On our last full day in Toronto I walked through the Mount Pleasant Cemetery which is close to our apartment. Spread over a wide area, containing graves of many of Toronto's good and great, I needed to find the memorial to William Davies with whom I had found a family connection. The office clerk looked up the details of William Davies (1831-1921) and told me several people were also buried at the memorial. With a detailed map of the grave's location I set off and, to my great surprise, found that it was very close to the main gates that I have often walked through these past days.
But the real surprise, and a very sad one, was to see that William and his wife Emma who lived 89 and 75 years respectively buried eight children at this site. Their names are inscribed on the other three sides of the squared memorial. George (3 weeks), James (32 years), Nellie ( 35 years), Charles (37 years), Samuel (25 years), Philip (23 years), Mary (5 months) and Arthur (29 years). Eight times the parents stood there in bereavement; William was there nine times.
There is obviously a story behind the deaths off Charles, Philip and Samuel for two died in Nassau, Bahamas in 1890 and the third, Samuel died in New York on his way home from Nassau in 1890. What on earth happened in Nassau to these young men in their twenties and thirties? What tragedy lies behind the stark dates?
What struck me was the care that had been taken to give Scripture references to each one. Some surrounding memorials had descriptive tributes. Not here - just plain Scriptural testimony that death is not the end! Christ is risen! In the sadness and mystery of short mortality this conviction remains the greatest hope.