Thursday, July 26, 2007

in rememberance...

i've thought about posting several times thinking i would share my thoughts and feelings, but just didn't want to face them or got overwhelmed thinking about where to start or what to say.

a friend asked yesterday how i was feeling and her timing was perfect. i didn't feel anxious at all.....i needed to get these thoughts down, especially in light of my terrible memory. i don't want to forget anything. that's what scares me the most----that i'm going to forget my mom, that i won't be able to see her face in my mind whenever i want. and what saddens me most of all is that my kids most likely won't remember a thing about their grammy.

from the time i left the hospital (thursday) until the day of the ceremony, i was just going through the motions---it just didn't feel real at all. and still doesn't really.

on the day of calling hours (sunday), my brother and i were the first to walk into the room for a private moment alone. two steps into the room and we both, simutaneously, stopped in our tracks and drew a huge breath in astonishment at the visual reminder of just how many lives she touched during her life. never in my life have i seen so many flowers at a funeral......it was the most beautiful sight i've seen. i was disappointed in the way she looked---nothing like herself at all. i had many moments of anxiety, fearing that i would be tortured with that visual instead of the way i truly remember my mom.

both kids were with us for the first 2 hours. there was a continuous flow of co-workers, friends and family----i mean non-stop visitors, so many that you couldn't move an inch without bumping into somebody. i held up quite well---again, feeling very surreal, like it was only a dream. both of my girls brought flowers and pictures for grammy and gave her one final kiss. ashlyn understands it all and has been extremely sensitive to my feelings. emma doesn't quite understand. when she saw her she said "what's grammy doing?" and "grammy, wake up." it breaks my heart that she won't ever remember her. my dad came (they were married for 16 years) and took my kids for the remainder of the day.

it was comforting to experience the love that people had for her.....i feared that people would forget and we'd be there alone. in between services, we went on our own to grab a bite to eat and just breathe. i didn't know how much i would need that time away until after the second service.

the second 2 hours was a bit less intimidating. the traffic slowed and i felt i had more time to connect with those who came to pay their respects. my mom's hairdresser of the last 8 years arrived and was in hysterics over the way mom looked. she was appaulled. she pulled me aside and begged me to let her come back after everyone was gone that evening to make mom look, well, like mom. after speaking with my brother we agreed. and couldn't have been more thankful. everyone was gone except myself .....i was ready to walk out to the hall when jackie came around the corner. she was beside herself with emotion. i offered to stay with her and she accepted. and let me tell you, it was the most beautiful thing i think i have ever experienced in my life. she talked to mom just like she was still here, joking with her the whole time about the way she would style her hair and mom would go right home and re-do it her way. mom loved her hairspray, and she fittingly bought a new can of spray just for mom called Helmet Head.....totally made me laugh.

friends came to my house afterward to hang out and help divert my attention. i stayed up long after everyone else called it a night so that i could prepare a eulogy.

on monday, just before the funeral service, we had a few final moments to say our final goodbyes to mom. i never imagined that would be so difficult. i truly felt paralyzed at her side. i didn't want to leave. my brother and step-dad wanted to be present for the closing of the casket----so she wasn't going alone. selfishly, it wasn't something i cared to experience, but being the 'go with the flow' person i am, i stayed. a very mechanical process, but a memory that isn't etched in my brain---thanking God that i have a terrible short-term memory. i knew there was a reason for it.

the ceremony was absolutely beautiful. not only was it directed by her Pastor, he was also mom's friend. that made it special. i wrote the eulogy for her, but couldn't bring myself to stand up and speak the words. i am forever in debt to my wonderful husband. he begged me to let him do it. then he went on to add his own words which just made me swell with tears. writing those words was the hardest thing i've ever had to do in my life. i'm so not good at stuff like that, especially with the realization that those are the last thoughts that those in attendence will have of my mom. then her favorite song was played called "Who am I" by Casting Crowns. (when doug gets home i'll try to figure out how to link the song from youtube.com) the room was echoing with a chorus of sobs.

the escort had the utmost respect for mom on the way to the cemetary. they changed the route from the funeral home to the cemetary so that we would pass the High School where she worked. the police escort sped ahead, parked his motorcycle in the middle of the intersection and saluted mom and the entire processional as we passed. just a small touch that was like receiving a big ole hug.

there was a short committal service at the cemetary. after the service i removed one rose at a time from the casket spread and handed one to each one of her family members. then we all dispersed back to mom's house for a reception.

yesterday was a blur. i was so exhausted. each minute seemed to be an hour.

i haven't had a moment to be alone with my thoughts and feelings. to really grieve. unfortunately the world doesn't stand still waiting for me to be ready to face it. i'm plugging along, one breath at a time. today is harder than yesterday was. i have always been the strong one....the glue that holds everyone together. but i don't want to be the strong one right now.

Mom's Eulogy
Like myself, and many others, felt yesterday, I think mom would be surprised if she saw how many people came to mourn her sudden passing. After all, mom was a private person and kept many thoughts and feelings to herself. But, even though she kept to herself, she always had a smile and a few words to share. It would never occur to her that she was so popular--that she will be missed tremendously. Yet the very fact that so many have gathered to celebrate her life says much more about her and her kindness and the impact she made on those around her than any words I could ever speak.

Mom did her good deeds slyly. She was content to stay in the background, not to be forgotten, but to quietly observe and help out without needing praise. She was a true nurturer. She always thought of others and how she could help them before she would give thought of caring for herself. Oh, and she never advertised that she was helping someone in need. It wasn't like Mom to boast about acts of kindness because to Mom, helping someone in need was just part of who she was and what she was here to do. Helping others and lending a helping hand or an ear to listen simply came naturally to mom.

Today, many people are here to mourn her passing. Without a doubt, her family will miss her most of all. But, I take comfort in the fact that so many others will miss her too. I will say, after experiencing the outpouring of love and respect yesterday and again today, I can't help but feel like I am receiving one big long squeeze of a hug knowing that mom touched so many lives during her time here on this earth. It is obvious that she didn't go unnoticed, and she won't soon be forgotten.

Of course, I will miss my momma. It wasn't until I became a mom myself that I truly understand the sacrifices she made for us kids. But most of all, I will miss watching her in her role as Grammy to her grandchildren. She was so very proud of her grandbabies. Not a day went by that she wasn't bragging on something that one of them had done or said. She adored them and they equally adored her.

Selfishly I want her back, if only to hug her one last time, for one last kiss and to tell her how much I love her. But I know that God will get me through, for I know that she's in the arms of God's mercy and she's finally found rest.

2 comments:

  1. This is absolutely beautiful. I can tell from your words just how beautiful and loved your momma must have been.

    Tania, you are strong, but don't forget to grieve and let go of those bottled up emotions. Have a good cry, then write down more precious memories of your mom. She'll be in your heart always.

    Hugs.

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  2. Tania -
    You Brought me to tears with this I wish i lived closer to you than a Country away. You thought and feelings are so important to write down I feel blessed that you shared them with all of us- the part I loved the most was your mom's hairdresser how she treated your mom while fixing her up. I can tell that your mom was loved by all, as are you-nena (we'll take when I get back from Lake Powell

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