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Cemeteries - A Road To Our Own

I just returned from a business trip in North Carolina. One can not come to any historical place as this, and not visit its oldest cemetery. I had personally fallen in love with history and cemetery stomping by way of my adoption journey. While my husband and I were in New Jersey, for the wedding of my birth nephew, we took some time to explore and discover my family roots. We wanted to know those who I did not get to know in life. Tracing their life journey, and finally to be standing in front of their final resting places, was something one can not describe incredible and just incredible! These people, in this cemetery in New Jersey, are part of me. It was just an overly emotional moment. My 4th great grandparents, James and Edeth Thompson, lie below:

I have always found cemeteries very peaceful. They just draw me in. It's a place that whispers to me. I always want to know who else's family is here? Who were they, and what did they do in their lives, and in their communities? It's the mystique of the unknown, the family history. This ritual of cemetery stomping, always brings me to adoption, of course. Not even just my own, but all others as well. As I walk around and read most every tombstone, I wonder. “What kind of man were you John Rex”? What wonderful things did you do in your life’s time on earth.

I walk, and as I read each name: men, women, mother's and father's - grandmother's & grandfather's, aunts, uncles, children, babies, slaves and free slaves as well, I contemplate. I came upon an entire family plot, and it was then that this feeling really hit me - at that very moment - “Any adoptee who has not had the good fortune of finding their birth families, will never have a chance to visit a beautiful place as this, or to contemplate their loved ones own history”. Memories can not be shared, stories can not be told, voices can not be heard, when we do not know for who we grieve.

When I visit both of my adopted parents places of rest, I think of them as they were, the memories we shared as a family. Those memories and that place, is so very special to me and to my family. Adoption, again, it limits us to our very core of life, and death. Our birth families, are our souls. We want to know them in life, so we can visit them and honor them in death. Why can we not have that? This fact is hugely sad to me. For those of you who will never have a place to visit your biological loved ones, maybe you will do as I do, and go cemetery stomping. Maybe you will find some solace, and maybe someone, who shares our same story.

This Memorial Day, we will honor those who have so bravely fought for our county, for generations. Families will go and place flags at the graves of their fallen family. I pray for all who have not completed their own journey's, who do not know where their biological loved ones rest, that one day you will have that chance, that chance to say “Happy Mother's Day” and I love you, to our mothers who you have never met.

So, thank you John Rex, & Grizza Shaw, and all the others who I was fortunate to meet that warm afternoon in Raleigh, North Carolina. Thank you for letting me sit with you under the beautiful dogwood trees. Thank you for giving me the chance to contemplate your lives, and mine, and to pray that one day, one day very soon, adoptees and birth families will have a place to come and to mourn, and walk that road to one of their own.


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