I've had this on my "to write" list for a while. I honestly don't know why I feel compelled to write this, I just do.
My late father-in-law's ashes are buried in a cemetery in my wife's hometown. He passed before we met so as long as I've known her, I've been visiting his grave. The first time I went, on the other side of the path, was an empty plot of land with just grass and a couple of memorial trees.
Sadly, over the last 12 years, small graves have appeared. The last time I was there, there were 19. 19 resting places of children. Some you can see have regular visitors, with flowers, balloons and toys being left there.
Others aren't in such great shape. Overgrown with weeds, withered flowers and for one, barely anything left of the small wooden plaque of a baby who only lived a day or so.
Of course, this has always been a sad sight. But since becoming a parent, it's become a gut-wrenching experience. I empathise even more now with the parents who've lost their little ones and cannot imagine the pain of laying them to rest. Saying goodbye to someone who you've only just said hello to.
We take our boys to visit their Grandad whenever we're in town. The last few visits, our eldest has taken some time to stand with the children buried there. He asks to take a flower or two from his Grandad and place them with the children who have none.
These little ones are all alone, save for the single flower left by a young stranger.