She began sharing her headstone-cleaning journey on TikTok and has gained a fanbase of over 2.7 million followers.
Divorce can be a stressful and emotional process for both parties involved, and it often involves legal battles over property, child custody and spousal support. The rate of divorce has been steadily increasing worldwide, with many countries implementing laws to make the process more efficient and less contentious.
Despite the challenges of divorce, it can also be a positive step towards a better future for individuals and families who are no longer compatible with each other. Alicia Williams was also in the middle of a divorce when she tried to find inner peace by cleaning tombstones in a cemetery, reports New York Post.
Since October 2021, the stay-at-home mom who transformed her pain into popularity has gained a TikTok fanbase exceeding 2.7 million followers. She explains in one of her videos, "I was in the middle of an incredibly high-conflict divorce and had to adjust to sharing custody of my children from Virginia to Florida. I needed a therapeutic outlet."
Williams' viral videos showcasing her meticulous headstone cleaning and scrubbing in Longwood Cemetery located in Bedford, Virginia, captivate online audiences by taking them on a time-lapse cleaning journey.
In each of her one-minute videos, Williams starts by featuring a grimy headstone, which usually belongs to someone who passed away in the 1900s, although some could be as recent as the 1990s. As she cleans away years of dirt and pollen, Williams provides a brief biography of the person, which appears as closed captions while the sounds of her wiping and brushing serve as background noise. Her videos' authentic audio makes them a favorite among ASMR enthusiasts.
William says in another video, "My first clean was my aunt Hattie, my great-grandmother’s sister. She was buried alone. Her family rests elsewhere. I felt drawn to her because of that. She died so young."
In addition to enthralling her followers with her graveyard cleaning, Williams also provides how-to advice for viewers who want to enhance the appearance of RIP plaques. She identifies D/2 Biological Solution as the most endorsed cleaning product in her tomb-cleaning toolkit and demonstrates her low-pressure sprayer, water, bamboo skewers, scrapers and soft-bristle brushes for potential grave cleaners.
She added, "Other than that, it just takes my time and patience and care." She credits her emotional healing from the divorce entirely to her burial plot polishing. She said, "The whole process of the last three years has been a metaphor [of] my healing from my divorce."
Her recent viral video—which gathered 3.2 million views—is captioned: "When I cleaned this one last March, things were really bad, and I wanted to bury myself right next to Maggie. I spilled a lot of tears out there that day. Seeing her clean stone now soothes my still restless mind."
TikTok user @desshipp commented, "I always imagine these people somehow seeing this from wherever they are and beaming with joy and appreciation." Another person @j2garnetheart commented, "Maybe that's why I like cemeteries too. The quiet, no one talking, can just be alone from the craziness of the world for a bit."