Thursday, May 27, 2010

Remembering a stranger...

Just this past Monday [Victoria Day in Canada], my son and I decided to get out and enjoy a break from the rain by taking a stroll in our Cloverdale neighborhood. As in the past, we ended up at our local cemetery. Why? Well, originally, we went to see the Killdeer. We had observed a pair nesting near the cemetery entrance only days before. See previous post HERE

When we arrived, the pair was no where to be seen. It was silent, infact. The eggs that blanketed the nest were gone. Did they hatch since our last visit only 4 days prior?

I looked for signs of hatching...egg shells...anything. Nothing. I carefully scavenged the area surrounding the nest. Nothing. Only the organized mulch remained.

Disappointed, Joshua and I decided to continue on to the cemetery at Surrey Centre. This cemetery is home to Christ Church, the oldest church in Surrey [founded in 1882].

We walked through the cemetery for a while, taking notice of the fresh flowers left grave side by loved ones. Since the weekend was a long one, it appeared as though many got out to visit those at rest.

he tree branches were dotted with mini wind chimes adorned with butterflies...their chimes making gentle music in the afternoon critters were paying their respects...

For the most part, the landscape was pristine, except where this one beautiful monument stood. I stopped to take a few scenic photos of the grave stones and monuments when I noticed an area that was overgrown with weeds.
In the middle, was a monument that I was oddly drawn to, like a moth to a flame [to quote Janet Jackson...]

In this photo, you can just see the overgrowth where the monument rests [just to the bottom/right]

The monument...

My son began to read the inscription, which was written to honor Jennie Dailey, a 22 year old woman that passed away 100 years ago, Feb 9, 1910. Also, buried with her, was her son of 8 days.

My son turned to me, with sadness in his eyes, and said, "
What if she has been forgotten, her and her baby? Maybe her family is gone. Who will visit her? Who will remember her? Can we remember her?"

"Remember a stranger?", I replied.

I was touched by his sentiment. My son is 8 years of age.

"If we're going to remember this woman, from 100 years ago, then I think we should get to know her, don't you?"

That evening, we went home, and with a little research on the Internet, found information about Jennie Dailey [Nee Axworth]. She was born in Langley, British Columbia in 1888, marrying Henry Dailey in June of 1908. She was 20, and he, 21 years her senior. Two years later, on February 9, 1910, Jennie died giving birth to their first child. The son, Henry Jr, joined his mother, 8 days later.

This photo was taken on Jennie's wedding day, June 9th, 1908, and is courtesy of the Dailey family of Fort Langley, B.C.

Two years later, on May 7, 1912, Henry Johnson Dailey, beloved husband of Jennie Dailey, passed away. His monument is simple and rather unassuming. Not grand at all and in a different area of the cemetery.

Unfortunately, I was unable to turn up much information on Henry Johnson Dailey.

I know that all of this is not unique; that many of you may have experienced the same wonder or maybe looked no further than the inscription on the surface. Why I felt drawn to her grave side, on this day, I'm not sure. What compelled me to find out more? Why am I writing this? I don't know the answer, right now, but I do know that we did not see the Killdeer on this day. I do know that we walked away from this cemetery with something more. A feeling.

Remembering a stranger, 100 years later....


  1. oh my gosh, what a lovely sentiment...i actually teared up at my desk reading your post, and your son's simple request. we all want to be remembered.

  2. I just passed a beautiful moment reading your story :)

  3. Wonderful post and awesome photos Kimberley!

  4. It's amazing to me that you can find this kind of information on the internet. then maybe it was fate that you walked passed her grave and had the ability and will to find out about her so she would be remembered :)Kimberley the Bird at the top of your post what is it ?