Ladies Who Mourn – Bellefontaine Catholic Cemetery

Bellefontaine Cemetery, Florissant, Missouri

Bellefontaine Cemetery, Florissant, Missouri

Angels watch over the dead all over the world.

You’ve seen the statues… wings, solemn indifferent faces, flowing gowns. They’re beautiful, for sure, but I love finding human figures like these in Bellefontaine Cemetery in Florissant.

Maysie Walker Pittman, Bellefontaine Cemetery

Maysie Walker Pittman, Bellefontaine Cemetery

Maysie stands calmly beside her own grave. She’s at ground level, life sized. You feel like you could walk up and put your arm around her shoulder. No towering plinth keepering her out of reach.

Gorgeous detail here.

Gorgeous detail here.

The woman who mourns the Hobbs family, Bellefontaine Cemetery.

The woman who mourns the Hobbs family, Bellefontaine Cemetery.

The poses and gowns are similar, but here the wife mourns her fallen husband. This widow made sure her husband was never left alone.

This lady has a beautiful ethnic look about her

Another lady companion.

Companions like these aren’t as common as angels, so I love finding them. One of my absolute favorites sits in a little cemetery in Kansas, called Antioch Pioneer. Check it out.

Where’s your favorite?

 

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Snowy Cemeteries

Lee's Summit, Missouri

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

It’s got to be just the right kind of snowy day.

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Cold but not frigid. Bright but not blinding.

Lee's Summit, Missouri

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

There’s a new kind of depth to the serenity on those perfect snowy days.

Excelsior Springs, Missouri

Excelsior Springs, Missouri

Perfect stillness.

Lee's Summit, Missouri

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Perfect quiet that seeps in with the cold.

Excelsior Springs, Missouri

Excelsior Springs, Missouri

Take a breath.

A Creepy Day

North Lawn Cemetery, Rolla, Missouri

North Lawn Cemetery, Rolla, Missouri

I took a trip through southern Missouri months ago.  

Angel in a box, Rolla, Missouri

I had a lovely day, enjoying the blood-pressure-lowering tranquility I usually experience in cemeteries.

North Lawn Cemetery, rolla, Missouri

North Lawn Cemetery

But as I looked over these shots this morning, a decidedly creepy vibe came through.

If you squint, it kind of looks like it’s floating.

I don’t try for spooky when I aim my camera. I just look for interesting angles, beautiful stones.

It’s the shadow in this one. There’s a weight to it that I don’t remember feeling when I was there.

But look at this ominous shadow! I totally missed it while I was there.

North Lawn Cemetery

Interesting bright blue orb.

Do you see the creep factor in this group of images too, or am I just in a mood?

Dad’s Passing

Peonies from the yard, Memorial Day 2013

My dad died back in March.  Of course I miss him.

The prospect of getting back to my blog about how much I love graveyards gave me the worst case of writers’ block I’ve ever had. I couldn’t decide what to say, how much to say. For a while, I wondered if I could keep the blog going at all. 

But after all these months I’m finally able to walk into a cemetery and feel that quiet, timeless comfort again. 

My grandfather chose this site. He always said we could throw a rock at his grave as we drove by.

 My sisters and I haven’t marked his grave yet. I definitely have a new appreciation for the complexities of choosing tombstones.

The cemetery where he’s buried only allows stamped bronze markers, the kind mounted flush to the ground, but I’m determined to give taphophiles like me a better clue about how my dad lived his life than the typical phrase, “loving father and husband” provides.  But how do you sum up a life in twenty words or less?

Here’s the epitaph I’ve come up with that seems to suit him best so far…

William Frederick Moore

May 9, 1932 – March 28, 2013

He loved his family, the great outdoors, and the two-step.

Dad caught this whopper at Table Rock Lake – a nineteen pounder!

I love you, Dad.

Ghost Bikes

Memorial on Raytown Road in Kansas City, Missouri

Have you ever seen a ghost bike memorial?

I’d heard of them. I’d seen temporary memorials spray painted on the pavement at the site of  bicyclists’ deaths.

Kansas City, Missouri

This is a different kind of memorial than I usually photograph, but when I saw it I had to stop. I pulled onto the wide shoulder where the man and his granddaughter had ridden. It was a long, straight stretch of four-lane, country road. Hard to imagine what must have happened that morning to cause the accident.

Kansas City, Missouri

Despite the obvious age of this memorial, the grief still felt raw here. Like crosses marking  car accidents, I hope that ghost bikes serve to wake people up a bit. I know when I pass them I’ll sit up a little straighter behind the wheel, scan ahead a little farther. Share the road.