Monday, October 14, 2013

Bear Lake

There we were. In Bear Lake Michigan. 
As a small child, I remember coming here to visit my father's mother. My grandmother. Gongi as my cousins all called her. But she was Grandma to us. She lived here with her third husband Sylvester. We called him Grandpa Sy and loved him as much as our actual grandfather.

Coming here now, I could see what they saw in this place.
Life just moves a little slower here. And the vistas are absolutely amazing.
But you'll see more of that in the next post.
After finishing our horseback riding adventure and driving past Grandma's old house, and visiting many memories that until this day had been put away in the dusty corners of my mind.
we grabbed a quick snack.

Since Bear Lake is near the Leelanau Peninsula and Traverse City (the cherry capital of the world),
Cherry-Maple Jerky and these Polish Roses seemed a good choice. 

Our next task...
Finding Grandma.
After her death in 2002, I was not able to attend her committal service and therefore,
had never visited her grave. I've found that until you get your chance to say good-bye, 
a person isn't really gone in your mind. I knew she had died, but I still found myself watching weather reports for her area and wondering how she was.
Since I had finally gotten the chance to visit my Grandfather's grave last year (Her first husband that had died in 1981), and I've buried both my parents and visited Ed's mother's grave too, my Grandma was the only one I had not had the opportunity to say good-bye to.
It was time.
Time to find Grandma and let her go.

We found the cemetery easy enough. Then we quickly got distracted by all the kewl markers that we found.

I've seen Woodsman stones before, but this one was unique.

Finally, we decided to start at one end and search until we found her.
We devised a plan and started on our way.
After about 30 seconds of searching, Edward once again, went right to it.

We found her here next to Sy.

It was nice to be able to put 11 years of wondering to rest.
To finally say, Good-bye Grandma.
You are truly missed.
If there is an afterlife, I know she's happy to see her boy (my dad) again.

We found this symbol next to her husbands grave.
We've both been in the funeral business a long time but have never seen this one before.
If anyone knows what it is for, I'd be very interested.
Perhaps a fraternity or other group of some sort.

After saying good-bye, I turned to see my car. It seemed to be waiting for me. 
Ready for the driving adventure that was to come.


MorningAJ said...

I looked up the FLT from the symbol on the grave and found a reference to 'Friendship Love Trust' which is the motto of an organisation called the Oddfellows. It is sometimes found on gra ves in the UK. You can find out more here:
People were involved in the Oddfellows for many reasons. It was what is known as a 'friendly society' which is how people used to look after each other before we had a welfare state over here. Is that a possibility?

Stew Adams said...

Thank you. That is highly possible, knowing the story of my step-grandfather.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

what an interesting area! it was nice to finally get to your grandmothers grave. can't wait to see where you went next!

Stew Adams said...

I've learned so much of my step-grandfather from this.
He was a member of the IOOF (Indipendant Order of Odd Fellows) they cared for members of the community before there was such a thing as welfare. I've learned a lot about my Grandpa Sy since I wrote that post.
He was my Grandmother's 4th marriage. Very odd for that day and age in the Catholic church. She had married my Grandfather twice in hopes that it would work out between them. She was only 17 when they married at first. When she divorced him, she was left to fend for herself with 3 children with no child support. So after my father and his brother went off to war and my aunt married at 16y.o., she divorced the second time for good.
She eventually married a nice man after moving to live with her brother in Michigan. This man, Dave, had health issues and soon died. His best friend Sy, promised Dave on his death bed that he would care for Viola (my grandmother). After Dave's death, Sy married Vi and took care of her for some 20+ years. He was a self made man with a lot of insurance. Enough that my grandmother never had to worry about money for her remaining 20 years on earth. She also made sure that people close to her were cared for, just the same.
They just don't make them like Sylvester Isner anymore, that's for sure.