Country churchyard

I recently travelled west for a night of drink with a friend.
When I go home I always turn off for Laugharne to visit my nan and granddad’s grave. This time I also chose to go to Meidrim, where my granddad was born. I had never been to the church there even though it was where his mother was buried.
I had no idea where the grave was but I could hear an organ playing inside. I felt conspicuous and when I tried the church door I pushed with the timidity of someone who feared it opening. Although I later found it was unlocked, it did not budge.
A man approached and I explained I was looking for help to find the grave of Charlotte Davies.
“My brother will know,” he said.
Within a few moments another man was scurrying through the lichgate. He was very short and carried a black and brown dog under his arm.
He turned out to be the gravedigger and he had only just finished a grave. A funeral was due to start.
He took me straight to the spot where my great-grandmother was buried. It was marked by a tall but plain stone with the names of several family members.
The gravedigger said he remembered Charlotte, although he did not look old enough to have been more than a very small child when she died in 1939. She had run the village pub and a general store. He had bought sweets from her, he said.
There was a vicious crack in the grave stone which I suppose should be fixed or one day part of the stone will collapse.
For various reasons, I know little about this section of my family and so it was a strange feeling standing there.
I felt as if the gravedigger was introducing me to her, as if Charlotte and I were meeting.
Alone, I took a moment to look around. The hills which closely surround Meidrim were covered in a hard white frost.
The village I suspect has changed little since Charlotte’s days. Her pub is still there. The iron shack which was her shop is still there.
And at the church she would have attended is her gravestone. A little weather-beaten now, but something of her all the same.

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