• Susie Dunning

Sunshine Everyday



Today marks the end of our first month at Kingman Regional Medical Center. Dennis is steadily getting busier and we are getting accustom to our surroundings. Today Dennis is on call and had a busy day in the cath lab and in the office. This is Cardiology, sigh.


Memorial Day has always been a special day for my mom and me. She is a patriot, and so loyal. Virginia Schmitt loves a parade. One year, oh maybe 10 years ago she went to a memorial day parade alone. Speaking on the phone the next day I felt so much remorse. I told Dennis, “My mom will never go to another parade by herself.” On memorial day she also visits cemeteries. Now some of you might think this is weird, but she visits different graves, Her mom and step-dad Ed, her brother Chuck and sister-in-law Connie and Katie. Ed and Chuck did not belong to the VFW so they do not get a flag on their graves so she always brings them a flag. At a different cemetery she visits the grave of Patrick, my brother John’s son who died a few days after he was born. He needs a pin wheel. My dad’s parents are buried at yet another cemetery and they have a mass every Memorial Day so she even goes there.


Well about the time I decided to go to parades with her I also decided to start going to visit cemetaries with her. We then began to visit the Catholic, inner city, locked cemetary where her grandparents and aunts and uncles are buried among historical figures of Grand Rapids. Then I learned her dad, who died when she was 8 years old and his parents were buried in yet another one.


So it began, the cemetery tour. We set out every Memorial Day and hopped from one to the other.  We brought scissors, little shovels, geraniums, flags, umbrellas, lawn chairs and pin wheels. We freshen up the grass around the head stones. Oh the stories she has told. Her dad couldn’t be buried in the same cemetery as her mom’s family because he wasn’t Catholic. He is buried in a City cemetery that is dotted with Grand Rapids’ history (who aren’t Catholic). I looked forward to it every year. We missed a few because it rained or was so cold. We skipped a few stops now and then because we got caught up in a story or had to break and have lunch with my dad after mass. Then if the weather was fair we would go to the parade. In Grand Rapids it is Monday evening.


This year I am in Kingman, AZ and Mom is in Grand Rapids. It has been a painful week. I keep thinking of her walking to visit the graves by herself (heaven forbid she ask anyone to go with her). I’m sure the separation was difficult for her too. We haven’t talked about it in our 20 conversations we’ve had. We’ve just had our usual chit chat, she tells me what’s going on in her world and I tell her about mine, as if we still live 5 miles apart.


I miss her. It doesn’t mean I’m sorry I moved it just means this week is difficult. Next year Grand Rapids might be my destination for a long Memorial Day weekend. The stories she tells and the time we have spent on those Monday mornings I will cherish forever. My Uncle Chuck used to say, “She makes up most of that crap.” No she, like me listened as the adults around her told stories and she held on to the history she so enjoyed. My life is enriched by the chronicles of Virginia Marie Fischer-Schmitt.

~Susie

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