The Tombstone Prayer | Teen Ink

The Tombstone Prayer

December 27, 2012
By Honour SILVER, New London, Connecticut
Honour SILVER, New London, Connecticut
9 articles 0 photos 181 comments

Favorite Quote:
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ~John 15:13

"Give me liberty or give me death!" ~Patrick Henry

Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the Lord, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" ~ Thomas Jefferson

I kneel down on the grass in front of the tomb stone. The flowers in my hands slip to the ground. I place my hand on top of the smooth stone, tears stream down my face like they did the first time we laid him to rest. My vision is bleary as I stare at the stone, the writing is hard to read due to the tears blurring my vision. I know what it says though.





US Marines

December 13, 1990
November 5, 2009
Beloved Son and Brother

I've been here so many times I know the inscription by heart. I cry harder, it wasn't fair! He was so young, so brave. His life had been snatched away from him in the prime of his youth. Is press my forehead against the hand on the grave stone.
"God, dear God, I don't understand why you took him. He was so young, I know he loved you God, he loved you with all his heart, but why? Why? did you take him?" I murmur my tearful prayer, not looking up to the great blue highway of the clear autumn sky. He would've loved today, it was so beautiful and peaceful. I take a deep breath,

"God, I wish you hadn't taken him, he was a such a light down here, it’s dark without him, God. I loved him, he was the best brother any sister can ask for. Little Joseph didn't even get to meet him, he's always asking about the older brother who died when he was a baby though. And mom, she's not the same, more distant, quiet, she cries if we even mention Nathaniel. Dad, well he pretends to be OK, he tries to be strong, I hear cry though, God. I hear him cry when he's out in the garage and thinks no one is around."

I pause in my prayer to take a shaky breath and look up at the sky, it was still clear, I'm not crying anymore, I wipe the water from my eyes and stand up. I study the sky for a while longer, it reminds me of him. Not in the harsh painful way the empty chair at the table does, or the quiet locked room at the end of the hall does. This reminds me of him in a gentle soft way, it calms me. I take a couple more shaky breaths and look back down at the tomb.

"I may not understand why you took him, God, I may not like it. So be it, we don't have to understand your plans. I'm not asking for him back God, I know that can't happen. He-" I choke on my words as I feel myself about to cry again, "He died bravely, and he died for what he believed in. Now he's enjoying his sweet escape from this earth. But God, please, I want my family to be comforted, I want them to be happy again. Please God, please." I finish in a whisper.

Bending down I fix the flowers on the grave so the look better than I straighten and look at the tomb again, reading the inscription I know my heart one more time. "Good bye, Nathaniel." I whisper, than I turn and walk down the cemetery path, away from my brothers grave.

The author's comments:
I wrote this for a competition. It's about a girl who's brother died in combat. No I have never lost a family member to war, but it's important that the sacrifices of our military families is emphasized as well as the sacrifices of our military men and women.

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This article has 4 comments.

on Sep. 29 2013 at 2:09 pm
RoyalCorona SILVER, Grand Rapids, Michigan
7 articles 0 photos 290 comments

Favorite Quote:
All of us fave failed to match our dream of perfection. I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. -William Faulkner

This was very beautiful and heartbreaking! Great job!

CammyS SILVER said...
on Feb. 24 2013 at 6:20 pm
CammyS SILVER, Papillion, Nebraska
5 articles 0 photos 188 comments

Favorite Quote:
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
H. G. Wells
Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
Mark Twain

I really loved her prayer, I thought the way she spoke was really life like and true. It was a really good piece with soul and feeling, but if you are going for the "perfectionist" rating, I feel that some of the sentences at the beginning like "I place my hand on toop of the smooth stone, tears stream down my face like they did the first time we laid him to rest." was a little bit "off". It might just be me, but I would change stream to streaming or divide up the sentence. All in all, a really, really good, heartfelt piece.

on Jan. 15 2013 at 11:09 am
GuardianoftheStars GOLD, Shongaloo, Louisiana
17 articles 0 photos 495 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let's tell young people the best books are yet to be written; the best painting, the best government, the best of everything is yet to be done by them."
-John Erslcine

Like said, this is really good, and my I add breathtaking. 

on Jan. 8 2013 at 7:33 pm
TaylorWintry DIAMOND, Carrollton, Texas
72 articles 0 photos 860 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." - Unknown

Beautiful! Absolutely fantastic. Depite a few grammatical errors and misspelled words, this really spoke to my heart. I do think that her little prayer changed a bit abruptly, but that may just be how quickly I read it! Great job! (: