Yesterday, my great-aunt and I went to put flowers on my great-grandmother’s—her mother’s—grave at an old cemetery on Central Avenue in Compton. She wanted to go yesterday to avoid the crowds speeding to Sunday brunch and to avoid missing her beloved Lakers on the tube.
We had a little trouble finding it because we hadn’t been out there in over a year. All tombstones look alike (these are the type that are embedded in the ground).
Finally, we found it and it wasn’t all overgrown with weeds and crabgrass the way it has been on occasion. The entire cemetery was much better maintained than it had been in previous years. I think that the ownership has changed. (I hope Granny's still buried there.)
There was the simple stone: “Beloved Mother, Maggie Mayes, 1889-1966.” We had to dig around and soak the cup to get the mud out of it. My aunt had cut some roses from her garden and we set them in the cup. She held back one rose to put on the grave stone of her older sisters--buried together in another plot some distance away, but much easier to find—in the same cemetery.
I wonder what it must be like for my eighty-two-year-old aunt, with so many of those she loves gone: her parents, most of her seven siblings (one left: my grandmother), her ex-husband and most of her old friends. I wonder what it must be like for her to know that she’s beyond her own promised three score and seven.
You’d think, however, that with all of that death surrounding us that we’d be a little depressed. But, as always, we come away from “visiting” Granny in high spirits, laughing and joking. Funny, how that works.