Saturday, November 21, 2009

Found a grave

After I got home from my volunteer project and running errands today, it was cold and grey but not raining so I decided to go over to the cemetery and try to find the gravestone I volunteered to photograph. I thought about just waiting until tomorrow, but decided I didn't want to tempt the weather. It is November in the Northwest, after all. I learned a couple of things with this first attempt:

* It is kind of creepy when you are the only person walking around a cemetery and you hear voices. I am guessing they were coming from the interior design business across the street. If not, I don't want to know.

* I don't like feeling like I am walking on someone's grave and kept feeling like I should apologize to all the people I was stepping on. At one point, I actually did.

* Having the exact location of the grave is handy, but doesn't do a lot of good when you don't know the layout of the cemetery. And cemeteries do not have the handy little "You are Here" signs like they do at the mall. At least this one doesn't. Luckily, this is a relatively small cemetery.

* As with other genealogy sites I have used, the information on Find A Grave is only as accurate as the person submitting it knows it to be. It is much easier to find a grave if you have the right name. I am guessing Sylvia Jenny and Sylvia Jensen, b. 1947, d. 2003 are the same person. If not, I am headed back to try again.

It was weird to see all the headstones that were for married couples in which only one spouse has passed away. I have a different perspective now that one of those could be mine. I could still take James' ashes and bury them in a cemetery, buy a plot for myself and get a headstone for both of us. How weird would that be to go visit him and see my own name? I think that would be creepy. It won't happen though as James did not want to be buried in a cemetery, which is why he lives on the mantle. He hadn't figured out where he wanted to be spread. As of now, he is going to be spread with the dogs and I in the harbor of Ocho Rios, Jamaica when I die. We had a really great day there right after we got engaged and his favorite picture from the cruise is the one he took of the harbor. It sits next to his urn on the mantle. The picture was there first. I framed it and gave it to him on the anniversary of the night he proposed. He died a month later.

I know a couple of young widows and widowers who have purchased dual headstones and plots and I have wondered about what they are going to do if they remarry? I think that would be hard to understand for a new spouse if they were not also widowed. I don't think I would get it if MH #2 is a widower and James had not died. I get it now and I understand it. If MH #2 ends up being a widower, I will say a prayer and thank his first wife for sharing him with me when I send him home to be with her. It was also weird to see a gravestone where the date of death was "19"-like this person was expected to die in 19-something and either didn't or no one ever bothered to have it finalized. It was a family plot, so maybe she was the last one? And, it was sad to see all the graves that obviously have not been visited in a very long time.

Now I just have to figure out which picture turned out the best and how to upload it. Then I will see if there are any other area cemeteries with pending photo requests. This is so much more productive than trying to research my ancestors!

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