“Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

We’ve all heard it said that “nothing is written in stone.”

Well, some things ARE written in stone!

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What will we do with our final opportunity to communicate, or what will someone do on our behalf, or what will we do on someone else’s behalf?

It’s very interesting to see what people choose to communicate with their last chance to do so.

“Communication” is a complicated endeavor.

Although, in these cases we have only the most basic formula for “communication…,” one sender, a message and a recipient.  It’s definitely a one-way street.  There is no opportunity for an exchange of ideas here!

In fact, I have to give credit to a professor I had in college for the whole concept of this article.

I took at least one “Communications” class with Rev. Dr. Randall Ferguson as a component of my Education, Psychology, and Social Studies degree program in college.

Dr. Ferguson was one of my favorite professors.  He made his class very interesting, informative and relevant.

These are the goals that all good teachers hope to meet with any of their lessons or courses.

And I’m not just “kissing up,” Doc…, I don’t have to…, I already graduated!

Anyway, one of our assignments included visiting a local cemetery, viewing the tombstones there, and observing what final messages people chose for themselves or their loved ones.

I must admit, I had not been a big fan of visiting cemeteries, but the assignment intrigued me, and it obviously left a lasting impression on me.

The grave site that touched me the most was one of a young child.

There were all kinds of flowers, pictures, toys and messages present around the tombstone.

It was quite obvious that the child’s parents were having a very difficult time “letting their child go.”

It made me think about my own family and my own children, and I empathized with these people, and it definitely brought a few tears to my eyes.

Their feelings were definitely communicated to me.

It was sad…, but perhaps it was a good thing for the parents to have some place and something to still come to and interact with while they were dealing with the loss of their child.

It just seems like children don’t belong there, and the fact that they are there is a real tragedy.

On the other hand, we have people who have lived their lives…, long lives, who have no regrets.  It was just their time, as it will be for all of us someday.

In these instances, we have some people who choose to make one last attempt to entertain their visitors, either visually, symbolically or by the written word.

These are some of the people, and the messages, that I am going to share with you today.

Well, let’s get started.

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This next one deserves some explanation.

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At first glance it looks like a tombstone with a “word search” on it.  But it’s much more than that.

What do you do if your wives keep dying on you?  Devise a nearly “uncrackable” code to print on their joint tombstone, of course.

Why Dr. Samuel Bean thought a shared tombstone for his wives was a good idea is an issue unto itself.  But it is definitely unique.

Bean, who was born in 1842 and lived in Ontario, married his first wife in 1865. Mrs. Henrietta Bean enjoyed her husband’s company for seven short months before passing into the great beyond. He quickly remarried to a woman named Susanna, who then quickly died as well.

Both women were laid to rest in Rushes Cemetery, near Ontario.  Why he commissioned a marble headstone with a 225-character grid that appeared to be a nonsense jumble of numbers and letters is a mystery.

Finally, in the 1970s, a woman living in a nearby retirement home cracked the case. Starting at the top left corner, the old woman counted seven in and seven down. Then, using a sort of haphazard zig-zag, she was able to unfurl the following message:

“In memoriam Henrietta, Ist wife of S. Bean, M.D. who died 27th Sep. 1865, aged 23 years, 2 months and 17 days and Susanna his 2nd wife who died 27th April, 1867, aged 26 years, 10 months and 15 days, 2 better wives 1 man never had, they were gifts from God but are now in Heaven. May God help me so to meet them there.”

There you have it.  I hope you enjoyed my collection of “eternal communications.”

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with some parting shots regarding life and communication:

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“Life [and death] is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon [and Gregg Erickson]


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Thank you, MrEricksonRules.

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