Thursday, June 1, 2017

Visiting Family

Memorial Day--the original date anyway--was yesterday, so we went visiting Larry's family in Graceland cemetery in Kanawha county, WV. Most of his closest relatives are buried there, although some are in cemeteries closer to Olcott, where they all lived.

Graceland is a large cemetery close to a major highway, but like most graveyards it is a quiet and peaceful place. I found such simple power in these two people, standing and reading from the Bible and paying no notice to anyone else.

We stopped first at the grave of his brother Maxey, who died at the young age of 49 of a heart attack. Max was an Army veteran, and Larry had brought some flags for the vets in the family.

Next we found the graves of his uncles Coy and Otto, both bachelors all their lives, and both veterans.

Then we moved on to his grandparents, who are buried in the old part of the cemetery. I love their names, Finley and Oma (pronounced Omie around here).

And finally, our last stop was at the mausoleum, where his parents were laid to rest. I never met Larry's uncles or his grandparents, all gone long before we got married, but thankfully I did know his brother and parents. Good people all.

We had a few extra flags with us, so we put them on the graves of some WWI vets, a belated thank you to them 100 years after the US entered that fray.

My family never had a tradition of visiting graves, for some reason. Perhaps it was because my mother's family were all in England, but my parents never or rarely visited my father's parents' graves in Arlington Cemetery. It is not an easy place to get to, I suppose, with all the Washington traffic, and maybe that was why. But there are quite a few family graves there, and I hope to go back again to find them.

As for my parents, they are buried in the National Cemetery in Culpeper, VA, about 7 1/2 hours from here, so I get there only rarely. My son's grave is also a good distance, six hours, and I can't get there often either. It grieves me but I take comfort in knowing he's near his wife and daughters' home. And I am sure he would have preferred to be there in the town he loved so well.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Bbj said...

Your blogs are interesting and thought provoking-how difficult to lose a child-my husband did-takes a strong person to survive- please write more about your life moving to WEst Virginia and perhaps growing up!!!

Jenny said...

I grew up visiting the cemetery with my family. This past Saturday was Farmer's Day in Union, WV (Monroe county). Our family always went to the parade then had a picnic lunch at St John church yard, south of Union on hwy 219, across from the Indian Creek covered bridge. After our picnic we cleaned the family graves in the cemetery & put out fresh flowers.

We visited at other times as well. It always meant a lot to my mother & grandmother to go there. My mother grew up on a farm just over the ridge from the church, behind the covered bridge.

I left Monroe county in 1984 & have only been to the graves a handful of times since then. I think the family graves are rarely visited now. It saddens me some but I think visiting the graveyard is for the living, not the dead. It's a way to remember & still show love.

Now I visit the little graveyard a few miles from house to walk. It's probably where I'll be buried someday since I've lived here fo 30 yrs & my son is settled here.

Granny Sue said...

I will, Bbj! I write about whatever I am thinking about so who knows where that will go!

Granny Sue said...

Jenny, your story is the perfect description of most WV families, at least the ones I know. Graves are cared for and visited; that's why it bothers me not to be able to visit my parents or my son's graves more often. But the older I get, the less appealing long car rides are.

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