Figure 1. Stafford monument. Presbyterian Church Cemetery of Hancock, PA. Photo: author.

Almira W.
Wife of
H. S. STAFFORD.
DIED
NOV. 12, 1875
Aged 53 Y’s, 10 M’s
& 11 days
—-
We are lonely since
our Mother died.
—-

The brief epitaph on this stone stands out against the great number of its peers. Rather than falling into euphemisms such as that Almira is “asleep in Jesus,” or “passed away,” or that they are happy she is no longer with them but in sunnier climes, the Stafford children directly and honestly confronted the loss of their mother: whatever the fate of her immortal soul (let’s hope for the best), she “died,” and they were “lonely.”

Perhaps they selected this lapidary epitaph from an undertaker’s pamphlet of appropriate inscriptions: these were common. Still, they rooted through the clunkers and arrived at this elegant one, and they are to be commended for it.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: