Another short excerpt from GENEVA, the book

We left Wisconsin about 3:30 in the morning, having not ever gone to bed. It took sixteen hours of hard driving, and I cried all the way. Fortunately, someone else was driving. When I got home, Mama enfolded me in her arms. She told me that she knew it was coming and that she was not greatly surprised. Over the next few days, she said we must share our sorrow, as it made it all easier to bear. She was a model of strength and dignity throughout, and we leaned on each other like we had never done before. She had already been to the funeral home to make the funeral arrangements by the time we arrived home from Wisconsin.

One more thing remained to be done — arranging for the grave to be dug. Then, the family had to arrange it personally, instead of Grey-Brown handling it. They had given her the name of the individual, and I drove her over there. He refused to do it without the money in hand, and never offered to pick it up. She had her check ready — I think he charged $25. When I started to take it from her and deliver it to the man who was sitting on his porch in a wife-beater undershirt, rocking, she shook me off. She got out of the car, positioned her walking stick and handbag just so, and then made her way to the porch, the arthritis in her knees obviously making it very slow and painful. The SOB didn’t even bother to get up to greet her, or even meet her half way. He let her climb his steps, and he took the check without a word when she offered it. She turned and made her way back down the steps. She made her point.

At the visitation the night before the funeral, I realized that I had never seen her look prettier, not a line on her face. She sat, leaning on her cane, right next to the coffin, not moving for three hours, greeting everyone as they came to pay their respects. There were many, many who came. There was a profusion of beautiful flowers, and I was so glad she had not said, “no flowers” because as I told you before, Daddy had always given flowers very generously to everyone.