Mourners by a Tree

IMG_2573Last Saturday after the funeral of my sister-in-law, Karen, Tom and I drove out to a country cemetery to find the grave of my great-great-grandfather, Heinrich Schwarz.

I wasn’t even aware of Heinrich and the location of his last resting place until one of my cousins told me about him at the lunch after funeral. In this day of deep mourning and close family connecting, it felt fitting to find and honor the one who started one of our family lines in this country in the mid-1800’s

The sun was about to set so we hoped to locate it before dark. There weren’t more than a few hundred graves and Tim told us to go to the back part of the grounds near the creek where the “really old ones” were located.

Resting under a tree was the very old tombstone. Most of the script was in German but we could make out the name, Heinrich Schwarz with a death date of October 12, 1875

All the emotions of the day seemed to merge with the imagining of a crowd of my ancestors mourning their loved one, just like we were, on that very spot. Separated by many generations and nearly 150 years, the pain was probably the same: The universality of grief, mourning, loss and tears.

Somehow the visit was soothing. Can’t quite explain it. Feeling so connected for a moment to families I never knew but still carry some of the same DNA. Their mourning assuaged mine.

The earlier loved ones probably wore black for a while. I wish I had at least an armband to announce my sadness.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Hope for the Best,



6 Responses to “Mourners by a Tree”

  1. 1 linda sylvester January 19, 2015 at 5:52 PM

    Beautiful words! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Linda

  2. 2 kdebanderson January 19, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    TIsh, I am so sorry about your sister in law…I will be praying for your family.


    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S® 5, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  3. 5 Peggy Angelino January 20, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    Blessings and peace to you and your family, Tish. I’m sad for your loss. I, too, have connected to relatives long past as we’ve buried some who die too young. I found it sad, but comforting.

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