I walked that ground for an hour or more. Searching.... imploring...
That's what the old man asked. What makes a young one so interested in things so old? he asked. The heat in my cheeks choked off my breath, bubbled up, boiled over and cascaded down in raging salt rivers. Because she meant so much to him.
Sonny, they called him. To me, he was Pawpaw.
He was the oldest in his family of eight and he remembered that littlest one all the days of his life. He told me about her, only 16 months old eating oranges with her older sister. He told me about the terrible bacterial infection she contracted that racked her little body with sickness in the days before antibiotics. He told me about the mental and psychological anguish his mother went through after giving that little child back to God and how she left the family for a time, checking into a hospital in order to heal her heart and her mind. But it wasn't until Shortcake was about that age and was hospitalized with a severe bacterial infection that his words echoed in my heart. Only... he was no longer there on the other end of the phone when I went seeking help. I still begged for his help, whatever help he could offer. If he was reunited with Vivian in Heaven that together they would intercede for my little Shortcake. The prayers and the medicine worked and in three days her little hospital gown was packed away, now only a distant memory.
We said goodbye and the kindly man climbed into the truck as white as his hair, probably scratching his head. He had asked a few more questions but I still think he was a bit befuddled by the pools of sadness in my eyes. He promised me that he would keep my information tucked into his record book and it would be known for all who cared to know that two of the almost 40 unmarked graves belonged to Vivian and her Aunt Helen.
The girls decided to brave the frigid wind and help me place some flowers on the graves of strangers since our search had been for naught. We divided up the sunshine and pumpkin flowers between a few different graves, saying a prayer for each one we passed.
|A. E. Whiteley|
Someone who dreamed of Hollywood in 1938.
|Ella and William Fagan|
With frozen fingers, I snapped this memory and sent it off to the one person I know who can join it with her mental pictures and see if it matches. I am still waiting for her response.
In my heart, I know there is a chance that it is not the resting place of that little one so dear to him who was so dear to me. But maybe...
Whatever the answer, we offered our prayers for all the Holy Souls who sleep in Christ and wait for their time of perfection to be complete so that they may bask in the glory of the Beatific Vision where hopefully they will intercede for us still struggling and remembering...