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The Graveyard Maid


It was a lovely autumn noon. Me, my parents and my granny were on our way to visit relatives. Everyone was a bit on edge as these family gatherings tend to be extremely awkward and competitive so they thought it was the perfect time to express their views on political matters which is always so delightful.

For these reasons I was rather annoyed when we arrived at the cemetery. Our final destination was visiting live relatives (although visiting the dead ones can be competitive, too, as our culture has a knack of graveside landscape design) but my granny also wanted to pay our respects to the deceased because she can't go there by herself too often.

I used this opportunity to keep my distance and to gather my wits before standing in front of the Grand Jury on matters of finance and romance. I raked the leaves and started looking about. I was pleasantly surprised to notice I felt at ease - previously I've always felt uncomfortable in graveyards, jumpy even. I started looking around, observing the old, shadowy trees, leaves swirling down. There are mossy graves with old German names, barely possible to read now, Lithuanian names (it's close to the border). Sometimes I would notice a name I have heard, probably from a local gossip. I was mostly enjoying the nature, though.

At that point, I think it's important to admit, I felt anxious and a bit depressed because of the visit but the graveyard felt to me like a park, graves - just like some monuments dedicated to soldiers. However, when we were about to leave, I approached a graveside, almost from behind. Suddenly I thought to myself - aha, a young girl. Then I got scared because I couldn't know it was a young girl, really. I rarely visit there and I have consciously memorized just our family spot, a few graves around it and some grave with, I think, Lithuanian name on the way in because it is so close to the path, you almost step on it and that makes me feel bad.

The more I tried to brush the impression off, the more persistent it got. I don't really know how to explain it. The kind of presence I felt was like... It wasn't even physical. Let me give you a picture here. You are hanging out with your friends, watching a movie, laughing about this or that. Suddenly someone says - oh, it's too bad John isn't here. And you feel it would be just perfect if John was here, like he is truly missing at your party. That is the kind of presence I am speaking about. You don't miss John's appearance - it's such a pity he's not here, the sofa looks awful without him. You don't miss any particular quality - oh, John isn't lazy, he would've brought me beer. You miss his presence, his being, I don't know what word to use. That is what I felt - like there was this presence of a particular young girl.

It wasn't threatening or anything, I just got freaked out by my own old self. Then I also noticed (or perhaps before, I can't place these two in order because maybe that directed my attention to the grave) that a candle had fallen off the edge of the gravestone and I felt I should probably pick it up and place it back. There was this little angel figurine, too, and I thought maybe that was why I decided it was a young person, although I am not sure I saw it from where I was coming. I don't know why, people just don't place angels on the graves of adults and elderly, maybe it's because jobs and wrinkles don't seem angelic and old people mostly don't like flying (sorry, couldn't resist a joke).

I approached the front and counted the numbers that added up to 23 years. A girl. The graveside was neatly raked, not just raked to sweep away the footsteps from the sandy soil, someone had even made ornaments in the sand in the traditional manner. I thought it was a perfectly good practical reason not to get involved (I was scared to do something awfully wrong and cause something terribly bad) - I didn't want to ruin someone's thorough work.

So I started stepping away slowly, having that internal fight with myself. I knew I had to go and put that candle back but I told myself - come on, it will fall off again when it gets windy, who cares, the candle is probably burnt out anyway. This isn't an abandoned grave, someone will come. The grave was cared for. I can't go around picking up everything. As I later explained to my friend - I was probably worried that when you go to Heaven, you still have to be preoccupied with order. I am messy and I have been persecuted all my life for that. I hope when we die, we don't care anymore about such nonsense. I don't want anyone to visit me in dreams telling me to clean up under my bed!

Finally, I, rather unwillingly, went back and placed that candle on the stone. I prayed to God to take care of this young soul and to protect me because I mostly had no idea what I was doing so God had to take care of me. And, as I walked back to the car, I suddenly felt really happy and warm around my shoulders. It wasn't the jolly kind of happiness, more like this - all is right kind of happiness.

