Cradle to the Grave

In June of 2012, my dad and I went to visit his old college roommate who recently lost his wife to cancer. While in town, we visited her grave and the graves of many others. Stephenson County, Illinois is home to some of the oldest graves in the nation. Many of these graves mark the resting places for the men who served during the Civil War. Alongside them…lie their wives and children, and in some cases, the children precede them in death. InteriorBookShots-web I encountered old graves and new graves. Graves covered by the elements and graves where the dirt was still fresh. I visited graves that bordered highways and dirt roads. In most of the cemeteries I visited, my uncle (my dad's old roommate) knew some of its inhabitants including his relatives. Cemeteries often get a bad rap. Yes…they represent finality, loss and pain….but there is also beauty among the headstones. Family members work hard to keep the memory of their loved one alive.

[pullquote cite=”Joseph Hall” type=”left”]Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave.[/pullquote]

Some people talk to the headstones. Some do a quick hello and drive away. Some linger and enjoy the stillness. And some…never visit again. While in Stephenson County, I visited five cemeteries and one modern war memorial hosted by a local church. Each cemetery or memorial tells a story.

Each page has been hand-crafted to capture the moment of being in this place. In the book, I share:

  • How I came to love cemeteries and why I find them so fascinating.
  • My reflections on grave ornaments that help the family remember and deal with their loved ones passing.
  • A pictorial of fascinating grave markers.

I hope these words and pictures help re-define your view of cemeteries and the beauty they possess.


This project will be available in two formats: book and magazine.  This project will be available in February 2015.

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