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Thoughts, Rants, and Musings


Jibralta
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Anyhoo, back to my story.

Later that day, my mom texted my sister and me: "Yia Yia and Papou moving to their new location today."

I texted back, "Oooh! I was just thinking about that yesterday!"

Then after a few minutes, I remembered the frog, and the old man, and the movement by the cemetery, and my vivid recollection of my grandfather's injury and illness.... Especially the frog, that poor soul who suddenly found himself lost, ousted, in unfamiliar surroundings. 

I thought, Wow, is that how my grandparents were feeling? Were their spirits hovering, disoriented, lost, stunned, as the excavators carved them from the earth? I felt very glad that I was there to help the frog find its way back to the green, and that it seemed so revived once it was restored to a landscape it understood. I hoped the same for my grandparents, if they felt lost.

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A couple other things happened that day which left us sort of feeling good about my grandparents. Small things, but good things. It happened to be our nine year anniversary that day. First, my boyfriend's friend came through with something that my boyfriend has been wanting for a long time. Second, someone left four puzzles in the laundry room. My boyfriend is a puzzle fiend. He puts together puzzles without looking at the box at all. So, this was a great find for him. Those two things made him feel like my grandparents approved of him. Last, but not least, this gorgeous lily practically jumped out and shouted at me on our way home from dinner that evening. I tried to walk past and ignore it, but then I had to turn around -- it was so big and bold and proud and waving in my face. I thought of my grandmother.

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I just got a letter from the car dealership where I purchased my current car. They told me that I have 13 car payments left, and that if I trade in my 2016 model I can get a 2021 for $67 per month less than what I'm paying now. I paid my car off two years ago. So, I guess that means they'll pay me $67 per month for 13 months to turn in my car and take a newer one?

 

 

 

 

I jest.

But junk mail is such an annoying waste of time and material.

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I finally finished The Mammoth Hunters and have started The Plains of Passage. This may be the longest book yet. And we're off to a pretty slow start. But I've gotten through this book before, and I know I can get through it again.

Jean M. Auel is not the most sophisticated writer. But in her defense, I think the main point of these books is to deliver information to the masses. Distilling her extensive research into digestible story lines was no small feat. So, it's not a big deal to me if her prose is a little uneven. The books are still super interesting, and I like the story.

When I finish this book, I'll be on to a book that I've never read, The Shelters of Stone. And then there's one more book after that. I'm excited! 

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On 7/4/2021 at 8:51 PM, Jibralta said:

Such an interesting thing happened today. It was almost eerie.

Backstory:

My uncle (my mom's brother) is having my grandparents exhumed from the cemetery here in NJ, and relocated to his own family plot, three hours away. It's kind of a weird thing to do I guess, but nobody in my family is too bothered about it. People like my grandparents want to be surrounded by the people that they know and love, even in death.

My grandparents really have nobody where they are right now. My grandmother's sisters passed away decades ago, and they are all buried in different cemeteries. I don't think any of my grandfather's family ever came over to the United States. All of my grandmother's and grandfather's descendants (with the exception of me) moved to different states. After my grandparents are reinterred at my uncle's family plot, they will be surrounded by his family. I think they would like that. 

The cemetery where my grandparents currently reside is not very far from where I live, but I've rarely visited their grave. It's just not something I ever got into the habit of doing. I think I've been to that plot twice since my grandmother died in 2001. The first time was for her funeral; the second time was after my nephew's christening, two years ago.

My uncle came up for the christening. It was the first (and only) time he met my boyfriend, Arnold. I remember that my uncle spontaneously embraced Arnold as they stood by my grandparent's grave. It was unexpected, but nice. 

My mom told me a couple months ago that my uncle was moving my grandparents. I made a note in my mind to visit them before that happened. But somehow, I completely forgot. I mean completely

Fast forward to this past week.

My mom came to NJ to visit. At dinner, she told Arnold and me that she'd gone to put flowers by my grandparent's grave earlier that day. She was surprised to discover that my grandparent's headstone had already been removed, and that made her wonder if my grandparents were actually still interred there. She texted my uncle to find out if he'd moved them yet. My uncle said that he hadn't, but my mom wasn't sure about that because my uncle is getting more and more forgetful in his old age (I think he's in his 80s now). 

I reassured my mom that she would see the disturbance if my grandparent's coffins had been removed. But internally, I felt a spark of urgency. I couldn't believe that I'd forgotten all about the exhumation. Obviously, the move was imminent. I didn't have much time left to visit them. 

Arnold clearly felt the same sense of urgency because he said to me, "We should make sure to get over there this weekend."

I said, "Yes, definitely. Mom, I need you to give me directions to find Yia-Yia's grave. I don't remember where it is in the cemetery."

My mom said, "Of course."

Arnold said, "I think I know how to get there."

I said, "You've only been there once."

He said, "Yeah, but I think I know."

But then we forgot all about it.

Today, on the way back from dinner, Arnold said to me, "Hey, let's not forget to go visit your grandmother's grave. Let's make a point to go tomorrow morning."

