Last week I decided to go and try to find a grave of a distant relative at the huge cemetery of Berchem, just to the south of the Belgian city of Antwerp. I was definitely surprised by the size of this cemetery and it took me quite some time to locate the grave I was looking for. While I might write a blog post about that relative in my other blog, I already wanted to share something I discovered as I was walking between the many old graves at the Berchem cemetery.
Of all of the relatives I have been researching, probably I have been spending most time on my great grand aunt Alice Brusten, the opera singer. Reason I spent so much time on collecting every bit of information I could get my hands on is because my dear late aunt Annemie had asked me if I could help her find out more about aunt Alice.
The last couple of weeks I had spent quite some time on gathering information about the husband of aunt Alice, uncle Maurice Van Bladel, because a student reporter had contacted me to ask questions about uncle Maurice as he was preparing a report on forgotten Olympic Arts medal winners.
Now as I was walking through that graveyard I suddenly stopped walking as I saw a huge tombstone of the Van Bladel family. I walked over and tried to read the letters on it and there they were... The names of my great grand aunt Alice and her husband uncle Maurice!
I literally had to lean on the tomb to keep myself from falling down. I tell you, if you learn so much about these long lost relatives, you really start to care about them. And then of course I instantly regretted I didn't locate this grave while I still could tell my aunt about it... Yes, all that got me teary for a second. But as I walked away from that cemetery, I was smiling. Wondering how that just happened...