10 July 2007


This breaks my heart. A baby girl, who died the day she was born. Her family buried her in the church graveyard, with a headstone. But she never had a name.

The headstone reads:

Dau. of James
& Julia A.
Van Valkenburgh
Born & Died
Sept. 12, 1857

Rest in peace, little girl.


niobe said...

Yes, somehow I think it would be a little less heartbreaking if her parents had at least given her a name.

Furrow said...

I love gravewalking, but this kind is terrible. It's even worse to see a whole row of children from the same family.

painted maypole said...

Those children's headstones get me every time. I don't think I could NOT give the child a name. Even if I miscarried, I would name the child. For me, it would give a name to the loss.

Maewen Archer said...

So sad -- there are many of those when you're looking at graves that old, too. Those graves have always made my heart hurt -- even before I had my own babies.

Aurelia said...

Totally totally sad.

NotSoSage said...

I am a total gravewalker and I try to remember those little ones when I can. It was a different time, but I'm sure her parents carried in their hearts her secret name.

Antropóloga said...

When I lived in Rhode Island I went to a cemetery with graves from the 1600s sometimes to, you know, hang around and be morbid. I remember all the children, sometimes all with the same name (e.g. John) from one or another family, children dying one after another. Can you imagine?

Anonymous said...

This Memorial Day, my mom and I went to decorate the grave of her brother who was stillborn in 1943. There was a very elderly couple there, helping each other along, carrying three bouquets of fresh flowers. They knelt at each of three graves, pulling the grass from around each stone, polishing away the grime with Windex and a towel.
They had lost three boys in infancy, 1943, 1944, 1946. It was heartbreaking.
Having just lost my own first baby, I was somehow comforted to see that Mama and Daddy remembering their precious ones. They were sharing a sad task with all of us in the "baby" section of the cemetery, a task my mom and I carry out for my now deceased grandmother, who always longed for the two she lost.
We never forget, no matter how little time we had with them.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

We live on a street that dead ends onto a back entrance of Forest Hills Cemetery, a cemetery designed in the "park" fashion by Frederick Law Olmstead. The older section of the cemetery is littered with little limestone markers called "baby" with the year, and that's it. No DOB, no DOB.