I finally went to the grave site, and it was a definate reality check......

by Jesika 21 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Jesika

    For those of you who read my other thread about me wanting to go to a certain funeral service at the KH, well I didn't make it cause my son needed me that weekend.

    For those of you who knew about the sister that I found out that passed away and was contimplating going to her grave, well, I did that today...........................Let me tell you why I am so hurt, and have always been in love with this woman...................

    This was a "sister" in the KH who LOVED kids. She was the older woman who always sat in the 3rd row on the right side of the KH. You could almost see that seat say "reserved" for Oretha Roden. That was HER seat!!!!!!!

    She was like Halloween to us kids EVERY meeting. She always had candy for us, no matter how bad or good the kids who would come to say hi to her. She loved us all.

    I can tell you this, she is one, if not the ONLY person in my WHOLE life I can say that I have nothing but GOOD memories about. I have NO bad memories about her!!! She was a kind, loving, giving, nonjudgemental, etc person I have EVER known.

    I wasn't told of her passing cause she was a JW, and the only people who knew she passed, that knew me were JW's.

    So, I found out through Big Tex and Cruzanheart, that she died. They told me where she was buried. I didn't know what yr she passed away, but I knew it was at least 5-6yrs ago.

    She was like the grandmother I NEVER had.

    Today, I was passing by where she was buried. So, I turned into the cemetary. I went to the info office and asked where her lot was.

    I was given a map and went looking for her.

    I couldn't find her.

    In looking for her, I felt alot of feelings, anticipation, excitement, apprehension, sadness, hurt, confused, happy, and others I can't explain.

    I walked around for over an hour, and couldn't find her head stone.

    I went back to the office and told them I couldn't find her. She had been buried in 1996!!!!!!!! I had NO IDEA it had been THAT LONG!!!!!!!! I had only found out about her passing 3-4 weeks ago.

    So, the woman in the office, got a picture of the plot, and come to find out she was buried right next to her husband, who had died when I was 2yrs old, I never knew him. She was also buried right next to her daughter who had only lived 4days, and died. I never knew she had a daughter!!!!!!

    So, after all these emotions were running through me, I finally had reality SLAP me in the face!!!

    Her name on a head stone was staring me in the face..........the woman from the office said something.......I don't remember what she said, all I said was "thank you"................

    I sat down, and drew a blank...............I didn't know what to say.

    I started talking out loud.

    As soon as I explained I was there to say "good-bye" since I wasn't given the chance..........I started crying.

    I put down some candy on her head stone, explaining I was giving some of the candy she had always given us, back. I also put a small plastic bracelet, and a dinosaur toy.

    All of my memories of her were from childhood, and I just wanted to give her something I thought would give her joy, and make her smile.

    I don't know why, but I said........"I don't know if I believe in an after life, but if you can here me, I am glad you are with your husband and your daughter again. If you are really sleeping, I am glad you are in peace now. I wish I had the chance to say goodbye to you in person, and I hope you aren't mad that I am here since I am df'd, but I had to tell you that you are still in my heart and I love you. I wish you could have met my son, he would have loved you sooooooo much!!! You would have been a much better grandmother to my son than the one he has now, not my mother, but the other one. I guess what I am trying to say, is I love you and I always have, you never judged me, and I love you for that, just know that I know that. Well, I will visit you from time to time, and ..........well, good-bye.........."

    She was born in 1920 and died 1996.

    1996!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am soooooooooooooo sad that I couldn't tell her good-bye in person, I used to drive by her house just hoping I would see her outside!!!!!!!!!

    I still don't know what she died of, but I am thinking it was old age. She meant so much to so many kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oretha Roden, you will be in my heart FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Big Tex
    Big Tex
    I put down some candy on her head stone, explaining I was giving some of the candy she had always given us, back. I also put a small plastic bracelet, and a dinosaur toy.

    Thank you for that. A very Buddhist thing to do.

    I'm glad you went. It sounds like it gave you some closure. Death really sucks, doesn't it?

  • Gopher

    (( Jesika ))

    It's so sad that you got closed out of the information loop on this -- the J-dubs can be so cruel.

    You did what you could to remember her with dignity. Your post made me want to be there with you. I'm good at directions, I might have helped you find the gravesite sooner.

    I never knew Oretha, but based on her kindness I would guess that she would have been so pleased to know you cared about her after all these years. Kindly older ones know that love/caring is more important than strict adherence to rules (such as DF/DA).

    Thanks for sharing the memory of this lovely lady you remember from the Kingdom Hall.

