This Mother's Day almost snuck up on me in the midst of our grief combined with everything that goes along with saying goodbye to a loved one.
Carol's memorial service was yesterday afternoon. It was beautiful; a combination of tears and smiles as so many are.
Her church friends outdid themselves. Their Bishop and the home teachers led the service and kept it as upbeat and affirming as any memorial can be.
I'd asked for one song, probably the best known in the Latter Day Saints hymnal and one that gives me chills (the good kind) and sometimes tears whenever I hear it. My Mormon readers will know "Come, Come Ye Saints". It tells the story of their pilgrimage to Utah and speaks to the triumph of the spirit over what seems to be overwhelming adversity. Each of the four verses ends with "All Is Well, All Is Well". It's always spoken to me of hope and courage. I couldn't sing for my tears but listening was enough.
Tim (my youngest son), Tasha (girls' mom) and I represented three generations of the family and each managed to say a few words about Carol. My girls (fifth generation counting my adoptive mom still going strong at almost 95 back in Albany, NY) were all there, sitting with family and friends. It was their first experience with the death of someone very close. They did well although I know how hard it was for them.
I remembered much about Carol at her best. Happy and full of enthusiasm and energy. She did so much for the girls that I couldn't. She taught them how to ride bikes, roller skate, dance. She took them to the park and not only pushed the swings, she swang (swang?) right along with them and provided the counterbalance on the see-saw. She slid down the slides. She took them swimming and splashed alongside them in our little pool each summer. We had sing-a-longs around my old, battered, piano. She was much better at reading aloud than I (I kept dozing off) and read to them almost every night; even after she became ill and they were older. She always kept the wonder and imagination of a child. Her granddaughters will miss her more than they realize now.
Update: I'd forgotten until I was just now reading Mamaloo's post about the frustration of finding a good hair salon. Carol cut all of our hair until she wasn't well enough to continue. It's taken us 3 tries to find one that matches her talent.
Somehow I managed, I hope, to convey her spirit and delight in life.
The women of the Relief Society prepared a wonderful luncheon for us after the service. I took some pictures of all of us, even Ray. Maybe I'll post them later. Haven't decided yet.
The photo at the top is my Mother's Day tribute to my beloved daughter. Her two boys and my two youngest sons are very close to the same age. It isn't dated but 1982 or '83 sounds about right looking at their ages. We were all in San Francisco then, Jim must have been in about his first year of high school. I'd searched through my albums for it; Tim found it in his and held it in his hand all through the service.
From left to right,
Carol's youngest son Jackie, now 30
My Tim, now 34, and Carol's older son (girls' dad) Wesley, now 32
Jim's best friend Robbie who lived with us through most of the high school years (long story)
Carol in her mid twenties
My older son Jim, who will be 39 next month and is serving in the California Nat'l Guard on the Mexican border. He couldn't make it but will be home this weekend for his youngest son's first birthday and Mother's Day. His wife is expecting another child late this year which will bring them up to 8 kids and one grandchild between them.
For my tribute to my two mothers, see here
and here. I wrote them in May of last year so most of you may have already seen them.
Again, thanks to all of you who have commented, emailed, sent cards, flowers, etc., and done so much to make these last few weeks a little more bearable. If I missed replying to any of you, please include yourselves here.
Take care and have a good Mother's Day everyone.
Congratulations to Diane, a first time Grandmother. Mom and little girl doing well after a precarious start. I know she and her family back in Arkansas would appreciate your good wishes.
Diane and I became acquainted when I saw one of her comments on another blog. I checked her out, saw Bay, AR, and left a comment of my own saying something like I bet I was her first visitor (other than people who know her in real life) who knew exactly where Bay, AR is. I lived five miles down the road for 8 years. Small word, the internet.