LOUIS H. RAETH son of JOHN & SARALDA RAETH BORN Dec. 30, 1851 DIED May 21, 1853
As I walk through cemeteries and read the text on the gravestones, the hardest for me are the gravestones of the children. It always seems unfair to me that these tiny children did not have a chance to fulfill their promise. It is a reminder of how fragile life is, especially young life. Often you can see fairly quickly in cemeteries how high infant mortality rates were in frontier America. There is an old saw that it wasn’t tough to live to 70, the major feat was to live past five.
Cemeteries have many symbols that represent children–shoes, seedpods, cribs, cherubs–but one of the most common is the hanging bud. The broken bud represents the flower that did not bloom into full blossom, the life that was cut short before it had a chance to grow to adulthood. What is unusal about this gravestone is the hanging bud is severed by an arrow, what looks to be an overt action from Heaven.