The monument in the St. Raphael Church Cemetery, at Dubois, Indiana, has atop it a young female figure. Her head is bent forward, she is looking down in reflection and sorrow, while she is holding a rose bloom in one hand and clutching a floral wreath in the other. This is a common Victorian funerary symbol expressing the transitory nature of life.
The rose is a secular symbol for love and beauty but is also associated with the Virgin Mary—the rose without thorns. The rose, however, can also connote age. A rose bud, generally found on a child’s grave, represents the life that has yet to bloom. Often, in that case the bud will be on a broken stem indicating that the life was cut short. A partial bloom on the rose would indicate an older child, such as a teenager, while a full bloom, indicates the life of someone who has reached maturity.
The example below decorates a grave in the Fairmount Cemetery at Huntingburg, Indiana, from the 1990s. In this updated version, the mourning figure is not wearing flowing robes, but modern dress. She is knelling, holding roses as she leans forward in the act of laying a rose.