Grave Matters

June 12, 2015 | My Jottings

I have begun walking now and then in the cemetery where Michael’s body is buried. It’s a beautiful place, full of overhanging trees, large ponds, rolling hills and very old graves. When Michael and I traveled to England, Ireland and Scotland in 2007, we found we both enjoyed walking in old graveyards, reading the words on the head stones and pondering history. I am enjoying the same here in Northeastern Minnesota. I see older women walking in the cemetery occasionally, and I can imagine why. Aside from the quiet beauty of the many lanes weaving throughout the sloping sections there, it’s relatively private and there’s no traffic. Older women (the ones who aren’t terribly fit) like to walk without being noticed, and Forest Hill is a good place for anonymous waddling.

I have taken several pictures of headstones and mausoleums that caught my eye, and I thought I’d share them here. You can click to enlarge some of them if you like.

I like this rough-hewn cross that looks like it was literally chopped a chunk at a time from a huge stone….


I also like this one, that looks half undone, with a Greek pillar emerging from it….


I admire this one each time I’m there, because of the amazing detail carved in the bouquet of flowers and the look of a parchment scroll for Mr. or Mrs. Gee’s name…


This one always makes me grin…no offense meant to the Coffin family…


So many of the white marble markers are covered with over a hundred years of mold and lichen. This one is about ten feet tall…


It looks like the Johnsons originally intended to have names and dates engraved in the empty square section. I think I’ll get closer next time to see what the book says. I wouldn’t mind an open book over my grave…


This is one of the older sections of the cemetery. Headstones are smaller than are usually seen today, and many of them have either fallen over or nearly so, as the ground has eroded over the last century.


I find the Greek or Roman temple-like mausoleums fascinating. I wonder what they look like inside….are there shelves where caskets have been stacked? Many of the names on these edifices are familiar to me because they’re from wealthy families in our city, some of which have large buildings named after them downtown.


This one is huge…


I took this picture in the oldest part of the cemetery. Elizabeth Shaw was born in 1833 and died in 1897.


All the graves pictured above lie beyond the furthest trees on the hill you see in this picture below. This part of the cemetery below is newer, and Michael is buried out of the view of this photo, to the left.


This is a field of military graves with tiny headstones, and most of these men lived during World War I.


I took this picture because I enjoy seeing the incongruity of the cube the Dowse family chose, compared with the more traditional grave stones.


And the Wilsons apparently planned to come and sit for a while, but wanted the sundial so they could keep track of the time…


There are a few of these above-ground graves too. This couple were friends of Michael’s parents…


And I like Johann and Christine Krause Rakowsky’s grave marker. At the bottom it says, “Christ is my life, death my reward.”

May it be so, Lord.


And if you haven’t seen the recently installed headstone I chose for Michael, you can click here.

In more earthly matters, I will be Rug Doctoring my carpets this weekend. Very exciting, I know. But it will make me happy afterwards.

What are you doing this weekend? Yardwork? Traveling? Resting? Working? Reading? Β I would love to know…


  1. Nancy says:

    Loved your walk through the cemetary. Many cemetaries were built not just for the departed but for the living. Many are well kept and very beautiful. I think a good model is Mount Auburn Cemetary in Cambridge, MA

    This weekend I am going to a family wedding that is very special to me. It is a meeting of 2 people I love very much that haven’t spoken to each other in years and years due to a misunderstanding nobody can remember the cause but have reconciled thanks to the efforts of the bride. We will at last be one family.

