Sunday, June 16, 2013

Aldershot - Day 6

Today I went out to visit my brother's grave in Aldershot, the town where I lived until I was 3 years old.

The story goes like this. About 4 or 5 years ago, mum and I were talking about Colin, her first child who died of cot death, 16 days old. She was telling me about where he was buried and why she chose that location. We got out Google Maps and mum showed me on the map exactly where the cemetery was. It is located next to a railway line she said so that he could enjoy the sound of the trains.

Google map image of where Colin's grave is located
She told me how the children's graves were separated from the adult graves and were in a lovely quiet spot lined with trees.
From the entrance looking towards the grave (circled)
Looking from the grave towards the entrance
It truly is a beautiful spot.

So the opportunity came three years ago for me to visit the grave site. I jumped on a train from London to Aldershot and followed mum's directions as she had given them to me on Google. And just like that I had gone from her lounge room in Perth, Western Australia looking at the grave on the Internet, to standing in front of it.

I never thought I would get the opportunity to visit again, however, never say never. Last time I tried quite badly to clean the grave, this time I went prepared. I bought some cleaner and even managed to buy some flowers this time (Sorry mum, couldn't find any daffodils so I bought daffodil coloured roses).

I squirted cleaning liquid over and over, I scrubbed and scrubbed, and I wished for a tap and bucket to be able to wash off the grime that I was cleaning. And on cue, the heavens opened and a summer rain shower washed down the grave for me (and me in the process!).

Colin's grave as I found it

After a good scrub and God's rinsing
As I was working I had a little chat with my bro. It was strange I was thinking that for mum, he will always be that little baby that she held in her arms for too brief a time. However for me, as I chatted to him, he was a 46 year old man. A man who would have been, if life was different. I talked to him about how if he had lived, I would not be here and it made me think that I am living a life of privilege, I am living it for him too. Because he didn't get to live, I did.


  1. Oh Jane,,,,
    What an emotional piece....
    So incredible that you got back to visit....

  2. I am blubbing thinking of my own children and my own brothers. Very beautiful story. Gina

  3. We buried a ten month old baby this week and I think too of the life she might have lived.

    When I went to Ireland a few years back I made a point of finding my grandmothers unmarked grave.

    Fortunately my father had written the plot number on a shelf in the garage and we were able to work out where it was.

    I cried for the grandmother that I had never met as she had died when my father was six.

    These ties that bind us as strong as they ever were.