Honoring my sisters

Many of you may not know that I had two sisters. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to know either of them. Sadly, one was stillborn and the other only lived a few hours before passing away. She never left the hospital. My parents came home empty handed not once, but twice.

I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been.

While attending an extended family member’s funeral and visiting with cherished family in Ohio this weekend, Kent and I took a little time the day before the service to drive to Akron to visit the cemetery where my baby sisters were buried in 1949 and 1952. There is a section in this cemetery called “Baby Land.” In retirement years, my folks would make a pilgrimage from Florida to Akron almost every year to visit, clear the area around their girls’ markers, and cherish the tiny souls they did not get to know this side of heaven.

This area of grass, up to the tree, is called “Baby Land.” Sadly, although the grass is cut by groundskeepers, almost all of the grave markers — of which there are surely hundreds — have been overgrown.

The last time we visited was in 2016 when we interred my parents’ ashes at a National Cemetery not far away. In the four years since, the grass had grown over hundreds of those tiny markers. It took us well over an hour to find the first little Wallace girl’s marker. I had just about given up hope of finding it, but using photos from our last visit to guide us and through sheer persistence, we poked and prodded in the grass until we finally found it. I was shocked at how emotional it felt as Kent worked to unearth the tiny stone…. the only remembrance of my oldest sister. 

Each marker was covered beneath at least 4″ of dirt and grass. I once heard someone say, “Neglected graves are a shameful thing.” It makes me sad to think of all the tiny babies who were buried here in this place, sometime in the 1940’s and 1950’s, who’s graves have been forgotten over time. 

My sweet husband was so persistent in helping me to poke and prod in the grass until we would hit something hard and he would begin to dig down. His persistence truly paid off and I admit to shedding a few tears when this marker came into view. 

It took us almost another hour to find the location of the second marker, but when we found it, Kent got to work clearing the area. 

I think my parents would be so happy to know their baby girls have not been forgotten. And although I have not had the privilege of knowing what it’s like to have a relationship with blood sisters here on earth, I have been blessed by friends and a cherished cousin who have treated me as a sister and made me feel as though I belong to a “sisterhood.” Still, I’m looking forward to the day I can meet these two sisters in heaven. 

Until then, Kent and I will find a way to honor them and keep their grave markers unearthed for as long as we can. 

  1. Very powerful experience.

  2. Kimberly, This is such a sweet memory! You and Kent are such wonderful people and you honor and bless your family in many ways! This brought tears to my eyes as well! God Bless you both!❤

  3. Aww, Kimberly, this brought tears to my eyes. You and Kent are truly good and caring people. ❤️?❤️?

  4. Beautiful words and such a loving tribute. God bless all the babies!

    • You’ll know them “soon”, Kimberly and it will be a wonderful family reunion! ❤️

  5. Oh my, I feel so badly for your parents. What a blessing you were to them. My husband and I were raised not to far from Akron.

  6. A tearful and wonderful read. Searching, finding the markers, showing them to the sky again. ?

  7. Such a wonderful tribute to your parents and sisters. I can’t imagine losing two babies in such short period of time. My eyes were filled with tears as I read your poignant story.

  8. Thank you Kent for your determination in finding their graves. I’m sure it meant as much to you to find them. This well written story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us.

  9. I also lost a sister who was gone before I was born. She died as an infant. She is buried in a well maintained cemetery in Dayton Ohio (Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum) in what is known as the children’s section of the cemetery. While my experience nowhere nears yours I can and always did feel my mothers pain and loss when we made our annual visit to place flowers on all of the family gravesites. I have many relatives buried there and my sisters grave is always the first one I visit. I am thankful that the cemetery takes wonderful care of the grounds. Be well and bless you and Mr. Kim for your generosity of time and spirit.

  10. What a sweet, touching, sad, emotional, but very inspiring story of determination, love, lost, and family. Kent – what a man and support. I understand about sisterhood for our friends. God bless you and thank you for sharing those special story.

  11. Oh. So sad. We’re they blue babies? One was born the same year as me-1952. I told you that I would love to adopt you as a sister. You will be so happy to eventually meet them but you are indeed blessed to have a great husband who found them on earth.

