A volunteer has been cleaning centuries-old tombstones and sharing their stories with people

As the old saying goes, everyone dies twice. The first time is your physical death, the second is the last time anyone utters your name.

If the old saying is true, then Caitlin Abrams is giving dozens of people a second life by cleaning their tombstones and allowing their names to be heard once again. Abrams volunteers at four cemeteries and cleans the tombstones of people who died between the 1700s to the early 1900s.

Most of the tombstones she cleans are hard to read, but after a good scrubbing and dousing with D2, hundreds of years of dirt and grime disappear, revealing their original inscriptions.

Abrams' tombstone videos have attracted over 25 million views on TikTok. In addition to the cleansing, she adds a bit of history about the deceased and the era in which they lived.

Most of the tombstones Abrams cleans are those of women and children. She focuses on them to remind people just how common death was before the advent of modern medicine.

"Over the last few decades especially, death moved from something that everyone experienced on a daily basis in their own home to something that happens primarily to the elderly and far away in a hospital or nursing home," she told Buzzfeed.

"Of course it is absolutely incredible, the progress that modern medicine has made, and we should all be thankful for it, but it does mean that we, especially younger generations, keep death at something of a distance," she continued.

The graves are a window into a time long gone when children routinely died of diseases that are survivable today.

Here are some of Abrams' most popular videos.

David James Carter and David James Carter

The older David died at the age of 12 from scarlet fever. After his passing, his parents named their next boy David James Carer as well. He would die of diptheria at a very young age. The boys also had a sister named Sarah who Abrams covers in the next video.


David James and David James ❤️💔 #gravetok #gravestonecleaning #cemetery

Sarah Carter

Sarah died in 1865 of typhoid fever, a bacterial infection that killed a lot of people in the U.S. prior to antibiotics. The grave has a tragic inscription: "Our happy hopes are buried here." The Carters buried three children in the same decade.


#gravetok #gravestonecleaning #taphophile

Silas and Freddie Reed

Poor Silas died at the young age of 11 months of what's described as "lung fever," which was most likely pneumonia. His brother, Freddie, died almost a year after at the age of eight, due to typhoid fever. This cleansing is especially satisfying to watch because the tombstone goes from unreadable to readable in just a few minutes.


Will definitely provide updates on Silas’s stone 🥰 #gravetok #gravestonecleaning #medicalhistory

Fannie Blackmer

Fannie died at the young age of 21 due to tuberculosis. Her headstone brightened up beautifully after the cleaning.


Fannie Blackmer ❤️ #gravetok #gravestonecleaning

Olive Waite

Olive died at 21 in 1807 from what's believed to be tuberculosis. The stone has a beautiful inscription:

See how she sleeps beneath the stone

In death's cold shade her body lies while her triumphant soul is gone to join the songs above the skies

Methinks her shade appears to say "behold my relics lifeless clay"

The hour my fate, your oh maybe

Prepare dear youth to follow me


Olive ❤️ #gravetok #gravestonecleaning

Rachel Burton "The Manchester Vampire"

Burton died in 1790 at the age of 21. Three years after her death, her husband Isaac's second wife, Holda, came down with tuberculosis as well. Back then, people believed that tuberculosis was caused by deceased people who come back from the grave to curse family members with the disease.

Isaac believed that Rachel placed a curse on his current wife, so he had 500 people come to the cemetery where her body was exhumed. Her heart and liver were burned and Holda breathed in the ashes to be cured of the disease.

Sadly, Holda died anyway.


Rachel Burton, the Manchester Vampire. #gravetok #gravestonecleaning #newenglandhistory


1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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