In 1867, when she was just 17, Caroline Christine Walter died from tuberculosis. Devastated, her sister Selma commissioned a sculptor to carve an eerily beautiful memorial to remember her by.
The grave shows Walter as if she had just fallen asleep while reading. In the open book, visitors can read â€œIt is certain in Godâ€™s wisdom that from our dearest loved one we must part.â€
The grave itself is rather ordinary, as it isnâ€™t unusual for a family member to create an ornate memorial to a lost loved one. However, whatâ€™s unusual is the fact that fresh flowers have inexplicably appeared on the grave every day since Walter died.
Walter has been dead for more than 150 years, and her sister and all the people that knew her in life have long since died as well. Still, each day, rain or shine, even on holidays, there are fresh new flowers carefully tucked beneath the statueâ€™s arm.
Over 50,000 flowers have been placed on the grave of a young girl who died almost 145 years ago in Freiburg, Germany. Who places them there, no one knows. Every morning, under summerâ€™s sun and winterâ€™s snow, a fresh flower has been placed on the grave of Caroline Christine Walter. …
In the early summer of 1867, just before she turned 17, Caroline contracted tuberculosis and passed away a few short weeks later.
Her sister Selma wanted to create a lasting memorial and asked a sculptor to cast a grave in her sisterâ€™s likeness. The life size and life like sculpture depicts Caroline just as if she fell asleep reading in her own bed.
The grave was placed against one of the outer walls of the Alter Friedhof cemetery which had already been in existence for more than 200 years. It was a peaceful setting, made more peaceful by the beautiful grave of the sleeping girl.
It was soon after Caroline passed away, and the flowers on her grave from the funeral were wilting, that her sister began to notice that a fresh flower was always on the grave when she visited. Months and then years passed and still no one had discovered who might be leaving the flowers. The cemetery groundskeepers could provide no clue but perhaps they were sworn to secrecy.
Caroline had never mentioned any young man in particular to Selma however legends abound. The most common one is that the flowers were placed by one of Carolineâ€™s tutors who had fallen in love with her and mourned her passing for the rest of his life. But, even had he lived to be a hundred, he still would have died more than half a century ago. Did he leave instructions for future generations to carry on the tradition?
Today, only a little sunlight filters through the boughs of the trees overhead, moss has grown over the place where she sleeps but every morning since that fateful day in 1867, a fresh flower blooms on Carolineâ€™s grave.
Does it really matter who is putting flowers on her grave? I found to this to be quite beautiful. Most of us will live out our lives, die and be forgotten to time in 100 years the fact that Caroline’s story is still being told means something, the fact that she still gets flowers on her grave a century later means more. She was so loved in life that her sister made her lasting memory one of peaceful repose, and she is still loved and still remembered. We should all be so fortunate to be so loved that even when we are gone we are still mourned. I’m from the US, but if I, by fate or design, ever make it to Germany I would like to put flowers on her grave as well. Sleep well Caroline you are not forgotten.
“Let us endeavor to live so that when we go to die, even the undertaker will be sorry” – Mark Twain
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