His Empty Cradle




JUNE 20, 1909

MARCH 5, 1912

A little time on earth he spent

Till God for him his angel sent.

For me, the most poignant and tender gravestones are those for children because in the sweep of life, parents are not to outlive their babies.  It is not the natural order.  And what could be more sad than losing a child?

Here is the gravestone of Joseph Dennis Wing, not yet three years old, buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.  Many different symbols are used to denote a child on a gravestone: a lamb, a hanging bud, a chubby little cherub, a dove with a broken wing, a pair of baby shoes.

But carved into the top of the gray marble gravestone for Joseph is an empty cradle.  The image is chilling.  The cradle is empty, the toddler’s voice is stilled.  One can only imagine that the home was filled with emptiness.


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