Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Graveyard Surprise

Remember this? The trip last summer to the family cemetery which has been utterly neglected for who knows how long?

That cemetery and its condition has weighed heavily on my mind since then. So in recent weeks, I took it upon myself to do something about it. I recruited some volunteers, and yesterday we headed back out to the cemetery for a full day's work.

This is what we had to work with.

Yes, inside that fence, there really is a cemetery... somewhere.

Several hours later, with a lot of equipment and hard work, my dad, brother, cousin and I turned THAT into THIS:

(The first picture was taken from the top of the cemetery looking down, and this picture was taken from the bottom of the cemetery looking up, if you're wondering about the vast change in background.)

It was discouraging to find that several of the stones have been broken and knocked down. By cows, we're guessing, as cow patties were found scattered throughout the cemetery. Their pasture is all around the cemetery and we can only assume that someone has left the cemetery gate open for them...

Fortunately, one cousin married an undertaker, who formerly worked in a cemetery, and she's hopeful that he will know how to repair the stones, and also get us some new markers at cost for the graves that lie unmarked in this cemetery.

My great grandmother drew us a cemetery map before she died, and it's a good thing she did, for there are several unmarked graves and after she died, there would have been nobody left who remembered who they were or where they were buried. Now we have the record and I feel burdened to provide those individuals with some sort of marker as a remembrance.

So, we've got some work ahead of us yet, but it is such a relief to have the cemetery cleaned off, to be able to actually see the graves and walk through the cemetery, and we're working on a plan to make sure it stays cleaned off this time. I am really looking forward to taking my grandmother back to the cemetery later this summer to see it, and hopefully erase from her memory the desecration she saw last summer... She has no idea we went out and did this, so it will be a really fun surprise. :)

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