mrs. Thompson and her daughter with charged with murder.

How charming all, how much she was ador’d alive; now dead, how much’s her loss deplor’d       

peter the wild boy 1785

A boy living wild in the woods in northern Germany was discovered by a party of hunters in 1725. He had been living in the forest, eating plant life and walking on all fours. He was brought to Great Britain in 1726 where he was lived until his death. He is buried in the graveyard attached to St Mary’s Church, Northchurch, Hertfordshire

The farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye
You were gone before we knew it
And only God knows why.  1979

unknown dead
Livonia Cemetery, Indiana. Source: http://malformalady.tumblr.com/post/34798191232/tombstone-siting-area-of-the-unkown-dead-resulting

Epidemics of cholera in 1832, 1848, and 1873 were the second leading cause of death in the mid 19th century. Rapid population growth and a lack of sanitary water, caused diarrhea and vomiting that lead to dehydration almost immediately and death in less than a day.

unknown skeleton

Here lies best of men whose life is at an end
The best of husbands & ye truest friend
Who rests, I hope, as I do hope to be
Happy with him to all Eternity

Willoughby cemetery

During the Christmas period of 1933, a stranger appeared in the town of Willoughby, Ohio. On December 24th, she threw herself in front of a train at the Second Street railroad crossing and was killed. With no identification on her person, her identity remained unknown until 1993 when she was discovered to be Josephine “Sophie” Klimczak, a native to Pennsylvania. In 2004, a plinth with her name was donated by Kotecki Monuments of Cleveland. The inscription reads: “In Memory of the Girl in Blue killed by train December 24, 1933. Unknown but not forgotten.