  12. Not Eahe but Rahe.

  13. Be still my heart. What a wonderful thing you and Kent did for your sisters, parents. Your emotions are heartfelt by many who love you and Kent. Never change a thing about yourself! Love you! ❤️?

  14. Kimberly so sorry for the loss. For years I smocked dresses for the stillborns at our regional hospital. Making about 2500 of them. They do not want them anymore. I cannot imagine hard it would have been on your mom to bury 2 babies. It is wonderful that you and your husband have uncover their graves so they can be seen. Hugs to you as you remember your sisters. Pattie Davidson

  15. I wish I lived closer to the cemetary. It would be an honor to help uncover the graves of the other babies there and help maintain your sisters’ markers. This was a very touching and emotional moment you have shared with total strangers who now feel ever closer to you and Kent. Bless you and your family.

  16. Just know that you have many sisters of the ❤.

  17. So touching, Kimberly. It is very important, and comforting to the soul, to locate the final resting place of our family members gone long ago, even if there was no earthly contact with them.
    I have two similar stories. Being immigrants, all of my ancestors are buried in Germany. My great grandfather on my dad’s side died in WWI at the age of 42, and is buried in a German cemetery in Belgium. My dad knew where. On a trip to France/Belgium we were able to locate his grave and honor his life. I have been the only family member to visit his grave, and I feel a very close connection to him. We visited again about 10 years later on another trip, and I hope to do it again.
    My mother’s father suffered with TB and died at the age of 32 in a sanitarium some distance from their home. My grandmother could not afford to bring him home for burial. My mother was very young and didn’t know what happened to him after his death. I promised her, on her deathbed, that I would find out. After making many contacts I was able to find out that he indeed had a dignified, Christian burial. The stress of wondering for so many years was lifted in an instant, and tears of joy flowed. I can’t wait to meet both of these men in heaven!
    A thought I had about your sister’s graves, is that it would be a great Eagle Scout project to locate and expose the graves, and clean up Baby Land. Don’t know if the Boy Scouts are still doing things like that but might be worth checking out. Blessings…

  18. What a wonderful remembrance of your sisters. We are so blessed with the husbands God has given us. I always love hearing about your family and knowledge!

  19. Your story is a powerful testament to all sisters or brothers who never knew their siblings. Perhaps you can contact the cemetery owners and start a campaign to restore that area so that others may come to visit their children and siblings.

  20. Kimberly – your blog post touched my heart and tears rolled down my cheeks as I read of you searching for your sisters’ grave markers. What an amazing work of love! Searching, digging, loving and yes, allowing for love to overflow your eyes.
    I love the fact that the men at the celebration of life wore Norman’s ties. It was a wonderful gesture of respect, love and dedication to family and friendship.
    I have walked with many people as they celebrate life and praise God for the life. May your experience bring comfort, peace and healing to you. Grace and peace to you, my friend.

  21. I also have siblings who died at birth, now I want to go again and find there homemakers my dad made. will need my brother cause he knows the spot better than me. very sad the cemetery can’t properly care for the children’s graves.❤️

  22. Kimberly, what a beautiful blog post..I love ? reading all that you share with all of us! You and your husband are beautiful people inside and out!! Your sisters are smiling down from heaven for what you and Kent did for them. God bless you both..

  23. Kimberly, thank you for sharing this. So sweet to honor and remember your sisters, I know your Mom and Dad would be so touched.

  24. It was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it. And I loved what some of the ladies suggested. The boy scouts and contacting the cemetery. I sure hope they can find some of the other graves. Blessings to you and your husband.

  25. You can bring such love and joy with all that you and Kent do. I too have had this same sadness for a brother that I never got to know and I’m sure that’s why I have three sisters as my father and mother would have wanted to carry on the family name back in the early 50’s.
    Blessings My Friend?

  26. What a touching memory. I can relate as I had two older brothers, one I never met. The second child was premature and only lived five minutes. Sadly, he was cremated and there is no grave to visit. I hope to one day meet him in heaven.

  27. It is so important to remember our loved ones. My husband and I had a similar experience with his brother who had passed. We were able to notify the office of the cemetery who located it for us. The caretakers should really go out and repair all of the markers and keep them clear, especially in a children’s area as this one is.

