Day 25: Mother Earth

The prompt said to plant something, as an act of remembrance, allowing our children’s memory to grow over time.  But it’s October where I live, which translates into a cool New England autumn- not exactly planting season.  I have planted a garden in my backyard, a little plot that bears her name, filled will colorful flowers by our white fence.  I dug up, tilled and planted a veggie garden in my grief, another piece of land that will forever remind me of my daughter.

Since it’s saturday- our usual Mabel’s visiting day- when I picked up some flowers on the way home from work, I grabbed two bouquets.  When we arrived at the cemetery, we placed the colorful bunch of mini roses by Mabel’s grave and then wandered around the cemetery with the other bouquet- this one an orange one, the color of carrots.  We sought out headstones with specific dates- short intervals, or sometimes just one date.  Often it was one name carved in a stone meant for three that caught our eyes.  We were looking for children.  When we found such tombstones, we placed a stem of roses- a gift from Mabel to them.  Though it may not be planting anything, we remembered them today- acknowledging their short lives, giving them a gift from mother earth, letting them know that they are remembered.

#CaptureYourGrief

Mabel's roses

Mabel’s roses

One name on a headstone meant for three.  Her parents outlived her.

One name on a headstone meant for three. Her parents outlived her.

So many kids, so young

So many kids, so young

I know this child... sort of.  I say her name every day when I counsel patients about cord blood banking.  Her parents started a nonprofit in her name to benefit those who need stem cells

I know this child… sort of. I say her name every day when I counsel patients about cord blood banking. Her parents started a nonprofit in her name to benefit those who need stem cells

Mabel's neighbor, a three day old baby.  Sad that she's here too, but grateful Mabel has company.

Mabel’s neighbor, a three day old baby. Sad that she’s here too, but grateful Mabel has company.

The kids graves often stand apart for all their beautiful decorations

The kids graves often stand apart for all their beautiful decorations

A child clearly very remembered by friends and family.  Thought she could use one more person thinking of her

A child clearly very remembered by friends and family. Thought she could use one more person thinking of her

This one stood out- Mabel too had congenital heart defects, though it was her kidney/lung combo that limited her life.

This one stood out- Mabel too had congenital heart defects, though it was her kidney/lung combo that limited her life.

Only one date on this stone, like Mabel's.

Only one date on this stone, like Mabel’s.

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10 thoughts on “Day 25: Mother Earth

  1. Beautiful idea.
    There is something so brave in burying a child in a public space. Sharing their presence with so many visitors. But, i suppose, it also allows others to remember these children and babies.

    • such a fascinating thought- seeing it as brave to bury a child in a public space. I figure most people don’t go around looking at other’s graves- I certainly didnt, until I lost Mabel. So those that do probably lost someone. I like that they can see Mabel is visited frequently and sometimes leave gifts for her themselves. When I decided I wanted her nuried, I was thinking of the future, like way in the future, that someone would stumble on her headstone looking at old graves and think about how she died as such a young baby. and because of that, i pay particular attention to those gravestones of other kids, big and small.

  2. Oh wow. Thanks for sharing about this. I did something similar in Peru, but it was spontaneous and I had forgotten about it… Thanks for the reminder. Maybe I can do something similar next weekend.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I love that by including the photos, we are able, however briefly and unintimately, to honor these children in your little part of the world.

    • yes- I thought about sharing their names, but didnt know how their parents would feel. But their dates and the words around them speak so much. I ran out of flowers for all the kids though! I will think of them too.

  4. What a great idea Meghan. The cemetery that Thomas is at has an entire baby section right when you drive in. It is a Catholic cemetery, so the Catholic hospital in the city helps families bury their child born at that hospital if the family does not have the means. The hospital also does an honorary burial of all babies that died too soon for those parents who are not able to grapple with the situation at the time for whatever reason. I cry every time I notice one of those grave markers decorated knowing that Thomas is not alone in his family’s plot at this cemetery and we’re not alone in mourning a baby that died too soon.

    By the way, fall is the ideal time for planting trees, shrubs, and bulbs, even in New England. 😉

    • I had a feeling you’d know about planting! I thought about a tree, but frankly it seemed too much work (plus the scariness of if I plant something in Mabel’s name and it dies, how would I feel??) but bulbs- I forgot about that. it’s not too late, perhaps soon.

      I love that about Thomas’s cemetery- how all babies are honored even if their parents are not ready to deal with such things. It’s a lot for a parent to do- have to bury their child. Having been raised cathholic, I have some strong feelings about the faith, but this is one of the nice things.

  5. The kindest thing you can do for a bereaved parent is to honor their child’s memory. What a lift to their hearts visiting their child’s grave to find someone was also there. Your little Mabel is smiling at you.

    • I hope they know- I hope the parents of all the kids in the cemetery know that someone knows their child is there and thinks of them, wants to know more, wonders how they are are doing. i hope they know!

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