The Tale of Dorothy and Cecil

Dorothy and Cecil never knew each other but their lives are forever linked.  I don’t know the story of Dorothy and Cecil but I can certainly imagine it. 

What remains of Dorothy and Cecil are two child-sized graves sitting on the forlorn Saskatchewan prairie.  Cecil was born first, coming into the world in June of 1943.  He would only live for three shorts days before leaving this world forever.  One can only imagine that in those days, in this place, he didn’t get to see much of the world he was leaving behind.  Before his loving parents would have even had a chance to really know him, Cecil was gone.

Dorothy wouldn’t come along until a couple of years later, just a couple of weeks after Japan had surrendered in World War II.  Just as the world was entering a period of cautious optimism, I can imagine so were Dorothy’s parents.  Undoubtedly the death of Cecil would have planted seeds of doubt in their mind but they would have welcomed their new daughter with all the love a baby could want.

Sadly, it was not to be.  Just three weeks later Dorothy was gone as well.  Two babies in a little more than two years.

As I sit on the ground near these markers to take my photo, it isn’t hard to imagine the family gathering around this spot to put little Dorothy to rest,  The memories of Cecil would flood back to their minds as they clustered near his grave, just steps away. 

Cecil, who would have been the protective older brother in life is instead tasked with the responsibility of shepherding his little sister into the afterlife.  Their markers have stood beside each other for nearly seventy years.  They never knew met, they never knew the other existed, yet here they remain – linked together forever.

I don’t know the full story of Dorothy and Cecil.  As the years pass, the living memory of them grows ever more dim.  Are any of those who stood on this spot all those years ago still around to tell us?  Sitting here under the vast Saskatchewan sky, it’s almost as if the Shaw babies are able to tell their tale for themselves.

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