Between Christmas and New Year 2011 we had the opportunity to visit with Kay’s brother Gordon, his wife Lisa, and her mother and father in Asheville NC. It was a very nice if too short visit.
On the way back we decided to take a route back through Morganton NC. I forgot during the funeral arrangements for Dad how difficult it was to find any information on the cemetery that He, Grandmother, and Grandfather were buried. After driving around for a bit and not recalling exactly how to get there, many failed searches on Google on an Android phone with poor internet connection we failed to find Forest Hill Cemetery! I eventually recalled that I had to call the City of Morganton phone number. The connected me directly with someone at the cemetery. I was informed the cemetery is located on the corner of Huffman Street and Valdese Avenue. With that information Google Maps showed we were less than two miles away. It only took us minutes to find the grave site.
In the hopes that I never have to go through that frustration again:
Kay asked me if I thought I could handle having Eli there, and the way she asked made it clear that she was also questioning whether Eli should find out that my dad had passed. Up to this point he had not asked and we had not shared. I said I was pretty sure I could handle it, and that I figured it was as good a time as any to try and explain the situation.
Dad’s marker was installed and Grandmothers updated and cleaned. (I have pictures that I will make sure to get uploaded and added to this post.) When they re-installed Grandmothers marker some of the grounds dirt/clay had hit the marker. I spent the better part of 10 minutes trying to clean it with minimal success. Next time I bring more supplies.
Eli started asking questions. Kay and I explained to him that the first marker was of my Grandfather. “Yes Eli, he died and is buried right there. “We had a discussion about why we bury our dead. He was very subdued. I explained how Grandfather died. Then we repeated the conversation with Grandmother’s marker.
Eli looked up at me with very solemn eyes when I explained “This is where my Father is buried.” I was not sure what to expect, but he took the information, seemed to process it a bit, and then started on another tangent.
Kay took him to go look at other markers in the Cemetery while I worked on cleaning Grandmother’s marker. I took a number of pictures. While I was putting away the camera at the car I looked back and Eli was standing at the Jones grave site head bowed. When he and Kay got to the car he had tears running down his face. We got him in the car and explained that it was quite alright to be sad.
Later in that trip while Eli and I were washing hands at a pit stop Eli confided in me. “Daddy, do you know why I was crying earlier? I do not like it when people that I know die!”
I told him “So, do I son. So do I.”