Mystery Headstone

Graveyards are interesting places. In addition to the real sense of respect and sadness, sometimes there are headstones that are full of intrigue.

southerRed Souther was three years older than his bride, Grace. I would speculate that they married at about age 25 and 22, meaning they were married for 54 years. But it is the dates of their death that creates the mystery here. They died just 15 days apart and one wonders why. Was it something violent like a car accident, an illness they both shared, or something very poignant, like a broken heart. It happens with some frequency, that life partners cannot live without each other, and one death is quickly followed by the other, whose grief is overwhelming. Together forever, rest in peace, Red and Grace.

Elva and Cleatus

elva&cleatus© 2012 Michael Fiveson

What can we know about the lives of a married couple who will spend eternity together?
Cleatus was five years older than Elva and if he was 26 when they married, she was 21, and that would mean they married in 1909. When Elva passed away in 1960, they would have been married for 51 years and would have had a grand celebration the year before her death.
One can imagine that Cleatus would have been broken and lost without his precious Elva, but he hung on for another 14 years and at the age of 91 his last thought must have been a happy one, knowing he would see his bride once again.
Lives of long ago, very much the same today.


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.

© 2012 Michael Fiveson