  2. Just Julie says:

    I agree with you about cemeteries being for the living, Nancy. So true. And what you shared about the reconciliation in your family was such happy news. It actually brought tears. Thank you for sharing what you do here…it’s a blessing to me and others. xoxo

  3. Linda says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful graveyard or such interesting headstones ….thank you for this tour & highlights Julie. I especially liked the one with the sun dial & bench to rest …& recall precious memories …. Friday night my husband & I went to the “trotter” horse races with my mom in Ocean City near her home …My horse #7 won in the last race of the night! I never bet to “win”….just “place” or “show” but I got brave & doubled my bet …so that was a surprise & @ only $2 a bet we don’t win much …if at all. But we enjoy the beauty of these lovely animals running & an outing in the cool of early evening on a hot summer night.
    I won a grand total of $12.80! πŸ™‚
    Tonight we drive back to New Jersey & will attend my High School “reunion” of of 40 + years . Those who keep in touch meet up informally & sporadically now & then when we can every couple of years . Sunday is church ….maybe I’ll visit the church my son attends this week so I can be with my grandson…as I’ve been away from him too long this week & need mom-mom time!! πŸ™‚ NOT cleaning this weekend! πŸ™‚

  4. Just Julie says:

    Linda, I loved reading about your trip to the races — I’ve never been! And now I have a picture of what your weekend will be like, and it sounds like a good one. I’ve never heard the term mom-mom. So sweet. I’m not cleaning this weekend either. I even canceled the Rug Dr. appointment because I woke feeling a little under the weather. So, not cleaning, not Rug Doctoring, not cooking…just giving thanks and resting. Hugs to you Linda… xoxo

  5. Kay in Cornwall says:

    Alan and I find the inscriptions on grave stones fascinating. We can learn a lot of social history from the dates and descriptions. When I lived on my own in a much smaller town, I used to enjoy not only the peace and quiet in the local graveyard, but also the wildlife.
    Alan and I are going out for my ‘birthday meal’ tonight. It was postponed from last weekend because I had a rotten cold and didn’t feel like going out at all. We’re going to a quiet country pub called the Treleigh Arms where good food at a reasonable price is on offer. πŸ™‚
    Tomorrow will be my last time at church for quite a while because of access difficulties. I can just about get up the stairs with crutches now, but it would be too risky with a new hip replacement. πŸ™
    I like the fact that Linda is NOT cleaning this weekend! I’m NOT reorganising or sorting this weekend! πŸ˜‰
    And it’s lovely to hear of Nancy’s family reconciliation.
    So, your blog has put a smile on my face again. xx

  6. Just Julie says:

    I loved your details too, Kay. Thank you for all you’ve shared. We have wildlife at this cemetery too — I’ve seen many deer, a fawn, a fox, and birds and squirrels galore. I looked up The Treleigh Arms online and want to join you there! It looks wonderful. May you and Alan have a lovely meal. I’m hoping you can return to church sooner than you’re expecting, dear Kay. And your last few comments made me happy. Love to you, Archie and Alan… xoxo

  7. Sue Denney says:

    I, too, have spent many hours at this cemetery. I am familiar with many of the headstones you have shown. My grandma and I used to slowly drive through the cemetery and talk about the unusual, grand, and sometimes odd headstones. It is a peaceful place to spend a few hours. My family is also laid to rest at Forest Hill. Thinking of you today, dear friend.

  8. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for sharing, dear Sue. It’s an oddly comforting spot in our city isn’t it? xoxo

  9. Sam says:

    My maternal grandparents are at Forest Hill. Feeding the ducks and geese in the ponds was a regular part of my childhood, as was wandering about the oldest part of the cemetery with my mother. I’m oddly comforted by your pictures of the very headstones/tombs I have also marveled at.

    Where is Michael? I would like to visit him next time I’m there.

  10. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for asking, Sam. I’m so touched! You take the road between the two ponds, up the hill, past the veterans’ section, to the top most possible lane/road in the cemetery, heading slightly right, bordering the woods. It’s about in the middle of that highest road. When you’re in the right place and you turn away from the woods/boundary of the cemetery, you are looking down over a couple of sloping hills and that second pond, and a lovely view of almost the whole cemetery. If you’re in the right spot, it seems to be the highest place in the whole cemetery, and there are no graves beyond it because there are the woods. I hope this helps a little! God bless you, Sam…. xoxo

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.