The past five days have been an emotion roller coaster for me. Thursday night at about nine o’ clock, I received a phone call from my father. I instantly knew by the sound of his voice that something was wrong. His voice shaky and softly said “my mother just past away.” He briefly told me that he was on his way to his mom’s house. Instantly I began making arrangements with work and school so that I could travel home to be with my family, but because of a quiz, I was unable to leave until Friday morning to head home. On my way home I was handling everything just fine until my mom told me to be prepared because I will be where my Grandfather Olen is buried. Until that moment, I had not thought about it and that’s when I lost it, but I knew that I had to be strong during the next several days for my dad and Aunt Cynthia.
Friday everyone was going to have an early night and try to get some sleep because of the night before, so I did not drive out to see anyone Friday. Saturday I meet my dad, stepmother, my little brother, Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Terry at Red Lobster for lunch before heading out to my grandmother’s house to begin going through old photographs and getting things in order for the days to come. After going through all the old photographs and pulling several out to pin on a bulletin board it was time to head to the funeral home to view her body before visitation the next day. I decided to go with my dad to prepare myself for the visitation.
Sunday arrives and at about 1:30 p.m. I arrive to Welch’s Funeral Home for visitation. To me, the visitation part of a funeral is one of the nicest parts of a funeral. It’s hard to explain, but its time for family together and be with old friends that often times we have gotten too busy to see or talk with anymore. This is the time that I look at as being a joyful process of the funeral. Bringing people together for the hard times is truly what family and friends is really about. After visitation and everyone had left, I came back into the room to photography my grandmother. These photographs, which I have done before, are the hardest things for me to do, but doing them is essential.
After visitation I headed back to Arlington because I had to take a second part of a mid-term exam at nine the next morning. After the exam, I headed back to Hallsville for the funeral. The church members of Mulberry Springs Baptist Church prepared a lunch for the family before the services.
After the service the family headed to the cars to prepare for the ride to Grange Hall Cemetery in Marshall. As we began the journey to the cemetery I began thinking of being at the cemetery that my Adkisson side of the family is buried and tears began to roll down my face. After a 30-minute drive we were at Grange Hall Cemetery and just as I put my car in park I looked up and saw my first Adkisson headstone in front of me. Tears began to poor from my eyes. I get myself together, knowing that I had to be strong for my dad and Aunt Cynthia and head toward the pavilion. I sat down on the front row with my dad, stepmother little brother, Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Terry and kept my head down as the graveside service began. After a few minutes Rev. Wilson began his part of the service and I looked up at the casket and just to the left of the flower arrangement on top I could see the headstone Adkisson where my Grandfather Olen is buried and I began to sob. After the services I saw that my Cousin Shelia was over in that direction and began to walk that way with tears rolling down my face. I told her that I had never been out here and she took me by my hand and lead me to my grandfather to meet for the first time in 21 years. I fell to my knees and just began sobbing. After a few minutes she lead me over to where my Aunt Virginia, Shelia’s mom, is buried and once again I fell to my knees and began sobbing. After a few minutes I made my way back to the pavilion to say my goodbyes to the family as they began to leave. Several minutes pass and everyone is gone expect for my dad, step mom and little brother and I told my dad that I wanted to stay until they finish burring her and spend some time with my grandparents together before heading home. They left and head home and I remained in the Grange Hall Cemetery alone because there was something that I had to do, something that I have learned from a dear friend, Joshua Travis Upshaw’s death that I had to do for closure. I had to make a photograph.