Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Mysterious Gifts for the Dead

Leaving gifts for the dead has got to go back many thousands of years.   It must tap into something big and primal.   If you've ever visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., you see this in a dramatic way. But it's everywhere, for every remembered war and every type of remembered cemetery or graveyard. I find this compelling.

When I visited it, Comanche leader Quanah Parker's grave at Fort Sill had various mysterious gifts and offerings for his residence in the Other World. Coins were in abundance (Pennies for Heaven?), various bouquets, a tiny US flag and a pair of his-and-her cigarettes (Quanah had multiple wives while living on Earth and probably sports with more on the other side. Which begs the question: is he in Heaven, Purgatory or Hell? Possibly none of the above. Possibly all of the above.).

This one is more of a mystery: the grave of Grace Rose Sunday (December 3, 1895-April 23, 1911), also at Fort Sill but in one of the Apache POW cemeteries.  Her headstone is enclosed within a small fence and, when I visited, coins of all types lined the top of it.  So far, little about her has turned up on the internet, but clearly she resonates with people who make the pilgrimage.

Today's Rune: Journey.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Grace Rose Sunday-what a wonderful name.

Erik Donald France said...

It is, isn't it? I did find this:

"Chiz-pah-odlee and Chief Loco had only 1 child, a daughter, Bey-ih-tsun, born 1864, died in Oklahoma after allotment. Bey-ih-tsun, by a 1st husband, name not recalled, had a daughter, Ken-i-ee-nidlth, who married Sundayman (Tsedekizen) and was mother of Grace Rose Sunday . . ." --

Fort Sill Apache website at http://www.fortsillapache-nsn.gov/

Johnny Yen said...

I actually have that book!

Recently, I got a call from an old friend, who had gotten a call from the father of my friend Mark, my friend who was murdered four years ago. He had found a set of Mark's house keys at his grave. As my friend suspected, I had left them there when I drove down with another old friend to visit his grave. Mark's home was always open to his friends when they were in trouble-- I'd taken him up on this service twice, during periods of marital difficulties with now-ex-wives. To me, the keys symbolized that.