As I have rambled previously, my mind thinks in terms of numbers and of yes/no answers. My thinking would have please the likes of Mr. Boole – just two options, 1 and 0, great.
This headstone is in Dunbollogue Cemetery. It is over a year since I took the photograph. In that period, my mind has thought of many fictional stories where the headstone could provide the ending to so very many stories.
Was the headstone engraved at one or more different times and who decided on the wording? Maybe there was another child who wished to differentiate between adopted and natural child, for pride or revengeful reasons.
Maybe his wife, reluctantly, had agreed to a deathbed promise not to tell the son that he had been adopted and the promise had gnawed away deeply so that when she was free to utter the words, she cast them in stone.
Maybe she was proud to have rescued a child from a difficult orphanage and put up with neighbours’ behind-the-back comments for many years that she wished to remind the neighbours that their sympathies at the loss of her son were known not to be heartfelt.
Maybe the son had organised the wording, having been diagnosed with a fatal illness some months before his death, and thus was able to give expression of anger to natural parents who did not care enough to keep him and expression of major thanks to his adoptive parents that they did not use the word ‘adopted’ in speech or thought.
I am happy to accept that none of the above and the other possibilities running around my head are likely to be true – but I remain struck by how one single word can give rise to so many thoughts and possible stories. If I only could give them the honour of writing them.
Normal (mathematical) service will resume shortly.
Thanks for putting up with my distraction.