*In my recent '100 things' post, I mentioned the fact that when I go to the cemetery for my dad, I also bring flowers to Nicole, someone that I in fact have never met. As promised, here's the story as to why.
All I've ever known about her is her name, and the year she was born and died. After my dad passed away, mom and I would visit his grave regularly. We'd go to bring flowers, clean up so everything looked nice and of course, say a few prayers. One day we happened to walk down a different aisle near my dad's graveside, and noticed that one grave only had the simple metal marker provided by the funeral home, yet it obviously wasn't a recently dug grave. I knelt to read what it said and that's how I found Nicole. Nicole was born in 1983 and died in 1984. Only the years of her birth and death are listed on the marker, so I don't know her actual birthday and whether she'd actually reached the age of 1, but I've always imagined that she had. After finding Nicole, whenever mom and I brought flowers to the cemetery for Dad we'd bring something for Nicole as well. I still do to this day, even now that mom's no longer with me.
As I said, Nicole's grave doesn't have a stone or fancy marker, I assume its because of her family's economic situation. Despite the fact that her grave doesn't have a stone, she's not forgotten. She always has some pretty little knick-knack or plant to show that someone still thinks of her. Last winter someone left a pretty little angel, but unfortunately exposure to the elements broke both of the angel's arms, so I bought her a new stone angel. The little broken angel is still there. I wouldn't dare touch it, since it was obviously brought there with love. I left my gift, as I've left others over the years, with the hope that her family isn't upset by my gifts and that instead they take heart in the knowledge that someone else in this world was touched by their little girl.
I wonder sometimes what she looked like, or what happened to take her from her family, but I never wonder if she was loved for that answer is obvious. I brought that new angel to Nicole shortly after mom passed away, and as I knelt to leave Nicole her stone angel, I wondered and hoped that mom and Nicole had gotten a chance to meet and that among all the people there to welcome mom to her eternal rest there was also a little girl with a beautiful smile.