The Grave Caretaker

This past week I have dragged out my fake flowers I’ve been buying throughout the year; collected my tools for making grave flowers; and actually got them on the graves a whole day early.  I am very pleased with myself.

Flowers for James

Flowers for James

the back side

the back side

 

Through the years I have become the flower girl for several people, at least making sure there are flowers on the graves: Dad, Mom, the Wright and Byassee families, and now the Blacks.  Some already have beautiful arrangements on them; some don’t.  So… have flowers, will decorate.  Bags of flowers are thrown in the back of the old Highlander along with the flower arranging paraphernalia, and I’m off.

Flowers for Momma

Flowers for Momma

the back side

the back side

Of course, the real reason for taking care of the graves, for remembering the ones that go before us, started with our service men and women, remembering their sacrifices, their lives.

My dad served in World War II, stationed in Hawaii.  Not a bad gig for a war, especially after the horrible bombing from the Japanese airplanes.  He kept a leather album full of pictures from his time in the war.Dad's Army AlbumHe kept pictures of the scenery, pictures of him and his friends, addresses of his army buddies… well, here are some.

Dad and Combat

Dad and Combat

Dad in Hawaii

Dad in Hawaii

Dad in uniform

Dad in uniform

Some of the pictures I can’t show.  Those guys could get pretty wild on a hot, tropical island.  This next one is just a low-key example of some of the pics those army boys were taking back those many, many years ago.

Dad the Hawaiian girl

Dad the Hawaiian girl

Dad even had pictures in the album of family.  Things that reminded him of home.  Life going on without him.

Dad's brother, Harry Don, with his daughter and wife.

Dad’s brother, Harry Don, with his daughter and wife.

And last but not least, he had pictures of my Mom, someone he came home and married, the woman he loved.

Dad's true love

Dad’s true love

It can be a good thing:  remember those who have gone before.  An enjoyable little escapade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saying Goodbye

Mildred Lee Black

Mildred Lee Black

Steve and I have been busy this year with his mom.  A really neat lady. We’ve been moving her into an assisted living facility, moving her to the hospital, moving her to the nursing home for the one night before we had to move her back to the hospital to say goodbye.  Her family waiting with her day and night as Mildred waited to go home.  A place she was ready to go to, Sweet Beulah Land.  If you haven’t heard the song Sweet Beulah Land by Squire Parsons, go to youtube and find it!!

She had had a major heart attack in 2011 along with some other major heart aches along the way, and the joy was gone.  She still smiled her pretty, contagious smile at times, enjoyed her family, but more and more she was in pain and full of discontent.

Mildred 16 yrs

We had hoped the move to the assisted living facility would help her outlook on life as well as give her the daily help she was needing.  Her sis got her into a good doctor, and we had high hopes of a better quality of life.

One day we got a call that she needed to go the hospital, so Steve and I went over and got her and took her to the hospital.  Everyone loved her.  She charmed the socks right off of all of them with her wit and candor and interest in who they really were.  After all she was a nurse herself.  But really… I think it was that lovely smile that won all their hearts.

Mildred 1951

Mildred 1951

The lung x-ray was hanging in the hub unit of the emergency ward.  We saw the doctor on the phone, viewing the x-ray.  There was a large mass at the bottom.  And then they came in to talk to Mildred, to ask her what kind of life-saving measures she wanted taken if it turned out to be cancer.  They, of course, already knew.  The sweet doctor said, “Mildred, you are a miracle.  I’ve looked at your hospital records, and you had a major heart attack.  You should not be here today.  The fact that you are is a miracle.”

Steve’s little Momma had another heart attack not more than a week later, asking for no life support to be given.  She was a feisty little booger.  Tough.  Fun.  And a number of other descriptions I can’t begin to name!

Sassy Mildred