Category Archives: Words/Verses

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

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).

DSCN4163

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

 

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.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The term ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was initiated when President Bill Clinton signed a law regarding the service of homosexuals in the military, which directed military personnel to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass.’

Leonard P. Matlovich was an Air Force sergeant who served three tours of duty in Vietnam and was gravely wounded. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and two Air Force Commendation medals for gallantry under fire and exemplary service. Yet, despite his service, he was discharged from the U.S. Air Force after confessing his sexuality to his commanding officer. His struggle to receive an honourable discharge, rather than the general discharge advocated by the Air Force, triggered a national movement regarding gay rights especially in the military.

Knowing that he had AIDS at a time when it was a death sentence, he designed his own headstone with the idea that it would stand as a memorial for all gay veterans.

396_Leonard_w_stone_color_copy

His design of a black reflective surface replicating the Vietnam War Memorial incorporated two triangles referencing the pink triangle which was a symbol sewn on the clothes of homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps. The left triangle pointing downward is a symbol of defeat. It is highlighted with the legend, ‘Never Again.’ The upward pointing triangle on the right is a symbol of victory with the phrase, ‘Never Forget.’ Although the dates of his birth and death are inscribed on the headstone, his name (Matlovich) is only inscribed at the foot of the memorial.

DSCN1242

As an activist for Gay Rights, his words are inscribed on his headstone: ‘When I Was In The Military They Gave Me A Medal For Killing Two Men And A Discharge For Loving One.’ Although eligible to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery he chose to be interred in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC. “I believe we must be the same activists in our deaths that we were in our lives,” Leonard Matlovich. A gay veteran’s memorial service is held at his grave every Veteran’s Day.

military gay

Members of American Veterans for Equal Rights have purchased adjoining plots with the intention of creating an LGBT veterans memorial.

This marker for Marine Corps veteran and activist Tom Swann is located near Matlovich’s grave. Swann won a lawsuit against the Navy for discrimination against him as a civilian employee after they learned he was gay. He also led the creation of a memorial for LGBT veterans in Desert Memorial Park near Palm Springs. Never Give Up Hope Or Give In To Discrimination.

seann

Michael William Hildebrand’s stone does not state that he is gay. However, the use of the pink triangle and the proximity to Matlovich’s grave suggests such. An inscription reads, “It Was Said Of Him That He Had The Gift To Give Love To Those Who Felt Unloved.”

hildebrand

macdonald sanders

Abandoned and Forgotten

Overgrown and abandoned cemeteries emote a special kind of sadness.

59880b2f9e8c54569ceabc1bbfb6b58f

Give joy or grief, give ease or pain
Take life or friends away
But let me find them all again
In one eternal day.   1862

d26504404002f3434dfb970bf96dd57f

Reader remember dye thou must
And after Death return to Dust
Therefore repent, repent in time
The Grave next opened nay be thine.

fdde7a5f356bc6c3ff142e1c11b67eff

To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die.  1939

highgate london

Tho lost to sight
To memory clear

new orleans
The parish of Saint Bernard, New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

pere lachaise

Lights are from our household gone
Voices we loved are stilled
Places are vacant at our home
Which never can be filled.

sussle org

Abide with me
Fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens
Lord with me abide.

highgate

Death is swallowed up in victory.

taos

Death severs yet unites. 1912

abandoned forgotten

Only goodnight beloved not farewell. 1938

Premature Burial

 

In 16th century England, land for burial was sparse. Coffins were dug up and bones taken to the bone-house so that the grave could be reused. Upon opening the coffins, it was noticed that several had scratch marks on the inside. The realization that people were being buried whilst still alive led to the practise of tying a string on the wrist of the corpse, which was attached to a bell above ground, while a sentry sat in the cemetery overnight. This procedure generated several expressions which we use today: ‘saved by the bell’, ‘dead ringer’ and ‘the graveyard shift’.

It also led to a legend known as the ‘Lady with the Ring’. The story relates that a woman was buried while wearing a valuable wedding ring. Shortly after the burial, a grave robber intent on stealing the ring opened the grave. Unable to remove the ring he decided to cut off the finger with a knife, which caused the woman to awaken, surprising the robber. Versions of the story have been found to exist in almost every European country.

In Shankill Graveyard, Lurgan, County Armagh, Northern Ireland is the grave of Margorie McCall who it is believed was the victim of a premature burial. Margorie was wed to Dr. John McCall. They lived in Church Place, Lurgan.

margorie-mccall-gravestone

Margorie fell ill and died in 1705 and was hastily buried to prevent the spread of the disease. The story continues with the attempted theft of the ring……when the robbers fled, Margorie climbed out of the grave and returned home. When she knocked on the door, her husband dropped dead of shock and was buried in the very grave she had just vacated.

The Public Records Office in Northern Ireland (PRONI) contains death records for nine Margorie McCalls in Lurgan, three of whom were married to a John McCall. However, no record is held of the death in 1705.

In the 1860s a local stonemason by the name of William Graham created a marker bearing the inscription Margorie McCall Lived Once, Buried Twice. The marker was erected at the base of Dr. John McCall’s gravestone in Shankill cemetery.

margorie-mccall-grave

Died Once Buried Twice

There lowly beneath lonely sod,
A lady twice entombed,
Tradition has it noised abroad,
She was exhumed alive.

Her precious ring her finger bore,
From her bright wedding day;
And in death likewise wore
When buried in the clay.

But a foul thief to steal the ring,
Did cast the clay aside
And he to life did quickly bring
She who lately died.

For he should cut the finger round,
To gain the golden prize,
But when the blood flowed from the wound
She spoke and did arise.

And straight away to her home did go
In her dead robes so white;
Like a wandering spirit free from woe,
But doomed to roam at night.

And when she reached her husbands door,
She gave her well known knock
An he fell senseless to the floor,
Un-nerved by the strange shock.

Her children knew here gentle voice
And flew to her embrace;
And all the neighbours did rejoice,
But marvelled at the case.

But death at last took here away,
As he will sure take all
And not again to Judgement Day
Shall Rise Margery McCaull.. 

 

Dart of Death

The arrow is a recognized symbol of mortality. Arrows may also represent a military profession or hunting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the following instances, the arrow appears with a symbol of three linked rings (the chains that bind the Fraternity of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows) The letters FLT stand for Friendship, Love and Truth.

This first image displays the hand of God piercing the skull with an arrow.

The gravestone shown below is engraved on both sides. The front identifies the deceased members of the Boney Family. The back contains verses from the bible and an effigy with a downward pointing arrow.

herelieth
Used with permission of Rod Duncan. Source: http://herelieth.blogspot.com/2012/08/thomas-bony-newtown-linford.html#comment-form

As I Am So Shallt Thou Bee / Prepare Thy Self To Follow Mee / Blessed Are The Dead Wich Die In The / Lord That They Mae Rest From Their / Labers And Their Works Follow Them
This verse is closely related to Revelations 14 verse 13 which varies within different versions of the Bible.