  28. Oh, Kim,

    My heart goes out to you. I cried. Thank God that Kent was able to find their tiny markers.

    Eagle Scouts project? Absolutely Brilliant Idea!

    We went to the cemeteries as a family several times a year to plant and clean up. The cemetery behind the church in Quincy where my great grandmother is buried filled up from WWI and the Pandemic. The larger cemetery is near the Atlantic and quite breezy. It’s a beautiful place to walk because it contains many unique markers from people who worked in the quarries and many migratory birds. I remember all the tiny markers in Merrymount (still Quincy) that simply said Baby 1919. (Mom’s only brother died in the pandemic along with rows and rows of other tiny white markers. She never knew him.)

    I brought my son Matt with me to all our cemeteries from the time he could walk. His job was to find and clean someone who seemed neglected, to give that person one of our purple petunias and leave a stone on top.

    The hardest part of leaving New England and moving to New Orleans was not being able to keep tending family graves and planting flowers. I miss visiting and talking to them. I miss leaving my stones.

  29. What a beautiful tribute to honors your sisters & parents. So many graves go unattended or given another thought. God bless you both, truly special couple.

  30. Dear Kimberly,

    It brings me great joy to see you honoring your sisters by clearing their gravemarkers!

    I, too, lost a baby — a girl we named Annie, who was stillborn. Though we went on to have another one, Annie will never be replaced.

    People have told me to stop talking about her, but I don’t think they realize that not being able to talk about her is what makes me saddest of all. It is so unfair that I never got to watch her spit out a lemon or ask for more Cheerios! Would she have loved chocolate like her mommy? Would she have babbled on and on like her Daddy? I want to know! I wish there were something about her that I could label as being “my kid” instead of complete sadness.

    Now, I sew quilts for other moms who are going through the same thing and distribute them to a clinic in the town where I live. I hope it provides some solace to the women who are going through the unimaginable.

    KJ =(

  31. Thank you for sharing. When we took my sister’s youngest son to visit the grave of our grandfather, we shed tears for the years that he missed, never meeting his great-grandchildren.

  32. Being young and loosing our twins on Christmas morning, with no one telling us how the choices we had would be handled, we did not take our boys home. I’m glad you you were able to clear their markers and your folks had that place to remember their dreams.

  33. You have made us aware of a reality in life. To be sure the Wallace babies are gone but not forgotten. What a touching picture with Kent clearing the baby gravesite.

  34. What a wonderful tribute to your parents and sisters. You are truly a sister to so many quilters Kimberly and they to you. I have taken classes from you and you have the personality of an Angel. God bless your husband for helping you do this.

  35. Kim,
    If you are not aware, there is a site named Find A Grave at findagrave.com where you can enter a photo and information about the graves of your loved ones. It is a great help to me and to others in remembering loved ones and also finding ancestors. Perhaps you’d like to create a memorial for each of your sisters and your parents.

  36. Dear Kimberly,
    Thank you for posting this tender true story of finding the baby grave markers. Your two sisters and you would have been life long “dear hearts”. Please tell your husband, too – your persistence makes a difference. Really touched my heart! Sincerely, Jan K.

  37. What a touching and beautiful story! And more proof the Mr. Kim is one of the greatest guys around! Your oldest sister was born the same year as me. You’ll be reunited in Heaven one of these days ad I hope we will all get to see each other there. The relatives on my Dad’s side, back to my great-great grandfather are all buried in a little country cemetery about 10 miles from here. It’s so peaceful there! The only problem is that names are wearing off the headstones and we now have to guess where my great-great grandparents are. My daughter and I took her kids to see the cemetery where their great-great grandparents (my grandparents) are buried and they were really touched by the experience.

  38. I’m so sorry you didn’t meet your sisters. I, too, have a sister I never met, and a sister I lost when I was 12, I really didn’t know her, either, as she was 5 years older than I was. I have spent my entire life trying to find a “sister” relationship. Luckily I have a friend that is as close as any sister could be. Bless you for taking care of their stones and remembering them. I will do the same, when my mother is gone. Prayers!

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