On my recent trip to CT, my sister and mother wanted to track down the flat marker that indicated the spot where my step-grandmother was buried with her first husband. Unlike in northern Maine, where there are many headstones with the name Flewelling carved into marble, this small quiet CT cemetery has one marker with this name.
It seems that they are out of place, these two Flewellings – since their life in CT was not where the majority of their lives were spent. We hunted for a bit and finally I saw it. We pushed the grass back from the edges of the stone – confirmed the name, and then took a few photos to send to her far away descendants.
As I was wandering through this quiet cemetery looking for the flat marker, I noted a beautiful tall headstone at the perimeter. I was surprised to see that there were three matching dates of death and began to wonder if it was a car accident or a fire that claimed three family members at the same time.Then I noticed the surname.
Five years ago, there was a family brutally attacked in their home in a small town in CT. The mother and her two teen-aged daughters were murdered after hours of torture. The father was beaten but escaped, crawling out a basement window to try to get help. The help arrived too late for the women. Their murderers were just recently convicted of these horrible murders.
The gravestone was crafted with relief drawings at the top. There were potted flowers in front and yellow flowers cradling the sides of the stone, obviously having been tended with love. It was a simple headstone and the location was peaceful – in stark contrast to how they died. I stood for a few minutes and thought about the horror they endured for hours before they were killed – and the man who survived as well. He lost his family and the life he knew and had to endure the legal trials – yes trials – as each man was tried separately. I’ve read that this man who lost so much is engaged now – and marvel that years later he was able to find a way to love again.
I took a picture of the stone – feeling somewhat intrusive as I did. As I stood in this place, I remembered the murders but now felt the peacefulness and quiet of this place that felt quite sacred. The stone was simple but beautiful – and the location at the edge of the small cemetery offered a place of contemplation of lives lost.
The phrase “rest in peace” felt very right as I walked away.