The road from the east coast of Tasmania to the central north where I live winds past Piccininny Point, skirts Irishtown and Germantown, goes straight through St Mary's and on past Cornwall. At one point, lying alongside it, is a crooked graveyard attached to a solid Anglican church. Lucy, my parents and I stopped here on our way back from our holiday before Christmas, and spent some family time wandering amongst the dead.
This is perhaps not the most obviously family friendly fun but we love these places. They are quiet and beautiful and each piece of stone holds a story. They never end well but then none of our lives are attached to a happily ever after. Some though, are a little harder to read than others. This one made my heart stop and then start again a little more slowly than it had before.
Lu asked me about it when I was taking photos and I told her what it said, without thinking. I told her the little baby was sleeping under the ground, cosy with his dead friends. Then she asked if he was fixed with bandaids and cream (ointment). I said no, that he would always be under the ground. Then she asked if he was fixed with bandaids and cream (ointment). And I said 'yes' because she wanted it to be true and so did I. I am a mother and I want to think that no-one ever has to face this horror, this one of a thousand worst things, things that cannot be named, things we fear when we think of our children and wonder at our fragile luck in having them still.
It's a month and a half since we walked in the graveyard but I think about that memorial every day. No lily following the curve of the headstone, no 'sadly missed', no 'dearly loved'. But those words don't change what happened or what was felt. Everyday I think about that memorial and I remember that I am blessed.
And I would like to acknowledge those mothers who have faced the worst things.