There are few words I find more poignant on a tombstone than “baby” or “infant,” and the effect is strengthened when that word takes the place of the name. It isn’t, I now realize, always the case that the baby hadn’t received a name or been christened yet. The “baby” sometimes wasn’t a baby in the sense of being in the first year of life: some of the Collinwood school fire victims are listed as “baby” on their tombstones, and they were of school-age! Baby seems to serve as a shorthand, though, for all the lost promise that goes with the death of a child. Using that term as opposed to a name brings out starkly the feeling of a life cut terribly short.
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A Grave Concern by Ashley D. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.