(To the left: my much loved brother Steve) Bearhead Cemetery is in a small plot of pine trees, surrounded by rich dairy land, between the farm towns of Long Prairie and Swanville, MN.
From the first time that my brother and I talked about going back to Minnesota, a mental picture of visiting our mother’s grave played in my head. I’d been there before butSteve never. I envisioned us alone, sobbing out the years of loss together.
In reality, it was something else altogether, more about us paying our respects and honoring her memory.
(To the right: Sierra, Sandy, Jeanie, Olivia & Vicki) I’m thankful that Jeanie (a daughter from my Aunt Rhoda’s second marriage and a ‘new’ cousin) and her husband Kim, with whom we were staying near Minneapolis, decided to come with us to the cemetery – a half hour away -- after the reunion had concluded. With them came Jeanie’s daughter Vicki and granddaughters Sierra and Olivia.
Even though the graveyard is small, it took a while for us to find the Husom plots. Not only is my mother buried there, but my brother Arthur, my Grandma (Doris) and Grandpa (Clarence) Husom, Uncle Harlan (whose obit helped me find my family) and many others including great grandparents and great great grandparents. There are even relatives on my dad’s side buried on another side of the cemetary, my Aunt Violet (his sister) and her husband Tommy; their old farm was only a half mile away.(Below: my mother's headstone, Shirley Elizabeth Harnack) The graves hadn’t been tended to in some time so Steve and my husband cleaned away the overgrown grass and weeds as best they could. In the end there were no tears, just acknowledgement. And maybe, just maybe, some amount of closure.