Grief

Grief does not discriminate. It can be seen in the face of angry fathers who carry young sons just killed in senseless wars. It can be seen in those who feel dead when abandoned or abused. And sometimes it can take the form of deep empathy felt by an aging stranger who happens upon a small town cemetery and imagines the intense pain felt by this family, so long ago.

Β© 2012 Michael Fiveson

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91 thoughts on “Grief

  1. In Greenville, Michigan there is a section called “The Baby Angels”…when the population of the town was only around 8,000, over 50 newborns were placed there between 1946 and 1949.
    I can not imagine how this many young ones passing is such a short period of time must have affected the entire town. Next trip back there, I will take some photos as the section is very well kept and is quite a tribute to these “Lost Angels” of Michigan. Your post revived the memory of going there with the family to place flowers on a cousins grave that passed shortly before I was born in 1948.

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    • I was born in ’49, old timer. It would be interesting to know what kind of epidemic might have caused so many babies to die during that time. Terribly sad, so many families grieving.

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      • I have often wondered myself as my cousin was determined to be a “blue baby” was choked to death while still in the womb by the umbilical cord. Most of the children seemed to suffer the same fate or at least died at birth within minutes…such a high rate of mortality such as this in such a short period of time almost lends one the think of something nefarious.

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  2. While doing my family history I discovered, during an epidemic in the 30s, three children died in Dec three days apart. On Dec 24th the mother died. It just rips your heart out. Thanks for reminding us that we have much to be thankful for.

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  3. I think visiting cemeteries does give us a sense of continuity with humanity. That despite all the differences we all at our core suffer most at the loss of our own. My baby sister, Susan Leigh, died at the age of 6 months of a heart defect she was born with. While they wanted to operate when she was older, her condition forced surgery at 6 months and she was just too weak to survive the surgery. To date it is the only time I ever saw my father cry. Over the years there has been sweet positive side to this in my mind. Susan coming into the world was unplanned and so when she died my parents did plan another pregnancy and had my sister Lynda. So I look at Susan as the little angel who gave us Lynda Gail.

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      • Yes, perhaps that is true! Susan was sweet and we enjoyed our time with her very much! I have a feeling that the parents of the babies in the cemetery didn’t get as much time since they weren’t named yet. Things were different in the 1920’s.

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  4. Mike, I’d like to re-blog this but have no idea how to do it. We lost a child in 1983 and it still affects us to this day. I can’t even comprehend losing two kids in two years.

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      • Paul, when you open my post, at the top next to ‘like’ is an option for reblog. Just click on it and then you can add your own comments. What you told me smacks me in the gut.

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      • I just can’t figure it out. I see a “Press This” button which gives me a link to your post. I was looking for a way of re-posting to my site so your info, photo and thoughts are there when anyone clicks on mine. I thought this was possible but maybe not.

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  5. I did a little family history last year and as a way to get names, dates etc I visited cemeteries to get the information. What I found were many children’s graves, names I hadn’t come across in the family tree – I suppose these children didn’t have descendants to remember them. After losing my own child last year, I felt a connection to my great grandmothers. My family tree is a lot fuller now πŸ™‚

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  6. This is just unimaginably heartbreaking. Something I recently read and can’t get out of my head, every day it pops back up when I least expect it. God gives everyone a “load” in life and at some point a “burden”, something overwhelming to deal with. This had to be an unbelievably heavy burden for the Walkers. just plain sad, no up side. Thought provoking photos Mike.

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    • It really makes me wonder how the Walkers were after this. They may well have had sufficient faith to manage it, but I guess we’ll never know that. Thanks for reading and for the comment Christina.

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  7. Mike–At first just your narrative and the first picture filled my screen, and I thought, “That IS a sad image.” THEN I scrolled down to find the second image. It was like a punch in the gut (as I’m sure it was to the parents). A MOST powerful post.

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  8. Poor family… and the child with no given name… I hope there were lots of strapping young Walkers following on from their little lost babies

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  9. You have such a kind, empathetic heart … goodness … I feel so for the Walker family.
    (How did I find this 2012 post here in 2014? It was linked on the bottom of the I’m Crushed post … which I also liked as I am a recycling fool)

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