Nov. 27, 1900
BURIED WASHINGTON CO., IND
At the base of the angel monument erected for the Wilkins Family is a plain white marble marker in memory of the infant son of Thomas and Alice Wilkins who was born and died on the same day. The marker does not have an epitaph, but Mary Kim Schreck, my friend and fellow cemetery enthusiast, shared a poem with me that seems appropriate, written by Elizabeth Gaskell, July 4th, 1836. The poem speaks to the loss of a grieving Mother at not only losing her child and what might have been but the untold thoughts she had of the child even during joyful times. The visage of the little girl was never far from her Mother’s mind. The Wilkins family had moved from Washington County, Indiana, where their infant son was buried, but next to their graves for eternity was a reminder of the infant son they lost 50 years before they died.
On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl
I made a vow within my soul, O Child,
When thou wert laid beside my weary heart,
With marks of death on every tender part
That, if in time a living infant smiled,
Winning my ear with gentle sounds of love
In sunshine of such joy, I still would save
A green rest for thy memory, O Dove!
And oft times visit thy small, nameless grave.
Thee have I not forgot, my firstborn, though
Whose eyes ne’er opened to my wistful gaze,
Whose sufferings stamped with pain thy little brow;
I think of thee in these far happier days,
And thou, my child, from thy bright heaven see
How well I keep my faithful vow to thee.
Nesting in the tree
As my son and I took the picture of the angel, Zain noticed that an expectant Mother Robin had nested between the wings of the angel. Barley peaking out, he noticed the little Mother and asked to snap her picture. The photograph captures the life cycle in its essense and ultimate irony…rebirth in the spring on the wings of death and the sadness of winter.