Wednesday Morning at the Cemetery

The other day when we were driving, Iris, our 7 year old, asked, “Can we go there?” I looked all around trying to figure out what she was referring to because all I saw was a cemetery. She said, “I’ve always wanted to go to where people are buried so I can read the tombstones and learn about the lives of people who are no longer alive.” I found this a somewhat strange request.

I thought long and hard about her suggestion for an outing. Is it an appropriate place to take children for a field trip? Bency, my 5 year old, has been going through a phase where he is afraid of getting old and dying. It has become so bad lately that I have had to promise we will not celebrate any more of his birthdays and he can stay 5 forever. Iris, on the other hand, is the opposite. She talks about Heaven and angels. She tries to calm Bency’s fears by explaining Heaven is a beautiful place and we all turn into angels to help others here on Earth.

What finally sealed the deal to take the kids to the cemetery is when I found a list on Iris’s desk entitled: Places I Want to Go for My Next Birthday. The list included: A farm, the library, a cemetery and the magical forest (she believes this is where the unicorns live).  I have no idea what kind of birthday party she was expecting at a cemetery but I figured we would just make her dreams come true on a regular Wednesday morning!

Off to the cemetery we went, pen and notebooks in hand (the kids wanted to write down what they found out about people). Iris squealed with delight when we pulled in. Bency was equally excited just because it looked like a huge place to run and there was lots of mud puddles from the rain the night before. Cesar, the almost 2 year old, was just excited to get out of the house.

The kids had so much fun! They ran from tombstone to tombstone reading the names and figuring out how old they were. We made up fun stories of what we thought their lives were like and celebrated them. They filled their notebooks. It was quiet and relaxing. Iris’s curiosity has been satisfied but she does want to go back again. Bency seems more at peace with death and getting older and Cesar had fun playing in the mud puddles!

The kids have been lucky that they have not lost any loved ones. I hope when that day comes they can look back on this day and it will be a comfort to them. They will remember that we can visit the ones we have lost at any time and celebrate them in a fun and happy way…..perhaps our loved ones will be visited and celebrated by three strange kids as well…smiles and notebooks in hand.


Iris and Bency writing down information


Bency’s favorite tombstone


Iris wanted a picture of this one because she felt her and this person must have had a lot in common….she loves “baking” too!!!




21 responses

  1. This is just crazy precious!!! It makes me want to stroll through some cemeteries myself. How did you get so lucky to have such interesting children to mother? I could barely get mine to read. I’m glad I am at least their Aunt. Wish we lived closer so that I could enjoy them up close. I’m glad you created this blog so that I can vicariously peek inside your lives each day and be inspired.
    Can you believe it, I get to say, I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW!!! It’s been a long time since I could say that to you. Not looking forward to this marathon car ride, but the end result will be worth it!!! Love ya!

  2. Absolutely wonderful example of using places, of all kinds, to capture ‘the teachable minute’ with kids…it is the title of my upcoming book for parents and I will use the cemetary as one of many places. The photos are priceless.You brought back precious memories of biking through our nearby cemetary with my 3 kids…much to be learned there. The notebooks are a perfect literacy tool for engaging kids in thinking, reading, and writing.
    GREAT MOM!!!!!! Keep it up…you will smile with pride when you see your daughter doing the very same things with her little ones, as I see mine doing now! Enjoy the time with your little ones…you will see them grow rapidly, in all ways, each summer. Keep catching teachable minutes together…a gift!

  3. Love it!! When my cousins and I were young, our families would take a trip on what was called the Spoon River Drive in Illinois. It takes place every year and goes through several small towns along the Spoon River. Every year we stopped at a certain cemetary. I honestly have no idea why. My dad and unlce would get their picture taken next to the same tombstone every year. (We didn’t know this person). But while there I found myself reading a lot of the tombstones and also wondering what their lives were like. It just seems to be something fascinating to kids.

  4. I love examining the gravestones in very old rural Colorado cemeteries! There is such history in old graveyards, and many if them actually include a bit about the lives and deaths of the people there. I also just saw a news segment about a gravestone maker who will be including QR codes on the stones so strangers can learn about their lives. Very cool!

  5. I used to have an aunt who would come to Ohio, and my father’s job was to take her to see all her “friends” at the cemetery. I found this to be a fun field trip. I’d read the tombstones, etc. I was raised not to get all worked up about funerals and cemeteries Therefore, cemeteries don’t bother me. I did have fond memories of going there.

  6. Right on! That’s great! Gravestones have aided my 5 year old in reading. He loves to go look at the old soldiers’ graves and we talk about all the different wars. We’re a morbid family, but I think anyone can love a beautiful cemetery. Thanks for stopping’ by my blog as well!

  7. Loved this too. We have a really old graveyard where many of my ancestors are buried near the home I grew up in…I always loved to go visit it as a child
    and wander among the graves looking for the oldest ones. I now love to go and visit with people who were very important in my life as I grew up…have wonderful memories!

  8. Hi there, I think its great that you took your kids to the cemetery, I worked in cemetery sales for a time and my husband is the Manager of grounds and maintenance at a cemetery, as a matter of fact the city just brought the “junior time travelers” club to the cemetery for a tour, its wonderful that children are taught that a cemetery is not a scary place, now my house is, so I won’t be offering a tour to the “junior time travelers”! I got an email from wordpress that you are following my site, check out the picture I posted last night, it puts my poor orbs to shame…..Sounds like you have a great group of kids, keep it up!

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