Today… I was at Mary Rathbun’s funeral. Her final resting place was next to Grandpa Jim in the St. Johns Catholic Cemetery just outside Fairbury. There’s a deep feeling that creeps over you when you are at the funeral for an extended side of your family… And to be steps away from the tombstones of some of your dearest family that have passed.
When the service was over, I wandered 10 feet from the Rathbun plots and was walking into the Matioli’s and Giancarli’s memorials. Old Joe, Bruno, Dominic and Sarah. Uncle Joe the war hero who we loved dearly has kids. They are all together in that little Catholic cemetery. One that always stands out is Sylvia Anne’s headstone.
Sylvia Ann died from a playground accident when she was 7 in 1948. Her unique headstone was a destination for us as kids because it had a sweet little granite cherub planted on top that gave the stone a sad beauty. The spot had a mystique. In the 80’s… The little angel was stolen and what you see here is how its been since. (Damn Goths wanted that mystique next to their Poe books and Cure CD’s!)
The headstone as it sits today is still a strong reminder of a lost childhood and life… I cannot wrap my head around the grief that must have been thrown on my Great Grandparents lives. Horror, anguish and 40+ years of visiting of her child in this spot before my Grandma Sarah passed away.
While I have never been one to value a cemetery funeral for myself… (kinda wanted a wood casket under a freshly planted Oak). I felt the power of generations of family all in one spot. Call it sacred… call it whatever… it’s a presence and power that cannot be denied.
Maybe I’ll decide to be pitched into some Fairbury loam as well???
Give me some years to sort that out.