My sister and I spent some time in the family cemetery today. We went there to assure that our mom’s marker had been installed properly and that there were no spelling errors, etc. It was perfect and we were happy about that. My great grandmother’s name was misspelled on her marker and that’s always bothered me a bit.
We spent more time there than we had intended. So much of our history is in that small space. Our great grandparents Leila and John are buried there. John died long before we were born but we knew Leila in our childhood. In fact, she taught me to crochet when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I have fond memories of her and I have many things in common with her. She was a quilter, I’m a quilter. But she was much better at quilting than I am. She loved crossword puzzles. So do I. She was a teacher. So was I.
My dad’s Uncle Geoffrey has an impressive marker in the cemetery. He was Leila and John’s son and he died in the great flu pandemic of 1918. Because he was in the military at the time of his death and Granny was his next of kin, she received a pension for the rest of her life. She gave ten percent of it to Boone Methodist Church.
And of course our mom and dad are there. Side by side. Even though they had divorced some years before Daddy died. Mom later regretted that she had divorced him so she declared to her dying day that they never signed the papers and they weren’t divorced. But they were. I have the papers to prove it. Aren’t families fun? My sister and I were both dry-eyed during this visit. We weren’t thinking about death, but about life. I still miss my parents, especially my mom. But for today we both chose to think and talk about their lives.
The closest either of us came to tears was when we suddenly realized that there was a homeless man sleeping in the back of the cemetery. You can’t see him in the photo above, but he was under the red tree. He sat up before we left, put a big hat on and avoided looking at us. My sister wondered aloud how he had arrived at such a state and where he will sleep when the weather gets cold. The mountains of NC are very cold in the winter. God bless you, Mister.