About eight or ten years ago, I stopped at this cemetery that I pass all the time. I had always looked over at the tombstones because there is one long one facing the main street. It has the most beautiful marble angels … one on each end of the stone. They seemed to be sister angels watching over the dead at their feet. Something about them was touching to me. So, I stopped and photographed each one along with the old bell tower that sits in the back of the cemetery in the original section. It is an impressive structure built with hand cut and hand laid stone.
First Sister sits on the left of the stone looking down at the grave.
The Second Sister sits on the right looking down at the grave.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to pay another visit to the cemetery for some photograph of early stones.
First sister was sitting patiently waiting. But, there was something terribly wrong. Second Sister had been decapitated. I was horrified. I stood there in disbelief. When I collected my wits, I looked at First Sister carefully. She was intact so I photographed her sad face and her hands holding the wreath in perpetuity.
I turned to Second Sister wondering what to do. I finally decided to photograph her graceful hands still clutching the wreath.
I almost turned away from the awful gash atop Second Sister’s body. The violence of it left me a little shaken. What kind of society do we live in, I thought. A society whose members desecrate the burial grounds of the dead.
As I walked away, I looked back. I had not noticed the backs of the Sister Angels before. I had a strange feeling that Sister was turning her back on all of us. I wondered if Second Sister could ever be repaired. I may very well have the only surviving photographs of her whole.