9/02/2008

Looking for Comfort

Mama used to say - "if Ellouise answers the phone, there could be blood on the floor and she will tell you everything is fine."

My cousin Jim called, "How are you Ellouise? I am worried about you."
"I am fine." I assured him.

The morning after mama died I woke up a bit numb and dreading the day which promised family meetings about the funeral and other such stuff. My family is not big on hugs - at least not that I can tell - and I was hungry for a few.

I burst into tears when I picked up sweet messages from storyteller friends who had read about Mama's death on this blog. Just the hugs I was needing.

Jim and I decided to go into Charlotte early - to visit some of my family. I knew they would be at home because I was headed to Elmwood Cemetary where many of my favorites from my childhood are resting.

This was a sunny Saturday - a football Saturday - the streets were clogged with fans going to the Virginia Tech - East Carolina Football game. All parking lots within blocks of the stadium were full. Tail gates were open and partying in full swing.














As soon as we drove through the gates of Elmwood Cemetary all that noise dropped away - leaving the calming buzz of cicada in the trees and a few bird calls.

















Elmwood is familiar turf - first from my childhood when I would come with Granny to visit Mama's daddy and then later, once the genealogy bug grabbed me, I wandered the paths finding folks.



We stopped first at the Cobb plot. This was an unmarked grave plot until the early 1990s when I invited some Diggle family members to contribute to a stone that would name all the folks resting here. Genealogy causes you to do things like that. The stone was laid and we celebrated a Mass at St. Peters Catholic Church where they had all worshiped from the 1850s until late 1960s.
My godmother, Annie Grose is buried here and I used to tell people that Aunt Annie
haunted me in my dreams until I got that stone placed. When we left I found myself thinking about bushes and plants.
This is where my father's parents, his grandparents, his brother Jack, his sister, Mary Cobb and her husband Pete are resting.

And then only a half a block away I came to Granny's plot.
I have been coming to this spot since my earliest memories - on Sunday afternoons with Mama and Granny. Maybe I thought I would find Mama here too. She has been looking for Granny for months.
Where ever they are I hope they are together and laughing.

Someone said to me recently that they did not understand why Catholics don't believe in "scattering" ashes. I do. I am glad I am Catholic and won't be scattered. I want a spot. Someplace where people can find me. And I know just where it will be -
Arlington National Cemetary, down the hill on the left side of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument.

Our daughter Gretchen is already there - holding the place for Jim and me.

Just like Daddy has been holding Mama's spot next to him at Evergreen Cemetary.