Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: A Mighty Weight

This isn't easy to talk about, but it illustrates probably what many people have gone through over the years. For more than a decade, my grandmother and mother lay in unmarked graves. Funerals were expensive enough, especially in a family which never has been rich. Grave markers, at the time of my grandmother's funeral when my mother had to bear the cost, and at the time of my mother's funeral when my husband and I, already on shaky financial ground, had to bear the cost, were a luxury which neither of us, at that time, could afford.

For years I bore the weight on my shoulders of this knowledge, and of the knowledge that we couldn't do anything about it. Financial matters turned worse during the 1980s, when my husband and I suffered unemployment, I suffered medical problems and their attendant expenses, and we lost the house we had worked long for and loved because it was the culmination of our dreams. We were broke.

It took us 12 years to dig ourselves out of that hole. And after that time, I managed to put together enough money to lift off my shoulders once and for all the burden, the heavy weight, of the shame I felt because my mother and grandmother lay in unmarked graves.

They do no longer. The day I drove away from the cemetery after having made the arrangements and knowing that the markers were going to be on their way soon, I felt lighter than I had in a long, long time. And I was pleased to go back after they were delivered and see them.

Mary L. Reed
March 23, 1889 - May 28, 1978

Martha R. Packard
December 20, 1916 - October 23, 1980

This story, too, is part of our family history.


Anonymous said...

Howdy Aunt Karen, this is your niece Brenda from Texas. Love your blog, keep it up!

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

Hey, Brenda!

Wow! So glad you enjoy the blog!

How the 'eck are ya?