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Please note that this post includes references to child mortality and epidemics because little Lydia read tons of stories about (typically Victorian-era) children who caught all sorts of unpleasant illnesses. This will be a general overview, and I will not be going into detail about specific characters, individuals, or causes of death.
The weirdest thing I loved as a child was visiting the pre-1950 (ish?) sections of graveyards, figuring out how old the people there were when they died, and trying to guess what might have killed them and if they would have survived if they had access to modern medicine. I was most interested in the gravestones of those who died young because almost everyone I knew who died had done so at a ripe old age.
Why was I interested in this? Well, there were a few reasons for it:
1) I’ve always thought cemeteries are beautiful and peaceful places to remember the dead. I liked seeing the pretty tombstones, reading names on them that maybe weren’t so commonly used these days, and pondering their creative epitaphs.
2) Getting sick made me anxious in small part because of how many classic novels I’d read about kids being disabled or killed by all sorts of diseases that can now be cured with medications like antibiotics or prevented entirely with vaccines. (See also: Beth March from Little Women, Helen Burns from Jane Eyre, and Mary Ingalls from the Little House books). It was always nice to go to the library later on, or maybe ask my mother who was training to become a nurse back then, and learn about how modern medicine has radically changed the world in this regard.
3) It made getting vaccinated slightly less horrible. I still hated needles, but at least I knew why vaccines were so important.
4) I liked being scared, and it was frightening to read lists of names on a gravestone who died one right after the other and realize they were probably related and suffered from the same illness.
In conclusion, I have a bit of a gothic side. Don’t tell anyone. 😉