I’ve always loved roaming around old cemeteries. They’re so peaceful and serene, quietly shaded, and curiously inviting; the type of place that makes me want to sit for awhile, a place to perhaps read an old classic novel while leaning back against an old, sturdy headstone. I’ve never done that, read a novel in a cemetery. But I’d like to.
Irish Grove’s cemetery is especially beautiful. And yes, I’m partial. But what can be more beautiful, peaceful and inviting than a rural church surrounded by the crumbling gravestones of its founders and the newer, shiny gravestones of its more recent members?
So you’d think a few simple requests to find the grave sites of my reader’s ancestors would be pretty easy for me to honor, right? Well, unfortunately not.
You see, Irish Grove’s lovely cemetery was a place I loved to roam up until that fateful day that one of my own was buried there. And now that Dad’s there, the cemetery has become a place to avoid. It’s the one place where I can’t gloss over the pain of loss, where I can’t deny reality, the one place where I’m forced to grieve.
But I go. I do. I force myself to take deep breaths and think positive thoughts, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I send my kids to jump on their Grandpa’s stone, to “wrestle him” like they used to, which makes me smile and laugh one of those forced laughs….you know the kind. And I think to myself, “If I keep coming here, it’ll get easier.” It will, right?
But today, as I drove to the cemetery to finally take some photos of someone else’s relatives and someone else’s history, ancestry, and quite possibly grief, my stomach started to tighten up. I mean, how could I justify going to the cemetery and not go visit Dad’s grave? What kind of daughter am I, anyways?
But then……well, I saw something. Something, I am ashamed to say, that prompted a sigh of relief to escape through my lips. A lawnmower. I was saved by a lawnmower!! There was a young man mowing the cemetery lawn and I couldn’t have been happier to see him. I mean, I can’t go visit my Dad’s gravesite and cry in front of a teenage boy, now can I? The poor boy is just trying to make a little money. Probably saving up for college. And he was so content, sitting there listening to his iPod and driving around headstone after headstone. Some old lady crying would make him really uncomfortable, and you must agree that that wouldn’t have been very nice of me.
So, Fox’s and Cuff’s……please thank the local teenage lawnmowing boy for your photos. Without him, who knows how much longer it could’ve taken for you to get these.
And please accept my apologies for the delays, especially you, Rex. You’ve waited far too long for this:
Oct. 21, 1817
Aged 52 years
Here’s the headstone, up close:
Here is the view behind the stone:
Here’s the stone as it’s found in relation to the church. It’s the small headstone on the right side of the picture:
For the Fox family:
1815 – 1891
1813 – 1891
son of J.B. & C. Fox
Erected solely by J. B. Fox
I must admit that my family and I had to chuckle at that last sentence on the stone. We meant no disrespect, but there must be a good story there somewhere!
Here’s a close-up of the gravestone:
And here is where the headstone is found in relation to the church:
Irish Grove really is beautiful. Maybe I will take that book on over…..