My father told me about as a baby just how many hours he used to spend walking me around in my pushchair to get me to go to sleep. His favourite place was the two graveyards around the corner from where we lived because he could walk round and round without being disturbed and could also watch the wildlife that lived there

Graves - Chapman PineAs I got older we would always visit them so we could take photos, draw, write and enjoy the peace that came from being there. It was also where my fascination started with the stories of the people who were buried there. It was not the newer plots but the overgrown ones, the forgotten ones, the ancient ones. Graves that had long been given over to nature with barely legible names and dates on their weather worn monuments

I wanted to know what their stories were, how they died, why had they been forgotten? Where were their descendants? These questions filled my notebooks as I searched for answers, looking up facts in the local archives, libraries and speaking to local historians.

My answers, however, never came from these places. They provided some facts but the real answers that I was seeking came from a different place. In fact the only place that they could have really come from to get the truth

To get to the real answers they had to come from the people who had lived these lives, who had been laid to rest in these spots, had the memorials placed to remember the lives they had once lived. Only they could answer the questions about  the families they left behind, their loves and the ones who no longer visited. Only they could provide the answers to the many questions that I had. Only they could tell me the truth about how they had really died

It was not until I had learnt to listen, really listen that I heard their voices telling me all that I wanted to know. They answered and then asked questions of me. Could I help them? Was I able to give them the peace that they had been seeking for so many years? Would I be able to right the wrongs that had been done to them? Would I be willing to tell their stories so that they might finally to be able to rest in peace?