Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Sweet Sleep

If you were to drive past, this is what you’d see today

if you noticed it at all.

So you get out of your car and walk a few steps. The stone isn’t cemented at all. In fact, it looks like a piece of flagstone that someone carved by hand. Who ever created this heart touching work of art must have cared so much! It couldn’t have been easy to do, but it was completed.

Hard to read, isn’t it? I’ll make it darker.

Still nearly impossible to read, but you can see one thing. The vertical line that divides the stone. (Reminds me of the Ten Commandments that Charlton carried off the mountain.)

I’ll take you closer. (Isn’t the mossy green stuff pretty growing there?)

It says, “Sweet.

This side says, “Sleep.” Figured out the vertical line? It’s a tombstone for twins. 😦


“Bennie” is on the left. “Sussie” is on the right. Below that it says, “Infants of BF White.” No mention of their mother. I don’t know if that’s a sign of the times. You know, as if everyone believed babies had to have a mother and she had to be married to the father, so the fact of her and her name (MRS. BF White, naturally) is understood without mentioning her. Sigh.

The date at the bottom sort of goes downhill and says only Dec. 23 and Dec. 27. At four days old, they died. Two days after Christmas. Doesn’t it break your heart? This had to be back in the day before ultrasounds and doplars. Could they have known there were problems before the babies were born? Was there any way to be prepared for their loss?

Is it ever possible to prepare for something like that?

Can’t you just see the twin’s father, working into the night chipping away at this piece of flagstone? It’s the very last thing he’ll ever be able to do for his children, and he wants to make it beautiful.

The parents’ headstone isn’t nearby, at least not that I’ve found. Kind of heart breaking, isn’t it, to think of these babies dying and the parents having to move away so they couldn’t visit the grave?

I’d never do it, but I’d so love to be able to take this little tombstone home with me and care for it in my garden, just so it wouldn’t be so all alone.

I just hope the tombstone has moved and that tree isn’t growing up where the babies were buried.