Names, Stones, Reflections

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter **Krystal is named after my sister, who died in 1983 at age 17 after a 2 year battle with cancer.

We have photos of my sister Krystal around the house, and she comes up in conversation occasionally with my mother. My mother always uses my sister’s middle name along with her name, as in Krystal Lee for my sister, as opposed to Krystal Jane for my daughter. But the funny thing is, I don’t need to hear those distinctions as I always know which Krystal she is referring to.

My girls have been asking to visit my sister’s grave for awhile. It’s not a place I visit often – I don’t happen to believe that there is anything of “her” there. But they’d been asking, and we didn’t have anything else on the docket, so we made the 30 minute drive to visit.

One of the reasons I first shied away from naming my daughter for my sister was this gravestone. I didn’t want my daughter to feel weird about seeing her name on a gravestone. The two Krystals do have different middle names, but my sister’s middle name does not appear on her stone. This was Krystal’s first look at it, and my first visit with her. And remarkably enough, the name on the gravestone was my sister’s name. Yes, the letters and arrangement are identical to my daughter’s, but that wasn’t my daughter’s name. Despite identical spellings and pronunciations, the names are as distinct to me as the people who own them.

There were flowers, some pink geraniums, planted at the grave. One of my sister’s friends must be keeping that up, as my step-sister’s grave, which is a short walk away, was unadorned. Because this cemetery is in the town where I grew up, many of the names are familiar to me – parents of classmates, even some classmates themselves, are now buried there. It was a much more reflective visit than I expected it to be.

**Krystal is a pseudonym


2 responses to “Names, Stones, Reflections

  1. I was named after my father’s baby sister who died at 2 months old from a ‘hole in the heart.’ It’s a condition that is easily treatable now, but not in 1943. I saw her gravestone when I was about 10. It had her full name (which is mine), and her date of death was the same month as my date of birth. So it was very disconcerting to me. By that time my father had died too, which probably contributed to the fact that I found it so weird. And I really wasn’t prepared to see it either, as Krystal was. It was just a “oh, let’s go visit the cemetery while we’re here” sort of thing.

    I apologize for being out of pocket. I haven’t read blogs in a week I don’t think. We’re still battling the great flea onslaught of 2008.

  2. Belle was actually born with the ole “hole in the heart” thing – VSD. Hers was surgically corrected at 6 months old, but from the information I have, she was very ill and would probably not have made it much longer. You sure would never know it now though, except for the scar on her chest. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not, but she’s a bit on the active side! 🙂

    I can only imagine how weird it must be to see your own name on a gravestone. Krystal didn’t seem that bothered by it, but yes, I did prepare her for it. Both girls were much more interested in the mechanics of death and burial, which I guess is understandable.

    I am sooooo sorry about the fleas!!! I’ve been there (albeit not for many years) and it stinks. Not sure which is worse, fleas or lice.

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