Known only to God

Today we visited the Southside Virginia Training Center, which is thankfully closed. A century ago we would have felt some pressure to send Joe off for “training,” and he may have lived on a campus like this his whole life. Our doctors may have said it’s best for everyone. There wouldn’t be the services and reasonable accommodations we have today. There wouldn’t be a Mrs. Ridpath or any of the dozens of other people we rely on.

Many of the center’s buildings are boarded up and there isn’t much to see, so we spent our time at the cemetery, where half or more of the graves are just crumbling, unnamed markers.

I know society was much different decades ago, and it’s not fair to judge family decisions made then. But I can’t imagine life without Joe, and am thankful he won’t end up in an unmarked grave.

Training Center Cemetery
“In remembrance of those persons who were served and buried in the campus cemetery during the early years and are known only to god. May they rest in peace.”

Training Center Cemetery

Training Center Cemetery

Training Center Cemetery

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3 thoughts on “Known only to God”

  1. Wow. I cried. How many “well-meaning ” doctors convinced scared parents to send their children there? How many “Joes” were kept from spreading joy and love to the world? Unbelievable that we did this. Please, God, don’t let us continue to do these horrible things to people!
    Honored to be mentioned in any article that includes some of my personal heroes- the Tremblay family!

    1. This absolutely breaks my heart! Such a shame…I can’t even get my thoughts into meaningful words. 🙏 Prayers and blessings for all.

  2. Coincidentally I visited the same place on Saturday, before I saw your post. I too was struck by the sight of cement crosses lined up with no other marking. There appeared to be newer burials with flat markers on the side closest to the interstate that maybe listed names. I didn’t have the heart to look. Excellent photographs Patrick….you really captured the feeling there

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