Remembering lost loved ones during the holiday season…A visit to a local resting place overlooking the sea…

What a peaceful spot for the General Penguin Cemetery.  May all those who rest here bring peace and comfort to the family members and friends of Penguin, Tasmania.

The holiday season is upon us and for those who celebrate worldwide many find themselves entrenched in myriad festivities, purchasing gifts and participating in endless traditions.

With thoughts of those we’ve lost, we visited the General Penguin Cemetery overlooking the Bass Straits in Tasmania.

But, many with memories of heartbreak and sorrow for the loss of loved ones during the holiday season and other times throughout the year are plagued with feelings of loss and grief during these special times.

View of the bay in Penguin from the cemetery. 

Anniversaries of losing someone we love can be daunting.  I sense this feeling myself while easily remembering my father’s death in October, 1960 when I was only 12 years old.  All these years later the angst of that loss becomes all the more prevalent on that date.

How interesting it would be to know the history of those buried here.

For Tom, the loss of his first grandchild in 1999 and losing both his parents, his father in 1985 and with whom he shared a birthday on December 23rd, and his mother who passed away in 2008, remain in his heart during the holiday season and throughout the year. 

Penguin General Cemetery was established as a National Heritage site.

We all grieve differently.  Losing a loved one never seems to heal but as “they” say, “time is a great healer.”  In essence, this may be true but no one wants to hear these words during their deepest periods of grief.

There were fresh and permanent flowers recently placed throughout the cemetery.

The feelings of joy and excitement over holiday festivities are often marred by the sense of loss sweeping through our hearts and minds as the flurry of activities often helps us avoid thinking of loss.

From the 1800’s on we noticed many young lives lost.

Suddenly, the memories overcome us resulting in holiday periods being one of the most likely periods for depression and suicide.  Loss, in the form of the passing of a loved one, the end of a relationship or especially in today’s world, the end of a meaningful and pertinent career or financial security, merely enhances the heaviness in one’s heart, easily exacerbated during the holidays.

What stories could be found herein?

There’s no easy answer as to how to avert these feelings.  No method is cut and dried. We’ve found that focusing on embracing the spiritual meaning or special significance of the holiday while sharing joyful stories of those we’ve lost may be instrumental is softening the sorrowful feelings. 

Decades of erosion and weather left some headstones tilted.

The ability to fill our hearts and minds with the blessings we’ve been gifted in our lives today (and in the past) may ease an overwhelming sense of sorrow.  Above all, finding ways to give to others may aid in taking us outside of our own grief to focus on bringing a moment of happiness and joy to those who may need it more than us. 

This lost soul at the top of this headstone was born in 1829, the lower lost soul
was born in 1859 and passed away in 1877, at only 18 years old.

Now, far from family and friends, alone together in this foreign land that we only call our own for short periods, we still feel the love awaiting us  when we visit Minnesota and Nevada in five and seven months respectively.

There are a wide array of markers.

In the interim, Penguin has wrapped its arms around us healing some of our losses from the past, including us in her magical world and filling us with memories we’ll always carry with us.

It was sunny the day we visited the cemetery but the wind was blowing voraciously, chilling us to the bone.

In a mere 27 days, we’ll be on the move again, leaving behind new friends, a town we’ve treasured for its charm and unique qualities, adding greatly to the repertoire of memorable experiences in this unusual life we live of traveling the world until we can’t…with no home, no stuff, no storage and an ultimate sense of freedom and adventure. 

This gravesite is showing signs of many years of erosion.

We’re grateful.  We’re happy.  We continue on…

A statue commemorating the cemetery.

Thank you to each and every one of our readers for sharing this seemingly never ending journey with us (health providing).  Its through YOU that we find the determination, the commitment and the dedication in sharing our story, day after day.

A family plot of many years.

 Photo from one year ago today, December 20, 2015:

Danny, Samantha, (newlywed couple staying next door) me and Tom, outside our house in Pacific Harbour, Fiji, one year ago today.  We had just returned from dinner at a local restaurant.  For more photos, please click here.