Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taphophile Tragics

During our vacation we visited, among others, the Oaklawn Cemetery in Sparta, Tennessee. It was next to the highway and we decided to have a look. It was a small cemetery with mostly small gravestones lying in the grass with flowers next to them. See photo below:

Oaklawn Cemetery

There was another section in this cemetery where people were buried with gravestones that were standing upright. Among these graves I stumbled upon a very touching grave, actually two graves:

The gravestones read the following from left to right:
Below the drawing it reads: Here comes the new greeter at the gate Chance Jordan Milton, always loving, always loved, Sept 5, 1985 - June 3, 2007. Absent from the body, present with the Lord.
Below the drawing it reads: Go rest high on that mountain. Wynn Heath Milton, we love you always, Sept 8, 1981 - Sept 21, 2007. Life is not forever, Love is.
What struck me the most was that these two young men are brothers. And for some reason they both died during a three month period. Another thing that got my attention was the amount of details engraved in their gravestones.  Chance's stone had a drawing of the gate to heaven and a portrait of Chance in a golf cart. Wynn had a drawing on his stone wich included a portrait of Wynn with the woods an mountains behind him. Further more there were a lot of photos of these men, that certainly attracts my attention, because I always wonder what people looked like during their life.

The backside of these gravestones were also quite impressive, engraved with multiple portraits and more text. These brothers were very much loved and their parents made sure that shows from their graves.

The basketball net was on the vast next to Wynn's gravestone.  The inscription 'Tennessee school for the deaf' belonged to
Chance's gravestone.
This walkmans, a real one and one engraved in the vase, were next to Chance's grave.
I had hoped to find information on the internet about the tragic behind this story. The only thing I could find was an obituary for Wynn Heath Milton: Wynn died at White County Hospital, he was preceded in death by his brother Chance Jordan Milton and that memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in memory of his brother Chance. So this makes me believe that Chance died of cancer, but it doesn't tell me why or how his brother also died. Anyhow, I think this is incredibly sad, whatever the story behind this may be. Their parents must be devastated.

For more interesting stories and photos go to Julie's Taphophile Tragics.


  1. Interesting and intriguing as well. I am also wondering how and why a real walkman was set there... it maybe was one of his favorites gadget. :D

  2. Clearly well-loved, these Milton brothers who died much too young. I've not seen a cemetery with all flat markers... each with a floral bouquet standing up.

  3. I haven't seen a cemetery like the to one with the flowers either. Whatever the story of those 2 young men is, its very sad.

  4. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful but sad and touching post. Their family must miss them so much. Maybe Wynn felt that he simpl couldn't live without his brother.

    Herding Cats

  5. Very touching post illustrated with great photos.

  6. oooh, they were really young! how sad....
    what a lot of flowers on this cemetery..

  7. It must have been beyond devastating to lose both grown sons (seemingly both unmarried?) in such a short time. This just doesn't happen that much in this century.

  8. Nice cemetery. Very American. :)

  9. Hello Nellies! in Oz the "flowered" cemeteries are quite common and known as 'Lawn Cemeteries' (a modern twist I guess to enable easy maintenance of mowing and a more affordable alternative? perhaps)
    Your beautiful photographic presentation of the brother's graves was poignant and very respectful. And yes awfully sad.

  10. Rose beat me to it, but yes, here in Australla we have lawn cemerteries with either flat or just slightly angled stones. However, our vases do not pop up as high as the ones in your shot.

    My guess is that the walkman is there because Chance was deaf. Maybe that was how he did his 'listening' in some way. To be deaf and to die of cancer at the age of 22 is a tough road to walk.

    You have contributed a terrific post this week, Nellies. The detail and the research makes my heart sing.

  11. The walkman looks so clunky now, doesn't it? but I was wondering, too, if that made listening more effective than an ipod. it is nice that it has not be stolen.

  12. Great post! Love the cemetery view on top.

  13. Hello I stumbled upon your blog about these two boys when looking at information on their death as I went to elementary and middle school with them not sure about either one. I remember going to school with chance and seeing him. He was always so happy. He was deaf of course and he always wanted a hug from everyone both his parents were teachers in our town! I don't know much but I can remember in 8th grade his dad telling us of chance having some chromosome problem. I loved seeing this as chances gravestone is so true he really never met a stranger

    1. Thank you for your comment and a little bit more information!

  14. My name is Glenora Milton. I am the mother of these two boys, Chance and Wynn. My sister-in-law, who lives in Oregon, found this post somehow while on the internet looking to find the date that one of them had died and this popped up. I was very touched how you had captured how very much loved they were. Chance was hearing impaired and MR and went to Tennessee School for the Deaf and loved listening to Gospel and Christmas music. We found out on May 3rd that he had cancer and it had spread to several parts of his body. He died June 3rd. We were devastated. My other son, Wynn, loved his brother so much and he had been fighting drug abuse for ten years, doing well and then not doing well. He was picked up on an outstanding warrant right before the service, so he missed his brother's funeral. We had Chance's first birthday in Heaven at the cemetary on Sept. 5th where we released 22 balloons for his birthday and they brought Wynn to that since he missed the funeral. He got out of jail on a Monday and died that Friday from an overdose. Wynn was very gifted and very good looking. He could have been anything he wanted to be. It was a tragedy. He tried very hard to overcome but wasn't able. And today is a sad day for us. One of Chance's friends, Caleb Nathaniel Kidd, died Wednesday of brain cancer. He was 25 years old. His parents, Randy and Sharon Kidd, prayed ten years to have a child and were never able, but were given the opportunity to adopt Caleb. He's been an inspiration for so many people and such a good friend to so many that knew him. I just wanted to thank you for your post about my boys and I wanted to say that the comments from others have been so touching.

  15. Dear Glenora, my thoughts are with you and Randy & Sharon Kidd today.
    And thank you very much for visiting and leaving your comment, it is very much appreciated.
    I am glad I was able to visit the cemetery were your boys are buried, it was clear to me from the moment I saw their graves that they are very much loved. It is so sad that they died so young.
    Kindest Regards, Nellies.


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