A Long Overdue Visit

If you have spent enough time here on FOF, you have undoubtedly read a post or two about my Mémère and Pépère (Nicknames for my maternal grandparents), and how much they meant to me.

Some of the memories I have as a young lad are the couple of times Mémère and I had visited Resurrection Cemetery.  This is where they would end up being interred one day. 
Some folks may think this a little creepy, but to be honest we discovered earlier that we both enjoyed visiting cemeteries, and we both enjoyed spending time with each other – so, to now have memories of spending time with Mémère at “her” cemetery is something I actually cherish. 
Mémère frequently teased me about coming out to “visit” them after they had gone, and being the good grandson that I was, of course I promised that I would. 

Another thing my Mémère would gush on and on about was how much she looked forward to the day that I got my drivers license.  She was so eager for me to be able to come over (on my own), pick her up, and take her grocery shopping.    (She was from the generation that women did not frequently get drivers licenses – as a matter of fact, neither of my grandmothers had drivers licenses.)

Unfortunately, that day never came. 

Pépère passed away first, when I was twelve years old. 
Mémère passed away two years later when I was fourteen. 

I still miss them very much. 

One of the first things I did when I did get my drivers license was go visit my grandparents cemetery.  I figured since I could not show up and take Mémère grocery shopping (on my own), that driving out to the cemetery (on my own) and “visiting” (as I promised I would) would be the next best thing.

Over the next few years, I visited their grave on a “semi-regular” basis.  I suspect it was about once or twice a year or so.  But as time progressed, and my life got busier, my “visits” became less and less frequent. 

Last year while I was running an errand, it suddenly occurred to me that I was within minutes of Resurrection Cemetery.  Despite the horrible weather (A sleeting, snowing, cold, and windy winter storm) I stopped for a quick visit.  It was then that I realized I had not “visited” since before I was married.  It had been over 16 years since I had been to the cemetery. 

I vowed to return when the weather was better. 



This morning I was tasked with taking some family members to the Minneapolis / St. Paul International Airport.  I was also scheduled to work.  There was going to be a gap of (roughly) three hours between the two.

Since today was Veteran’s Day, and it is adjacent to the airport, I decided that even thought I do not know anyone buried there personally, that it would be a nice way to appreciate the day by stopping by the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery to honor of the veterans who have served this great nation.

After dropping off the travelers at the airport and while I was alone in the car with only my thoughts (and memories), it occurred to me that I was about equal distance from Ft. Snelling and Resurrection. 
With all due respect for our veterans, I decided to visit Resurrection instead.

A short drive later, I arrived and wound my way through the cemetery.  I was stuck behind a long and slow moving procession, but about half way through, the procession took a left, and I kept going straight ahead – leaving the group behind. 

I made my way down the winding roads, and arrived in an area of the cemetery that I immediately recognized.  These were areas that Mémère and I had wandered around in my youth.  They stood out because there is a grouping of three above ground granite mausoleums that intrigued me as a child.  I made my way past those mausoleums, and into the vicinity that my grandparents were buried.

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Immediately, I recognized the crab-apple tree that Mémère was so happy to be able to be near. (It’s the shorter more “stout” one in almost the center of the photo on the left.)   

I approached the area, and immediately found their headstone.  (Second photo down, Bottom of the photo, just right of center)

It was apparent (compared to many of the headstones around theirs) that someone had been to the cemetery in the late summer or early fall.  (I suspect it may have been my mom.)

11-11-10_1209The gravesite did need some minor attention – there was some overgrown grass and weeds, and a wind chime that was hanging in the tree was twisted and knotted up.  (I can not confirm this wind chime belonged to our family, but is something my mom does (leaving wind chimes in the tree) – so I suspected it was.)

I pulled the grass and weeds from around the headstone, and cleaned off the debris that had gotten into the etchings.  I pulled the grass and weeds from around the in-ground vase, and did my best to repair some moderate damaged (caused by age) to the unit (which will need some significant attention next year.)
 
By the time I was done, it was looking quite nice.


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I was fully aware of their peaceful and calming presence!
A little video of the area, and just how peaceful a place it is..  (Not the highest quality, but you’ll get the idea)


While I was cleaning, I stumbled across two out of four larger aluminum tubes that I suspect were used for an older (and much larger) wind chime.  I set them aside - That was until I later found the frame, and the “clapper” (the part that swings in the wind and hits the chimes).  I decided I was going to take on “rehabbing” that wind chime as a little project for this winter.  This way, I’ll have a reason to return this spring!! 

While I was there, another opportunity presented itself to me…  Stay tuned for a post titled “Veteran’s Day – 2010

2 comments:

  1. This was a very moving post. I also had a very close relationship with my grandmother, and it pains me every day that I can not see her here and now. I try to visit her grave site as much as I can, but life interferes and I haven't been there enough. Excellent post.

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  2. Great post. I, too, have great memories of my maternal grandparents. (See posts "Andy" and "Pearl" under "My Faves" blog tab, if interested). I used to visit their gravesite fairly regularly, but have not in many years. I am rarely every near their area anymore, and there old home is in such a state of disrepair that going anywhere near it is too emotionally painful. A few years ago, I found my paternal grandpa's grave, whom I was very close to, as well. He passed away when I was 10, but I had never visited his grave. He lived out of state, but I found myself near his hometown with a half day free. It took all of that time to research and track down his grave, but I found it. Perhaps you have prompted me to write another tribute post about him!

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