  • DJ

    That poor sweet lady, her baby died at 4 days old and she never had another. I guess that she filled her longing for a child through loving other little kids. That was a sweet story Jes. I know that she would have liked that. I felt really sad when you told her that you hoped she wouldn't be mad at you for visiting even though you were df'd. I don't think that she would have minded in the least. love, dj

  • Jesika

    Thanx you guys for responding to this, it really means alot to me.

  • LyinEyes

    ((((((((Jesika)))))))) what a touching post.

    I bet that lady still loved you and wondered how you were doing,,,,,,,,she probably knew you would be a survior.

    When I was a little girl , we had a brother in our hall,,,,,,,Bro. Calhoun,,,,,,,,aka the Candyman. If we were good,... and in his precious dark eyes,,,,,we were all good,,,,,,, we got candy at the end of the meeting. We were in his home bookstudy for years, and often you would find me sitting on his lap hugging this old man,,,,,,, which was something I didnt do with many people , there was just something special about Brother Calhoun.

    He loved to go hunting, fishing and loved being active. Even thou he was old, he still went on a yearly hunting trip with some other brothers.

    Some how Brother Calhoun got shot while hunting and was paralzyed and in a wheel chair,,,, he was so depressed and was so sad he couldnt be in service anymore or used in the congregation the way he had been.

    One day I came home from school and found my mother crying,,,,,,, I knew something bad was wrong with her, she was sobbing more than crying,,,,,,She told me that Brother Calhoun had been in alot of pain physically and emotionally and that he took his own life with a shotgun that day. I sat on the floor and couldnt even move out of shock....... it was the first time I ever knew anyone who did that.

    Several minutes later it really hit me and I ran out of the house,,,,,, ran to my favorite place in the world the barn , to lay on the hay bales,,,,,,,,,,, but when I got there my mother had already beat me to my favorite place, I guess it was her favorite place to go to think and be alone too.

    We both sat there and cried for Brother Calhoun that afternoon and I will never forget the lose we felt that day.

    I know how you feel Jesika, I never got to tell Bro. Calhoun how special he was to me,,,, how this old man was really more of a grandfather than my real ones,,,,,,,, We made an odd pair , it was odd to see back in the day, he was an old black man,,I was a skinny little white girl . But we were like kindred spirts in away, he made me laugh, taught me to have a sense of humor,, he even tried to teach me to tap dance , or soft shoe as he called it and I felt happy around him, and I remember smiling alot around him and laughing. I wish I could tell him , he was a highlight in my young childhood. Maybe he is in heaven and knows........I think I will do what you did Jesika , say a few things to him outloud just in case he might be listening......

  • berylblue

    Jessica, you are a very loving and caring woman. Take care of yourself.


  • xjw_b12

    Jess......Hugs to you. Very touching post.

    I think every cong. in the world has 1 or 2 of those kindly women in them. Those who wanted children, and could not have them, either because it was frowned about at the time, or it was not physically possible.

    There were 2 women in my old cong. like that. One had children, that had grown up and moved on ( not jw ), and the other who had children but she joined the cong. in later years, after she had raised her children " in the world ".

    Both of these wonderful women loved the young ones. And it is a duplicate of what you referred to. Whether it was a candy, or a hello, and even a hug, you felt like they were grammas to you. I.... like you, looked forward going to the KH, if only for the sole purpose of seeing Sister so and so. And you know, you could just feel their love. IT WAS GENUINE !

    Now I go to another point of your thread. To be buried, or cremated.

    If this wonderful women had beeen cremated, and her ashes tossed to the wind, would you have a place to go to, and offer your thoughts.

    The WBTS has always discouraged the " headstone " mentallity and I think a lot of us, have fallen into that line of thought. But you know what ? I have lost my grandparents, a brother, and friends, who have no marking on the earth they have left. I have always wanted to go their graves and mourn.

    There is something very therapeautic in going to a gravesite, talking out loud, .......crying...and then going back to the " Living "

  • jurs


    Hugs to you!


  • Billygoat


    Your post made me cry. *gulp* You are such a kind and sweet soul. And I know this sweet lady would have hugged you a final time if she could. I think she heard you. I think she watches over you. But that's my opinion. You were so sweet to leave what you left at her grave. That really touched me.

    There was always a person like that in every congregation I went to. Even the church I go to now has the Candyman. His name is Oscar and he's in his 70's. His wife is the church office secretary and everybody LOVES them. Oscar always has candy and lots of hugs for everyone, whether a child or not. His sweet wife Maxine has the sweetest voice and is always teasing Oscar about being so silly with the kids. (He's a big kid himself, always full of pranks and laughter.) They are definitely the grandparents of our church.


Share this