And it stayed with me until we found out my cousin had lost a lot of weight which made everyone feel plenty of things;)

Thank you kindly for reading this experience,


P.S. My granny saw me by the girl's grave and she told us about her - it was some kind of tragic, unexpected death. I'm saying this because it might be that she had told this to me before (the girl had died several years ago) as the grave was on the way out and maybe I had unconsciously memorized it. It would be honest to mention this option.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, gingerbug, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

ronja (guest)
8 years ago (2016-01-09)
Thank you, Logan, for the kind words.

Although I didn't voice my doubts as much in this story, one of the reasons I wrote it down was exactly this uncertainty, lack of solid, definite answers that you brought up.

I think lots of times we experience something which affects us and leaves its mark but can't be definitely explained or justified. It is more of an impression than an event. It can have effects in physical world or it can happen to the world inside of us bearing no direct effects outwardly.

It may be understood better in time or never understood at all. But often it is emotionally and spiritually significant (for example, an idea that there is unseen world caring for us can change so much for a person), so we keep it away from others in fear of attack of some kind and this way we often don't explore the experience at all to keep it safe or to keep ourselves safe.

But when we explore the possibilities that we see and the other can think of, well... We become more of a Mulder'n'Scully and that's pretty neat. Sorry, I love X-Files. You are welcome to insert your own ideas after "...".

Here I'm not so afraid to share. I also thank kindly anyone who manages to read through my long posts and comments. I just can't seem to learn writing shorter:)
logan (3 stories) (222 posts)
8 years ago (2016-01-04)

Yet another well written account my friend.

Well, who knows what the mind hoards in its unlimited ability. Its possible you might have heard of the young girl and your subconscious knew it all along and recalled... Or perhaps it was the girls energy reaching out trying to calm you in a place that made you uneasy but was now home to the girl... All possibilities of course! I am glad it made you feel good.
ronja (guest)
9 years ago (2015-10-25)
Thank you, Seraphina, I am glad you enjoyed reading this experience and I thank you for complimenting my sense of humor.

I usually am a bit worried to express it in internet because it can sometimes go astray. As in the case of the "maid" where I meant to use this word because of both meanings - one in reference to the young girl I felt, the other in reference to myself "cleaning up" at the graveyard, that is, being a "maid".

I am glad, however, that my expressions of humor caused a misunderstanding regarding language rather than upset feelings;)

I'm not sure why I met her if I really did and I'm not just imagining things. As I said, the graveside was kept in order and she was obviously visited and I just can't see why (if that was the case) she would be bothered by the candle itself because candles really fall off all the time and I can't see anyone who has moved on (I felt her presence with much light so I assume she is not "stuck") and not even forgotten by her familly distress over such things.

After writing this experience down I kind of got the idea maybe she wanted to make contact to cheer ME up as this is what really happened afterwards. I feel like our age is relevant, we are both young adults. I'm writing it down here, however, this concept feels weird to me - you know, that some stranger with an entire afterlife on their hands would notice my situaton and care enough to make me pick up candles.

I actually could find out more about her death because my granny knows everything about everyone:D I just feel (but it's a feeling) like it's not entirely relevant. You know, as if you meet a person in a shop, you exchange jokes and laugh and don't go searching through old newspapers about their past. I don't feel like the encounter was about the circumstances of her death. I was curious to "interrogate" my granny further but something just stops me. Maybe it will pass and I will, I'm not sure what it is.
Seraphina (7 stories) (147 posts)
9 years ago (2015-10-24)
Hi, Ieva. What an interesting and nicely detailed story. Thank you for sharing it on YGS. You have a fun sense of humour as well.

My guess is that you were writing about a young woman's grave, not a young housekeeper's grave. The English word "maid" used to be short for "maiden," meaning a young unmarried woman or girl. The meaning has changed over time, though. It is now used to mean someone who cleans houses, hotel rooms, etc. You just meant a young girl, right?

It would be interesting to know more about the girl's tragic death. Could that be why you can still feel a presence?

Thank you,

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