Proof of Existence?
I have to ask myself, "just what is a life worth"?
yesterday I went on a mission while in upstate NY, with the help of my sister and her husband. This was one of the things that I've wanted to do for a long time, to find the grave sites that recorded some of my family history.
It seems the older I get the more I feel a need to find evidence of my heritage and record it. I want to go to these places and touch the stones the markers that make a statement of history. The items that say "I was here, no matter how short or how long my existence and that someone loved me".
I found going to these places brought up some deep feelings and questions. I went to the place where one of my aunts is buried. Her name is Betty Mabel Underhill, the twin sister of my mother, born on Feb. 25, 1925, she died at the age 13 months old and was buried on March 20, 1926, and there was no headstone, no marker, nothing at all, other than the ground sinking to the shape of her little coffin.
My search continued and I found records of my brother Joseph LoVetro (infant) who died at birth, his burial date was May 4, 1953. The records guided us to the place of his final resting place. After pacing out row by row and then burial plots to row 18 plot 110, we arrived and once again we found no headstone. I got down on my knees and began to dig, hoping to find a small round concrete marker with the plot number (as we had noticed on some other plots). We found it buried about 2 inches under the grass, a small round 3 inch concrete marker with 110 carved into it. This small tiny piece of concrete is the only evidence of this precious baby's existence.
I find myself briefly grieving for this two babies, even though I never knew them. I ask myself how can anyone bury their baby and not mark his or her existence no matter how brief their life was. Even if they never took their first breath, this is a soul, a living human life from the point of conception.
I realize these tiny bodies beneath the ground are decayed, and returning to dust but they themselves, their souls, I believe sore in Heaven and their bodies are whole and pain free with my Lord. I understand that the rituals of funerals and the placing of headstones are for those of us left behind on this earth. This is perhaps a part of the grieving process for some of us.
Through the process of this journey I have made a promise to myself that my brother Joey and my Aunt Betty will have a proper headstone. Even if no one ever visits their place of rest. I will know they now have their marker as a statement that says "I was here, no matter how short or how long my existence and that someone loved me".
Betty Mabel Underhill
1925 - 1926
Joseph LoVetro (Infant)