Friday, October 8, 2010

Grave Stones, Tova

Grave Stones.
Tova Gold.


about the work.
I painted these two rocks for our twin girls, nicknamed Sunshine and Daisy, after visiting the cemetery. We lost our identical twin girls at 24 weeks, and never got to see them.

The section of the Jewish cemetery where our girls were laid to rest is just for lost babies. The standard practice in Orthodox communities is for the rabbis to "handle it" when a baby dies. My mother notified those who take care of it, and I never heard a word after. They don't tell you where the baby is buried and wont even allow the bill to be sent to the grieving parents, instead sending it to my mother. About four weeks after the loss, I thought I would die of heartbreak and needed something tangible to grasp onto so that I knew I had not just dreamed the whole thing.

I called my mother who told me the name of the cemetery and I went there the next day. It was so sad. Most of the grave markers were broken and faded, no-one ever visited this little corner and it just felt so .... forgotten. My little girls didn't even have markers on their plots at all. There is a Jewish custom to leave a rock at the graveside of a loved one, to let their spirit know you were there. I'd brought some small rocks from my backyard, but they felt so insignificant.

I came home and found these two large rocks in my in-laws garden. I cleaned them and spent hours and hours painting them. I added glitter and a thick glossy protective coating. I want them to sparkle in the sunlight and I want people who see them to know that these girls are not forgotten, and they are incredibly loved. I imagine the grass will grow around them and they will become like a spec of brightness on a dreary and depressing landscape. Perhaps one day I'll go back. I am a little worried they will be removed or vandalized, so I prefer to think that they are there, exactly as I picture them in my head, bright and shining in the sunlight.

about the contributor.
Tova blogs at OMG, We are Having Twins.  


  1. They are just beautiful. I can picture them shining out from the grass too.

    I'm so sorry you never got to see them. :(


  2. These are amazing! What a wonderful way to remember your daughters. So sorry for your losses.

  3. Beautiful stones.I'm so sorry you didn't get to see your girls. the stones are a lovely tribute.x

  4. Tova - so sorry for your loss - I am sure they know they are loved! xxxx

  5. The stones are beautiful and a lovely tribute to your little girls. The stones bring so much love to the little corner of the cemetery which will not be forgotten. I'm so sorry all the early decisions were taken away from you.

  6. What a beautiful way to mark their spots and bring some color and remembrance to your sweet girls.

  7. Thanks so much for the kind words! Being able to share these details about my girls is so healing...

    The truth is we made the choice to have a D&E rather than go through L&D, so we knew we would not be able to hold our babies. I just didn't think I could handle it at the time. Sometimes it is a decision I deeply regret, but it was, at least, my decision.
    With regards to the rest of the details, burial and all that, there was a sense of peace in knowing that I would not have to deal with the technicals yet I could trust they were being handled properly and with respect. On top of everything else, the last thing I could have dealt with was paperwork. I know it is traditionally handled that way too help the grieving parents... for me, I needed more closure, and visiting them there and making these rocks for them gave me that.
    Thank you again for your kind words...

  8. Oh Tova my heart understands all the intimacy you have shared. I absolutely LOVE the idea of the painted stones for your girls graves, your love shines from them. You are an incredible mother and have touched me deeply. With love, Janice


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