Melancholy was the atmosphere. We entered slowly by vehicle passing those who had arrived quite some time before us. They had their places. Some were families. Some stayed alone. They had no intention of leaving. In all due respect, we didn’t come to see them. We continued to the back. No one seemed to notice.
We made the turn and then back to the right. We got out of the vehicle. There he was across the terrace. I had never before seen him with this. My mother had chosen it especially for him. She would one day share it with him. We had to meander our way through those already situated being quite careful not to invade their spaces. They didn’t seem to notice. They didn’t seem to care. Deference demanded our conciliation. We arrived to our destination. He didn’t seem to notice but we couldn’t be sure. Johnny Edgar Hood August 11, 1940 March 30, 2011.
It was my mother, sister, and I. My sister and I had not yet seen the tombstone my mother had picked out. On the back read, “Children: Pam Keith Tammy” linearly. Pam was arriving with her granddaughter, Angel. Pam came over to join us. Angel, six years old, seemed to share no melancholy biorhythms. She didn’t seem to notice the others’ not noticing although she did exhort her grandmother on the way over to not step on the graves because “You don’t want to step on their heads!”
We paid our respects. Tammy wanted to visit a couple of wreathes toward the front. They were teenagers from South Effingham High School. She teaches the nursing program there and knew the kids. A rash of tragedies struck Effingham County claiming several of their youth.
We visited other graves drifting quite away from daddy. Angel had done well in occupying herself. I looked back to daddy’s grave and there was Angel. She knew the side her Pawpaw was on. She was reclining on the ground as she figured he was, only she lay on the grass under my mother’s name facing her Pawpaw. To her, it just seemed like the perfect place to be. Angel’s watching over Pawpaw.
I walked alone for a while. I said for no one to hear but I’m quite sure that it was heard by the “unincorporated”: “I believe.” For the Scripture says, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”(I Thessalonians 4:13-14) “While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”(Psalm 146:2)