|Photos of Gravestones by Scott Bill Hirst (2008) and Barbara Trowbridge (2016)|
used with permission
Sad Task: Updating a Gravestone
My aunt and maternal cousin, Hannah, shown here with my father's brother Bill who was her husband, outlived all of the people in her generation. She was born in the same year as my father but she grew up and lived in another town close by. They are buried with her parents as many couples are. (Pine Grove Cemetery in Hopkinton, RI)
My parents are buried with my father's family but at the other end of the plot my mother's grandparents are resting. They are in Westerly, RI at River Bend Cemetery.
This granite stone monument was probably put up before my aunt and uncle died Most likely the headstones were set as people died or all at once a long time ago. Notice the back of the monument is not smooth or carved because my uncle and his wife were childless.
The headstones run along the side of the monument and of course, if they are casket burials, their heads rest at the base of the headstone. This gives the people walking by time to read the names and for family to place flowers or plants in front of the place where the names are carved.
It was arranged that Hannah's death year be put on the monument to update and complete the resting place. Over time, those numerals will not look new but it is nice to see how cleanly they are carved.
It is a sad task to "finish" a family in this way. I recently inherited some of her photographs so these people will be remembered in my family tree.
Every day, genealogists remember those they knew and those they didn't by photographing the plots. Cemeteries that don't allow this are not on my list of places to visit.