I couldn't believe that I'd forgotten all about the exhumation yet again!! I said, "Ugh! Tomorrow morning isn't good; I want to get to work early. Maybe we can go in the afternoon?"

Arnold said, "Why don't we go right now? I'm sure I can find it."

I was like, "Ok...." and we detoured to the cemetery.

I thought that if Arnold actually found my grandparent's grave, I would be amazed. But I was definitely open to the possibility. I really wanted to visit them before they left. I knew I would feel very sad if I didn't have the chance to visit them beforehand.... Even though I've already said my goodbyes to them both, decades ago, I felt like I would somehow miss something important if I didn't pay my respects now. And even if I ended up visiting their new resting place, I knew that I would still regret not visiting them before they left this one. 

The cemetery is quite large, so we spent a little while meandering around by car until we got to the general area where we thought the grave probably was. Then we got out and walked for a couple minutes. We found some similar gravestone configurations, and at each of those I found gaps where headstones could have been removed. But none of the sites seemed quite right to either of us.

Aaron definitely remembered a tree... A couple of the locations we visited had a tree in the vicinity, but none was the tree that he remembered. I didn't remember a tree, but I also didn't not remember a tree... It just seemed like Arnold's memory was a lot more clear on this matter than mine was.

In one area, we came upon three bucks grazing among the graves. Each had large, fuzzy racks of antlers. So odd to see bucks. It's usually does and fawns that I see. But this summer, I've been seeing lots of bucks.

I texted my mom as we walked, hoping to hear back from her before we left the cemetery. But she didn't respond. When we got back to the car, Arnold said, "I just need to drive to the gate that we entered through after the christening. Bear with me." I was like, "Ok."

The cemetery roads are quite narrow, and there really aren't any places where you can easily turn a car around. Arnold picked the stupidest way to turn the car around. He said, "Just bear with me. I know I picked the stupidest way to turn the car around. I just need to see. This is going to help me to see." 

I was like, "Ok."

Once he turned the car around, he suddenly decided to go left instead of back the way we came. He said, "You know, I think this could be the way..." I was like, "Ok."

We turned onto another road, and we were both like, "This looks a lot more familiar!" I saw a grave that I thought I remembered. Not my grandparent's grave; just a distinctive name. Arnold pulled the car over and we both got out.

We walked to where their grave would be, and saw a spot where a headstone had recently been removed. I saw plantings and a landscaped border, the way that my mom would have kept things. A couple of cut tiger lilies lay there, stems wrapped in tinfoil with a moist paper towel inside to keep them hydrated. Probably my mom's handiwork from a couple days ago. I felt certain this was the grave.

So, we stood there for a few minutes. I knelt down in front of where the headstone would be. I didn't know what to say or to think, so I just sat there and thought of them, and their imminent journey. I felt glad that I got to visit them before they left, even though I don't know why that is. My grandmother has been gone for 20 years; my grandfather has been gone for almost 40 years. I said my goodbyes a long time ago. But even so, I reached out and let myself connect to them. My boyfriend stood there with me, a gentle hand on my shoulder. 

Then I stood up and looked around at the neighboring headstones. All mostly Greeks. Unsurprising, knowing my grandmother. But none of them are our family. My boyfriend knelt down for a few moments, propping up the lillies. Maybe paying his respects, I don't know. I didn't think anything of it at the time. It seemed so natural. But afterwards, I thought, Maybe....

As we drove away, I wondered if my grandparents had summoned us there to meet him before they left. 

I am glad you were able to say goodbye before they left . Your bf sounds so sweet. ❤️
 

I often see my mom’s parents. They are in the same cemetery as my other son. They both have been gone more than 40 years. 
My father’s parents and my father are in a different cemetery in a different city. I had actually never been there to visit my grandmother I wasn’t there when she was buried because they never told me she was being buried until I was at work. And the last time I was at the grave was when my grandfather was buried what is it …. Maybe nine years ago this coming January. Then I was there last year for my dad‘s burial and again a few months ago. Next month my dad will have been gone a whole year. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, Jibralta said:

I remember when that happened. I was 10 at the time.

Wow, I just realized that we saw that happen in class. The memory is so vague now. But we had a TV in the classroom to watch the lift off, and we did start watching it.... and then suddenly everything was just a jumble of information. I know the teacher told us that the Challenger had exploded, but I barely remember that. I mainly remember being confused. I had no idea that we just saw the space shuttle explode. It wasn't like watching a movie, where everything is arranged so that you understand the sequence. There was no dramatic music to indicate a sudden change in fortune.  

I just re-watched the launch--with some trepidation. The explosion is pretty clear. But it goes unacknowledged for long moments. The CNN commentator initially tries to explain away the fiery change in trajectory as something other than the spaceship just blew up. But they do eventually recognize that there was a catastrophe. As a kid, I would have missed that dialog. I really only paid attention to imagery and usually tuned grownup-chatter out. So, I was totally confused when the teacher told us what had happened. But I did believe her.

Everybody was sad about that tragedy.

Do you know the story about the soccer ball?

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