Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What Might Have Been....

A couple of weeks ago, I went for a run from our house. I ran through the cemetary that is less than a mile away. There is alternating shade and it is a quiet, reflective place. On this particular run, I went to the end of a road that forms a small cul-de-sac and was surprised to see a sign I had never seen before. I went back today to get this picture;

It is a section of the cemetary with only the graves of infants and children. I do not know its history. Many of the markers indicate that the infants died on the day of birth or within 2 or 3 days. That must be horrible for many reasons, not the least of which is connected to this site. "Are we supposed to have a funeral?" "How do we do that?" Others indicate a range of lifespans ranging from a few months to a few years. Here is just a sampling of the headstones. I hope it is not bad form to post these without knowing the families or the life story of each. Those of you who know me, know that I really want to hear "the rest of the story". And perhaps I will.

This is not the place I expected to see a "BabyLand" sign. BabyLand makes me think of this place;

That picture is from BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia--the birthplace of Cabbage Patch Kids. I can't mention Cabbage Patch Kids without telling this story. When Cabbage Patch was all the rage and the supply could not keep up with demand, classes were formed to teach people (mostly grandmothers) how to make them. My mother signed up to make two Cabbage Patch adopted (knockoffs) kids. She enjoyed the experience except that it was during the weeks leading up to Christmas and she had many demands on her time. She was working full-time and actively involved in church events as well as working on the dolls almost every night. One night a lady at church asked if she was feeling well. My mom replied "Yes, I am just tired from working all day and making babies all night!" Well, who wouldn't be?

Obviously, the BabyLand at the cemetary holds few of the pleasant, happy thoughts and memories that surround its namesake. The parents who visit here must sit and think about all that might have been. I wonder how they feel when they watch a sibling of the deceased child or someone else's child grow and accomplish as expected. Do they wonder "What might have been?" As I have thought of this corner of the cemetary, thoughts of how we sometimes, as parents, communicate dissappointment to our children if they do not make all "A's" or make the All-star team. I hope I don't send that message to my children, especially in front of one of the parents of a "BabyLand" child. Oh, how they must yearn to show acceptance and love to that missing child.

Then I think of the miscarriage we had between Helen and Laura and what might have been. That is not the same, of course, as having a child in your arms and loving them for days, months, or a few years. I also notice that most of the headstones in the BabyLand section of the cemetary have dates from the mid 70's to the mid 80's--the period of time our kids were being born into our family. So here I sit, a few days before all my children and their spouses will join LaWanna and me and my extended family for a week in the north Georgia mountains. And I think, what a blessing that they are alive, all Christians, all doing well in most areas of life AND willing to spend vacation time with the old folks. How can you enjoy that blessing and not realize that, but for the grace of God, I would be visiting a familiar grave at BabyLand and wondering "what might have been". Here are some pictures of, thankfully, what is (in my life);

Thank you, God for not blessing us as we deserve. I am blessed far beyond what I deserve!


Kathryn said...

What a beautiful post and beautiful pictures.

We have a cemetary a block from us that we walk through all the time. My sister and grandparents are buried there. It is just so peaceful and lovely. And of course, the perfect place to go when you are feeling sorry for yourself. It really puts things in perspective.

Hilary said...

Such sweet thoughts. Thanks for sharing...btw, I loved Cabbage Patch Land!!!!!!!!

Lerra said...

I loved those dolls Grandmama made for us!

It is sad to me every time I see a baby's grave at the cemetery. I guess I've never thought of "what might have been" but I know those parents have.

Supabloggasuprememama said...

awe. this is a good post. this post makes me kinda sad, but very sweet all at the same time. ;)