Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | July 24, 2011

A Family Visit, of Sorts

Both of my parents were born and raised in the Chicago area…my mom, a first generation American.

The big dream that kept them going all their lives, was to retire in Florida.

When the time came, they bought a comfortable home in Bradenton, complete with a pool, and settled in for the nice, relaxing life they had worked so hard to achieve.

They were able to live their dream for 9 short months. My father died of a heart attack in April, 1982.

We buried him at Mansion Memorial Park, in Ellenton, Florida…my mom liked the idea of his resting under the huge live oak trees draped with Spanish moss.

Eight years later, we laid my mom to rest beside my dad.

In 2003, my brother’s ashes were interred in a niche at the Mansion Mausoleum. He died at age 46, after leading a troubled adult life.

Three family members have found Ellenton to be their final resting place.

I had not visited the cemetery since my mom’s funeral…hadn’t even been to Florida.

So, when I found myself at Tarpon Springs, less than a two hour drive from Ellenton, I decided to pay my family a little visit.

Last Monday, after a lovely morning of antiquing in downtown Tarpon Springs, Keith and I headed south toward Ellenton.

We found Mansion Memorial without too much trouble (would have been easier if the navigator – me – had read the directions correctly!), and stopped by the office to buy flowers and learn my family’s whereabouts, as it had been over 20 years since I had been on the premises.

It was a bit surreal to stand before their headstones after all that time, and I felt a little guilty that this was the first time I had ever placed flowers in the bronze vase that had waited so long to be decorated.

I found it interesting…the inscription on my mom’s headstone reads “Beloved Wife and Mother”, while my dad’s reads “1st Sgt. U.S. Army”.

It seemed a rather cold statement to sum up the life of a man who was a captured in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, yet lived to return home to marry and raise a family, working his way up the ladder in a top pharmaceutical company.

He taught me to fish, took me to baseball games and pony rides. He was so much more than a military man.

In Memory of Dorothy Irene Skawina Loebach

I can only hope that, in our grief at his unexpected death, our family was so distraught that we never even considered a more loving inscription.

Keith said not to worry about the inscription. It was most probably a “standard” plaque provided by the Veteran’s Administration.

Still, I would have chosen “Loving Husband and Father”, if I were choosing today.

In Memory of Paul Albert Loebach

After spending some time reflecting on the two who created and nurtured me, and who were now “Together Forever”, as the inscription around their flower vase reads, Keith and I moved on to the mausoleum wall to pay my respects to my brother.

In Memory of Paul Albert Loebach, Jr.

There were no options for inscription on his niche marker, other than his name and the years of his birth and death, but there was so much more to this guy….I guess I will just have to carry that part in my heart.

I left the cemetery in good spirits ~ I had paid my respects to three of the people I have loved, and lost, in this life, and taken the time to reconnect with what they meant to me.

It was a good visit.

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Responses

  1. How wonderful that you made this trip. Your words about these special people speak clearly of your love for them – they are missed by us all. Thank you for bringing our love to their final resting place.

  2. What a special — and important — family visit. As Auntie Carol said, thank you for carrying our love and yours to those three Loebachs!


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