Friday, March 25, 2011


Elbert's favorite room in our house was the sunroom. It had lots of windows and he could sit and watch people walking by and cars going over the speed limit. He'd say every time 'they sure are going fast'. Of course, to him by that time everything was going faster than he could comprehend.

As I needed to be with him more and more, I moved my computer desk into the sunroom so I could have something to do while I sat with him. Conversation was almost non-existent and I just don't SIT very well without something to do.

About a month ago I walked into the living room. I had placed his folded flag on the mantel in there and I just had this feeling that Elbert needed to be in that sunroom he loved so much. So, I got one of this old Navy hats, the large picture of him we used for the viewing at the funeral home, his flag and one of his hunting horns. And, I placed them on top of my desk. I can look up anytime I wish and see his handsome face looking down on me. Dd Shirley asked me if that didn't make me cry. Usually not, I told her. But, if I cry, that's alright. I feel his presence with me and that is comforting.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Tough Day

Today was tough. I got a call that the headstone was in place on Elbert's grave so I drove down to the cemetery. Now, I had been down there before but it didn't seem real then. Just a little green plastic frame with Elbert's name hand-written on the insert stuck in a flat rectangle of grassless soil. I didn't even cry. It just was not him.

Today was totally different. When I walked up and saw Elbert's name on his headstone I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I think I audibly let out a huge breath of air and grabbed my middle. There it was.... carved in stone... affirming that yes, Willie Elbert Barton had lived his life and now lay amid rows and rows of identical stones, all veterans who served our country.

I am so proud of what he accomplished in his lifetime. He was, too. That little ole country boy who gave over 22 years to his country and did pretty well with it all. It says on his tomb that he fought in two wars, Korea and Vietnam. It says, too, that he was a Lt. (went all the way up the ranks from seaman apprentice to Lt.) Yep, I am very proud of him. And, there it is... engraved on his headstone. But, it doesn't say anything about what kind of man he was or how much he loved his family or his God.

When asked what else we wanted engraved on the tomb (besides the essentials) the family talked it over and decided that 'love and honor' pretty much summed that man up from beginning to end. He loved life, he loved us all, he loved God and his country, he just loved the very air he breathed. Nothing much bothered that man, he was always smiling and happy.

And, Honor. He honored his family by being the best he could be. He honored God by trying to live the life God would have wanted him to and he fought and served with honor for his country.

Yep, the tears flowed and I cried all the way home.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tieing up loose ends

I am finding that there are a lot of 'loose' ends that has to be taken care of. Paperwork, paperwork. For everyone I am sure it is different... Paperwork after death has to do with whatever your life involved around.

Once my brain started functioning on a somewhat normal level (after the funeral and the new experiences of being alone) I started on in that blasted PAPERWORK... I am a pretty independent person and I have been so determined to take care of things myself. But, do you know there were letters I received... and read....and forms to fill out that I lay aside saying I need a clearer mind to tackle that.

One was the nursing home final bill. It just didn't seem right to me so I drove down yesterday to see if I could find out what was wrong. Seems that one insurance we had wouldn't cover skilled care so they had billed me for it... BUT... the business office didn't have another insurance listed that Elbert had. Once that was figured into the equation I only owed them half what they said I did. I was so excited that I had handled that and with good results. In fact, I was so excited I drove over to my favorite sandwich shop and treated myself to their extra yummy chicken salad sandwich on croisant. Oh, my.

I can't believe that it is March already. Some small signs of spring, like my daffodils blooming, grass getting greener and the days a bit warmer some of the time. I was just thinking about a day trip Elbert and I took in 2001 a couple years after we moved to Va.  We had never been to Jamestown so we decided we would go. I mean, we were so close and to not see it seemed a real shame.

Elbert was such a people person. He never met a stranger, would talk to anyone and most times have them loving his stories and jokes. So, he naturally wanted his picture made with one of the Jamestown Settlement interpreter. Can't remember for sure but from the big smiles on both their faces I can just about guarantee that Elbert has just told her something funny.

Being a sailor and having served on several of our Naval ships he really was amazed at how tiny the Susan Constant was. He crawled around all over it.

And, then he 'pretended' to steer her to America.

I have been so blessed to have had Elbert for such a long time. He was always charming, fun and loved life to the enth degree.