Visiting the gravesites, beyond the limits of geography, is a very personal preference, I believe. I don’t think I’ve visited my dad’s grave more than two or three times. Of course, when he first died, on this date in 2000, the headstone wasn’t ready.
I know I made at least one trip, maybe two, to the military cemetery 40 miles north of Charlotte, NC, with my mother and at least the sister who lives in North Carolina, and very likely, her daughter.
The last time, I’m sure, was when my mother died in 2011. Both of my sisters and their daughters, my wife and MY daughter all attended the burial. She’s interred next to dad, and the headstone has now been replaced to represent both of them, with information on each side. I’ve actually never seen mom’s side of the headstone, except in photographs.
But my dad wasn’t much on that type of sentimentality. His mom died in the early 1960s, about a decade before he moved from Binghamton, NY to North Carolina. I have no recollection of taking us to visit her grave in the Floral Avenue Cemetery in Johnson City, NY. And I just can’t imagine him going on his own.
Indeed, I didn’t even remember – or more correctly, misremembered – where she was buried until about three years ago, which I wrote about.
Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton I went by virtually every single weekday growing up. It’s three or four blocks from the house I grew up in, and even closer to my maternal grandmother’s house, where I went each school day for lunch. we used to cut through the cemetery to play baseball at Ansco field.
My paternal grandfather died in 1980, and he’s buried in Spring Forest, or at least I think so. I doubt my father ever made a trek up to Binghamton to visit the grave.
So I guess I’m trying to make myself feel less guilty – guilty may be overstating it – about not going to what is now my parents’ gravesite. I DO have pictures.