If Only The Dead Could Whisper « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowIf Only The Dead Could Whisper

If Only The Dead Could Whisper
Published on Thursday, March 20, 2014 by

My daughter and I recently attended a graveside funeral.  After the service, she and I drove around the cemetery to look at the old and beautiful grave stones.

“Look Mom!  That one isn’t in English!”

She and I had come across a section that contained several Chinese headstones.  We pulled over in order to see them close-up.

chinese engraved headstone

These stones were breathtaking.  The history behind them leaves me with nothing but questions.  Were the people born here or did they come over from China?  How many children did they have?  Did they have a difficult life?  Imagine all the changes they saw over the course of their many years!

headstone with Chinese

English Chinese headstone

Father Fook Hong Wong died at 66 years old.  In his picture he is wearing a suit, which makes me imagine he built a business out of hard work and determination.  You can almost see that determination in his eyes, with what appears to be much kindness as well.

picture on grave stone

Mother Mark G. Ying Wong passed at 74 years old.  Why was her name Mark?  She is beautiful with her full lips, high cheek bones and lovely skin.  To me, she looks tired.  I see her as the matriarch.  The one who cooks, cleans, cares for the children and keeps the family together.

chinese woman

Who were they?  Did they have an arranged marriage?  Do they still have family in this area?

If only the dead could whisper their stories to those who pass them by.

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  • Hi Katherine! This is an interesting piece. There are millions of Chinese in the States, but I imagine few make it into a Christian cemetery. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like this over here, and have no clue about Chinese burial rites. Okay, now I’m curious! Thank you, Indigo x

    • Now I want to look up Chinese burial rights myself. I once went to an Asian market and brought gorgeous red and gold paper to the register. I figured I would find a cool use for it. The woman would not sell it to me. “It is for the dead. We burn it for dead.” I am not sure if they do that at any time of the year or on a special holiday, but I apparently was buying gorgeous paper that is actually to be used to honor your dead!

  • Ron

    FASCINATING post, Katherine!

    And this is yet another area were you and I share the same interest….cemeteries and grave stones. In fact, we have a lot of older cemeteries here in Philly and sometimes I’ll walk through them and read the grave stones; wondering who they were.

    “If only the dead could whisper their stories to those who pass them by.”


    Great post, my friend! Have a super weekend!


    • I would love for you to visit a cemetery and take pictures. I bet your eye would be incredible… not just grave stones but items left at them… old mausoleums… greenery….that would be great to see!

  • How interesting! I have never, in all my years, seen this in any cemetery and I have walked around a few. Now I wonder where they all end up. There must be so many living in the UK and America. I may have to Google this 🙂

    • I can’t remember seeing anything like this as well… It was so beautiful!

  • I agree with Ron, this is fascinating. I, too am interested in cemeteries and headstones and have never seen anything like those you pictured.

    I always wonder about the stories associated with headstones in general. Very recently I visited our family cemetery and noticed a headstone of a distance relative that died in the early 1970’s as an “older” man. I think he was 88 but on his wife’s side of the stone it had her birth date but not a date of death. While she was around 20 years younger than him, if she were alive she still would be pushing 110 years old. I had to call a couple of family member to find out what the deal was. Her heirs never had the stone engraved but she had died in the 1990s.

    You might already be aware of the site, but there is a website that is a huge database for graves at findagrave.com. It lets you do searches by cemetery, or by name etc. to get information. For example: by putting in the name of the cemetery my grandparents are buried in, it gives the name and burials of my dad and uncles. Along with their death certificates and marriage licenses. Obviously, the amount of info is determined by who has given the information so it varies on what a person can learn.

    • Oh wow Cheryl, I will have to look at findagrave! I remember going to it a long time ago to look at Alice Joyce’s grave. She is a silent film star that was my grandmother’s cousin. I had forgotten all about that website!

      How cool you found out the story about the headstone of the man’s wife. I wonder why the stone wasn’t engraved. Money, I assume? That is fascinating!

  • That’s fascinating. I love the pictures you took of the old headstones. You should write their story. You’ve already started asking the who, what, why questions. I’ll have to check our findagrave.com. What a great site to find a writing prompt.

    • Lauren… why don’t I have your creative mind. What a fantastic idea… to write a story about these people!!!

      • Please, please, please write it.

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