I wrote this in April of 2011. I believe it is one of my most emotional stories I’ve shared with anyone.
I hope you enjoy reading it.
I Walked Among Angels Today
As a favor to a fellow genealogist, I offered to take a picture of the front of his ancestors’ crypt to show that it had been repaired as he had requested. At first I was a little nervous going into a cemetery that I have never been to before. Let’s face it, none of us like going there for any reason.
I drove around the grounds trying to find the right building and it came to me that I have never been in a mausoleum before in my life. All of my relatives are buried underground and are not in this cemetery. When I walk into that building, I am going to be surrounded by sadness and death. Having just lost my husband a mere 3-1/2 years ago, I wasn’t sure I could do it.
As I continued to drive, I came upon a funeral in progress. I took a few seconds to bow my head and close my eyes in respect. I watched as they removed the casket from the hearse and watched the mourners walk behind their loved ones’ casket to where it was to be laid to rest. I knew that I was going to sit there patiently as long as it took and then I wondered if there would actually be a person in this world so uncaring as to blow a horn or actually be angry that they had to wait a few minutes until they could drive through the area? Unfortunately, I suppose there are such people like that.
This cemetery also is the largest one I have ever been to and after driving around in circles for a while I decided to find someone to help guide me to the right building or else I would be there for hours. The lady gave me a map and it turned out I was not very far away from the “Lords Prayer” mausoleum.
I gathered my notes and my camera and stood at the door for a few minutes to take a long deep breath before going in. Once inside, I tried to detach myself from all feelings and just started looking for names so I could take the picture and get out of there.
I don’t know if I can explain the experience, I went through today, but I would like to try.
As I walked further into the mausoleum, reading through the names, loving quotes and seeing the flowers, charms, beads (which I assume were Rosary beads), toys, wreaths, etc. that were placed on the front of the crypts or at the floor in front, I did not have a feeling of sadness, grief or fear. Somehow, I felt as if I were being watched over by all of the people who have gone on before. I was in their house now and they were making me feel at ease in what normally would be an uneasy situation. By now you are probably thinking I have gone off the deep end which I haven’t.
Each name that I came across and sometimes a picture, I began to wonder about these people and the lives that they led. I’m sure for the most part their lives were not very much different from mine or yours in terms of everyday life; they loved, they laughed, they cried, they also mourned the ones who went before them. The longer I looked for the crypt of my fellow genealogists’ ancestor, the deeper I became involved in wondering about every soul at rest there.
I still talk to my husband sometimes and I feel as if he is still with me and always will be, I believe he was with me today. After about an hour or so of searching I found myself asking, “Please, Mr. and Mrs. Green, give me a sign to let me know where you are. I couldn’t just give up now. I must have read through more than 100 names and with each name I envisioned what that person was like, what caused them to be here.
Was it an accident; was it natural or at the hand of someone else, did one of the wars claim this life? I saw many crypts that the fronts were blank (waiting for an angel); many had two names above or below the surname (two angels already there); some had only one name (one angel waiting for the other); some had both a date of birth and date of death; the other name just had the date of birth. Was the one left behind still in pain like I am from losing their husbands or wives or had they made peace with it and were just waiting to be reunited with them again?
After realizing I had been walking through the halls of these sacred buildings, in and out, for over an hour, I thought to myself I will have to come back. I am just too tired and exhausted to look any longer. I felt as if I had lived a thousand lives in that short amount of time.
As I walked down one more hallway to go back to the car, it was as if I was being summoned to look to the right; there was a short walkway just outside of the building that I had not noticed before. It reminded me somewhat of a garden and as I turned the corner and looked up, there they were Mr. and Mrs. Green. I took 2 or 3 pictures of the front of the crypt for my friend, read a few more names and imagined a few more lives and then walked to the car.
Sitting in the car, I just rested for a while before leaving. There was so much emotion involved by the experience that I had when “I Walked Among Angels Today.” I wasn’t sad; I wasn’t scared; I didn’t cry; it was almost peaceful as if I had been given a unique gift to be able to spend time with so many people that I never had the privilege of meeting before they became Angels.
© Monna Ellithorpe – April 2011