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  • Karma, Good or Bad

    Boozhoo niji,

    I have had something happen in the last couple of days that is really interesting, and I just wanted to get some input on it. It is certainly important in my life, but its not a Native issue, because of my mixed heritage.

    The other day I get a phone call from my Uncle, my dads brother, about a gravestone that was found. This woman not far from us, about 13 or so miles was digging up a flower bed and unearth a headstone with the name James P. Whidden on it. (my last name is Whidden) Somehow she got ahold of my dad, either through the phonebook or whatever, told him about it. He called my Uncle, who looked up some stuff on the internet. He emailed me a website with a possible location for the grave of James P. Whidden, who is, btw one of my direct ancestors, about 4-5 generations back I think. The website also stated the headstone disappeared around 1972, but the grave was marked with a footstone. The cemetary is called... Whidden cemetary.

    We met a cop a few miles down the road (there was some kind of forensic investigation done, to prove indeed there was no body buried in the ladies backyard, and that there was indeed a grave at the cemetary in question. He led us there and we walked to the grave, and indeed, you could see mortar on the headstone that was broken, and mortar on the basestone that matched that break. How cool is that?

    Now I was taught a very long time ago that you do not go around disturbing graves, headstones or remains of any kind, period. But this was kinda different. He was my ancestor, and also we were returning something that was already disturbed. I took half a day off work and we got some supplies, went back to the cemetary and did some repair work. I had to drill out a hole in the basestone that had a piece of rebar going into it. I used to concrete epoxy to glue the headstone to the basestone and then I used some waterseal to help protect the headstone, and big surprise, it was made of marble, not granite.

    The epoxy was awfully expensive, and once you open it and start squeezing it out, the rest will harden and go to waste. The previous day I noticed that there were other headstones that were broken or tipped over. So I decided to make good use of what was left of the epoxy and fix a couple of them that were actually broken into two. Both of them were infant graves which was kinda sad. One had a piece missing that was nowhere to be found, probably tossed by some punk kid.

    There were probably less than 60 graves here, with space for maybe that many more. There was an old cedar tree in the middle that was gnarled and twisted with age but still alive. The grass was overgrown and dry, and cactus and flowers were growing everywhere. The boundary of the cemetary is marked only by four posts at the corners. There are not only Whiddens buried there either. I do not know if the others are related, maybe by marriage or whatever. The graves range from the early 1900's to present day, the last one only being about 10 months ago. Even during high noon there was a kind of spookiness about it. We were about half a mile away from a major highway, and you could not hardly hear a sound. The wind blew in many differnt directions as if the spirits there were not at rest.

    Anyway tell me what you think. Should someone go in there and clean the place up? Or just leave it alone for time to forget?

    Derek
    I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

  • #2
    I don't know how many might agree with me, but I've always told my kids "A life not remembered, is it a life lived?" There is a respect issue for those who are gone, even though their bodies are there--it's still a respect issue. If you feel strongly that you wish to clean it up, then do so--that's what's in your heart and no one will fault you for it. And that is a good thing if that's the way that you feel.

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    • #3
      Well, since Memorial Day just passed... we spent a lot of time in our cemetery cleaning graves. We even cleaned some relatives that we usually don't clean because they hadn't been done yet - cuz we wanted to leave flowers on them. Luckily it was pretty rainy the previous days and the weeds were easy to pull.

      There are some old graves with worn and broken headstones, and fading and chipped painted wooden crosses. My girls were going to take up some colored sharpies and touch up their cousins' painted crosses. There's a LOT of old graves that aren't kept up and it would probably keep a person busy full time. Even the old stone wall around the place needs to be repaired.

      I think whatever you do to spruce the place up will be appreciated by anyone concerned.
      ...it is what it is...

      Comment


      • #4
        I think its up to you. I personally don't get involved with the gravesites where my relatives are interred. But then, I have serious issues related to death and the dying.

        Though there are others in my family that seem to hang out at cemetaries, cleaning and fixing things for the family, mowing, laying out flowers and flags. Stuff like that. And then when a birthday for a deceased comes around that they really loved, they will take the family out and eat dinner there, like a picnic or something.
        sigpic This is how I dance when your standing next to me...

        "Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the Dogs of War..."

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        • #5
          It was nice of you to fix the headstones with your epoxy. A lot of people would have just tossed it-even though there was a some left. I think that if you have time before you move and you want to clean it up, you should. It would be good karma. Since I'm kinda nosey, I would probably be doing some research on the cemetary and see what the history behind it is. It sounds like it started out to be the Whidden family cemetary and then became public, so to speak. Good luck with what you decide.
          Take nothing for granted. Life can change irrevocably in a heartbeat.

          I will not feed the troll-well, I will try.

          Comment


          • #6
            website for local paper

            Woman Sues for Cemetery Access | The Ledger.com | The Lakeland Ledger | Lakeland, FL

            This is a link to the local paper with an article on the cemetery. It has a little bit of history and some controversy. Good drama. Obviously the suit went through because the cemetery is now open, and it seems like someone is going in there and at least taking care of the grass.

            Derek
            I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

            Comment


            • #7
              We have a lot of old family/town cemeteries around here that time has forgot till someone wants to build there. The community often gets together to clean it up and return it to a proper place for those who have passed to be remembered.
              I think what you did was great! Especially knowing how much personal stuff you have going on. Many folks would have just claimed to be "to busy" and let someone else deal with it. Unfortunately, there often is no one else. Good work!
              Don't compromise yourself. It's all you've got.

              Janis Joplin

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by crazywolf View Post
                Woman Sues for Cemetery Access | The Ledger.com | The Lakeland Ledger | Lakeland, FL

                This is a link to the local paper with an article on the cemetery. It has a little bit of history and some controversy. Good drama. Obviously the suit went through because the cemetery is now open, and it seems like someone is going in there and at least taking care of the grass.

                Derek

                Well that's good, especially since you're moving and all.
                ...it is what it is...

                Comment

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