My cemetery visit routine is to spend some time at my family's gravesite and then wander around a bit. Almost every time I go, I notice the gravestone of someone familiar, that I hadn't spotted before. The parent of an old friend. A former classmate. A neighbor. Someone I went to church with. On Sunday, I spotted the grave of Mrs. Farmer. I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it before. She went to my church and was a friend of my parents. I loved going to her house with them. She old, even when I was very young. She called me Rosebud, maybe because I was lovely, maybe because she couldn't always remember my name. Either way, she made me feel special. She let my sister and I go crazy dressing up in old clothes in her basement. She was mysterious and eccentric . She had a real fur rug in her living room. I forget what animal it had belonged to, but remember it's softness. No one, I mean no one, knew exactly how old she was. When she died, my mom called to tell me. Mrs. Farmer had been in a nursing home for years. Even then, my mom speculated about her age, which was not included in her obituary. She had her pegged at mid nineties, but really hated not knowing for sure.
Spotting that gravestone was a real bonus for me. I hadn't thought of her in years. The best part of all was that the place on her gravestone before her name, where a birth year normally would be, was blank. Only the year of her death, 1997, was engraved after her name. I laughed so hard. My first instinct was to call my mom, she would love this. It was a lovely split second of forgetting that she was gone.
I am thankful for the places, moments and people that took me from childhood to adulthood. I am especially thankful to Mrs. Farmer for giving me such a great moment 14 years after her death. I hope that if she and my mom are together now, she is still keeping her guessing.