Time to check in for a lot of us. July 29th was one year since my mom died.
Last week we finally got all the family from around the country together who could make the trip and took her cremains back to her beloved St. Louis to be buried.
She had been married to my dad for 25 years before he died and to my step dad for 37 years before his death. So we buried her with both of them. The way she wanted.
(I may have reconsidered honoring that request had I known the work of planning TWO funerals!!)
The first day we went to where my step dad is buried and had a bagpiper because my step dad , a singer, loved to sing Danny Boy.
About 30 of us participated. We handled the services ourselves. We figured no one knew her like we did. My brother MC'd and those who wanted to speak did so...my 6 year old granddaughter read a poem by Longfellow that my mom used to recite to my brother and I.... THE SWING. My SIL recited a poem by Emily Dickenson..I think it is titled..I Could Not Wait for Death...And the bagpiper piped 4 songs...then my brother and I placed the urn into the ground ourselves. Everyone who wished, threw a flower in and then we all took turns shoveling with her beloved grandson Jim finishing the job.
We then left with her favorite phrase of ..."Let's Go!" and we all descended upon the local favorite eating place to celebrate.
The next day we took her to where my father is...there were about 50 that day. My brother hired a guitarist and he played along with the 5 songs we chose.
Shall We Gather At The River and The Old Rugged Cross because growing up in her grandfather's Baptist church those were the ones she sang to us.
Then was "Stardust"..one of many of her generation's favorites and "Smile" because hers did light up a room and it was the last song played for her by the guitarist visiting her residence the day she died.
And lastly, a song I chose.. by the Beatles, In My Life. Look up the lyrics. Fitting. I was able to sing along on all the songs except this last one. Choked me up.
Same poems were read that day too.
The 4 little ones gathered at the beginning of both days and my brother opened the urn so they could place trinkets and notes they made or wrote for their great grandma. THey didn't know there were ashes there...we told them we were burying treasure. Treasure that would be there forever. Yet, they understood what was happening. When the 4 year old threw a rose down onto the urn he whispered, "bye Grandma". He then asked for the shovel.
BTW.. I sent her off with her car keys in one of the urns and her eye brow pencil in the other.
My nieces brought old timey wooden hand held fans for everyone with a Carl Sandburg quote .. "I take you and pile high the memories".
We also had the Alzheimer's purple bracelets with "Let's Go" on them.
About 35 of us also went to a Cardinal's basebal game while up there...she loved her Cardinals and while there a teeny tiny bit of her ashes...oops ...fell onto the field. They won that day.
So...we were all there for 5 days...5 days to celebrate and bring to a close the long life a strong, feisty, wonderful, loving..sometime pain in the arse, lady.
It has certainly been a year of transition. Not a morning goes by without thinking that I am not going to go visit her..check in on her, walk her, sing to her, fight for her. It is not a sad thought...more a thought of relief, mostly for her, but yes, a little for me too.
I follow a few of you elsewhere and am exhausted by the thought that you all still go on. But it is what we do...we go til we don't need to go any longer.
I have to say that I never felt an overwhelming grief at any time since her death. More a peace. Do I miss her. Of course, but it has been manageable. The one thing that surprised me the most.
I think of you all...I thank you all.