The Scroll and the Palm Frond

Springdale Cemetery, Madison, Indiana

Springdale Cemetery, Madison, Indiana




DIED DEC. 22, 1922

Two nearly identical monuments (The Scott Family monument and the Laura Phibbs monument) in the Springdale Cemetery at Madison, Indiana, both depict a mourning figure holding a scroll.


The scroll represents the tapestry of one’s life—all of the good deeds and the not-so-nice written out on a roll of butcher paper, as it were. The scroll is not fully unfurled, thereby keeping the mystery of how long the life will be and what events will take place. Often the scroll is held by an angel—an indication that your life is being recorded by God’s messenger.


On both of these monuments, the mourning figure, draped in mourning clothes, with her head bend downward as an expression of sorrow, is holding a palm frond in her other hand. The palm frond is an ancient symbol of victory, dating back to Roman times when victors were presented with palm fronds. The palm fronds were also laid in the path of Jesus as He entered Jerusalem. So, for many Christians, the palm represents righteousness, resurrection, and martyrdom, symbolizing the spiritual victory over death associated with the Easter story.

Springdale Cemetery, Madison, Indiana

Springdale Cemetery, Madison, Indiana

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