My experience of Kensal Green Cemetery was phenomenal. I am so blessed to have had my daughter with me, videotaping the entire experience! July 8, 2006, found my 16-year-old traveling companion, best Friend, and daughter (all the same person) and I on the tube for the first time in our Lives.
We were visiting London from the States, and had several things on our agenda to see to fruition on this journey – Kensal Green Cemetery being of top priority. We set out on our journey a bit nervous that we wouldn’t know how to take the tube, but we faired well, thanks to the helpful people at the station as well as on board.
Arriving safely at Kensal Green, I stopped and bought some flowers and a plant for the two Souls whose graveside I wished to pay homage. I had very limited information, which I’d gleaned from a book, as to the exact location of this particular grave site, so after spotting someone who appeared to work at the cemetery, I naively approached her with my query. “Where would I be able to find the grave for Dorothy Ierne Wilde and/or her mum, Sophia (“Lily”) Lees Wilde…or she could be using her second married name, which was Teixara de Mattos…? All I know is that it’s in the Catholic section.” She asked me which Catholic section, and having no clue as to how to answer, she then naturally asked if I had a lot number, which I didn’t, so she then asked me if they were famous. I replied, “Well, not quite famous, per se, but definitely infamous.”
At this point, she kindly let me know that it would be mighty tough to find if I didn’t have a lot number. My daughter began to lose hope and said, “Yeah, Mom, this place is huge, you’ll never find it,” to which I quickly snapped back, “We’ll find it!” I hadn’t flown clear across the Atlantic Ocean only to be standing in the very cemetery of someone so significant in my current Life and not be able to put flowers upon her grave! Seeing this, the very kind employee led me to another employee whom she felt could assist me further, as she’d worked there many more years. I asked this particular employee the same question, giving the same limited information, and she got out a map, handed it to me, and pointed down the road a bit to three people who were standing together. She said, “See those three people down there? They’re guides. Go and ask one of them, and I’ll be they can help you.” Approaching them and giving the same information I had previously given to the two other Kensal Green employees, one of them pointed to Sam, an older gentleman amongst them, and said, “Well you’re in luck! He ougtta know. He’s been here longer than anyone, and if anyone knows anything, it’s him. He’s a veritable font of information around here.” I repeated my query to Sam, and without hesitation, he said, “Oh, yes, I was just there. Let me show you.” Well! I don’t believe “luck” had a thing to do with it, but to be there on that day, when he was there, standing in eye’s view…! I mean, it was just too kismet, as far as I was concerned. He led us right to the grave, and along the way, we learned it had actually been quite some time since he’d been at that grave, possibly a year even, yet he remembered where it was! Then he asked if we’d like to see some other Wilde family gravesites, as he also knew where those were! Well! I was just thrilled, of course, but we needed some time alone at this site first. He then graciously left us to our mourning and little picnic we’d prepared in honour of this event, and went along his way, telling us to find him when we were ready.
After our very surreal experience at Dolly and her mum’s grave side, we went to find Sam, who then took us on a very interesting tour of the site, locating Lady Jane Wilde’s sleek looking tombstone, as well as one that was deeply hidden behind trees and bushes…none other than the Marquess of Queensbury and his son, Percy. We learned from Sam that besides this former burial, one other undesirable (my word, not Sam’s), that of William (“Willy”) Wilde, was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery, too, but the tombstone was destroyed due to some reason or another that I put out of my mind.
We definitely got more than we expected in visiting this historical cemetery. It was an experience I shall cherish for the rest of my Life, and I feel indelibly blessed to have met Sam on this special day. He was patient, extremely knowledgeable, kind, and as far as I’m concerned, my Guiding Angel for the day.
Thank you, Sam, and thank you Kensal Green Cemetery, for the magical memories!