Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Thirty seven years after my mother vanished from the face of the earth, my sisters and I will be staking out the cemetary in Blackwell, Oklahoma. It's the place where my grandparents are buried, May and Curtis, and flowers have mysteriously appeared on their graves as long as anyone can remember.

My niece, who is mildly obsessed with my mother's disappearance, the only grandchild born before she vanished, is convinced it is her, Miss Audrey, making her way to the cemetary to remember her parents every year.

According to a cousin, the flowers are always there well before Memorial Day and no one has any idea who puts them there. May has been dead since the influenza epidemic of 1918; her death is the reason why my mother and her siblings were sent to live with the beast who abused them. Curtis had to continue his work as a trainman, which kept him away from home for days at a time. He couldn't know that May's sister's husband was a pedophile of the worst kind, a violent, twisted man. These things weren't news in 1920 and if they were known, they weren't discussed.

So is it my mother appearing at the cemetary, flowers in hand, to honor her parents? Is it even possible that she could still be alive and able at 89? Given her state of mind before she left ~ unmedicated bipolar with almost catatonic depressive episodes ~ it is really inconceivable.

Still, there's that hope forever tugging at my heart, a wish to finally find out what happened, what truly prompted her disappearance beyond our belief that her despair was ultimately too much to bear. Where has she been? How has she been? Did she ever find relief from her tortured past? Ever any comfort for her wounded spirit? I just wish I could tell her that it's okay, that I understand, that I love her still. I would like to let her know that it broke my heart, her disappearance, and that it was hard, of course, but that I survived and thrived and that I love my life.

I'm doing my part for the stakeout on Friday and Saturday. I might possibly drop dead in my tracks if I looked up to see my mother walking among the headstones after a 37 year absence. The news from the crew on stakeout this morning is that the flowers aren't there yet. They're in good spirits and filled with a kind of hope that is precious, no matter the outcome.

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Blogger evilganome said...

Good luck Lynette. I share your doubt that the mystery flower donor is your mother, but wouldn't it be grand if it was! I will be thinking of you over the next few days and wish you and your family the best of luck. As for being 89 and getting around, my own grey haired mother is 81 and there is no keeping her down.

May 23, 2007 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Tater said...

Good luck! I can't ever know the pain and despair you went through as a child grieving your mother, never having any answers as to where and why. It saddens me that you had to overcome such a void in your life, such heartache at so tender an age. The only consolation I find in all of this is knowing the person you became. You have touched so many lives with your kindness, compassion, and empathy. I am not a therapist, but I have to believe that the depth of your charity is a direct result of losing so much. Life is indeed a wheel, everything coming round again eventually. I hope that you find closure in some way, perhaps it will be through your stakeout, perhaps not. I am rooting for you irregardless, and am sending you my best thoughts!

May 23, 2007 11:05 AM  
Blogger Beula said...

I hope she comes back. Or if it is not her, then someone who knew her. I hope for you as I do for me that in Heaven we will get an eternity of just chat.

Mom is buried in an old cemetery under a small rose colored granite headstone I picked out when I was twelve. I will not get to put flowers on her grave this year. Cracks my heart to think she will have no flowers. My blog was my wreath to her this year. I am hoping for and with you.

May 23, 2007 11:49 AM  
Blogger eric3000 said...

How mysterious! I hope you are able to find out who it is. Even if it isn't your mother, it should still be interesting to find someone who knew your grandparents. Is this the first year you've tried the stake-out?

May 23, 2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Good luck Lynette...

I have a similar situation, nowhere near as extreme however. My brother killed himself twenty years ago... after about two years, we lost track of his girlfriend, and I've tried searching a number of different ways, but we figure she has changed her name due to marriage.

Every year I try to visit my brother's grave around his birthday, which is in July. One year my sister went to visit around Halloween, when he died, because she happened to be on the east coast that weekend. She was surprised to discover that Cheryl had left flowers, and a note that read "never forgotten." Suddenly there was the possibility that she has been visiting his grave every October. I had never thought to go on the anniversary of his death -- his birthday seemed more fitting, somehow.

So last October, I went out a few days ahead of time, and left a note for her, held down by a rock. I was hoping she'd get it, but I never heard from her... I dont even know if anybody took the note or if it just got soaked in the fall rain and disintegrated. If I had the time and lived nearby, I would stake out for the whole day.

There is a tremendous romance to searching, or waiting for something uncertain, in a cemetery...

May 23, 2007 1:23 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

Wow. What a mystery! Even if it is not your mother, there's someone leaving the flowers, how fascinating to maybe discover who. Maybe a note, like Dave's situation, but put it in a little ziplock?

Good luck!

May 23, 2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger Andrea K said...

I'm sorry that you had to deal with that. I have a bipolar parent, too, but mine never disappeared. That not knowing has to be hard.

Good luck on solving the mystery of the flowers. It's a very romantic notion, kind of like the mystery person who visits Poe's grave every year.

May 24, 2007 6:08 AM  
Anonymous cemetarian said...

I Love you, Miss Belle!!!

May 25, 2007 11:28 AM  

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