Four months after my mother’s passing, we finally held her memorial service.
Yesterday was a very long and hard day but we all made it through to the end. It had some highs such as seeing the friends of my parents from when I had been a child – many of whom I haven’t seen in a good 30 years but I still knew them when I saw them. The funniest thing to me was how I was now taller than all of them – even the ones I remembered as being such tall men and women. (I guess I grew a few inches and they shrank a few?) The day also had some lows such as hearing my father eulogize my mother’s life, his voice shaky and cracking at times. I found if I looked down at my purse instead of directly at my dad I could listen to his words instead of his heart and that helped me make it through without totally falling apart.
My father will soon be traveling to David, California to have yet another service for my mom where the friends who knew her for the past 30 years can say their goodbyes. I am glad I cannot make that trip; it was hard enough to hear him eulogize my mom the first time around.
The bonus to my weekend was that I got to see my nephew – so much like my brother, Johnny, that it was like getting to spend time with him again. He has my brother’s mannerisms and most of his personality, although he is his own distinct and wonderful person. My heart lifted and lit up from the inside every time I saw his face. It went a long way to easing the grief over my mom and brother.
Thank you to all of you for the strength and prayers yesterday. Several of us went down to the Kauffman Garden after the service and spent an hour walking among the flowers – my mom loved it there. Hundreds of tulips were open and dancing in the breeze and it left us all feeling renewed.
Last night we celebrated her life at 54th Street Grill and Bar – something that has become a new family tradition. I thank those who contributed to the gift certificate that helped pay for our meal – it was a beautiful and thoughtful thing to do. Our friends and family took up most of their tables but we did our best to run up a decent tab to make up for it.
Today, we woke early to have breakfast together before putting my Uncle back on a plane and sending my sister back to St. Louis. My nephew and sister-in-law took off very early to drive back to their home in Houston as well. I came home and went back to bed, will do a little laundry this afternoon, and then plan to take it easy the rest of the day. Monday, I will put my best foot forward and “keep on keepin’ on” – just as my mom did every day of her life.
If there is one thing I have learned from all these years of photographing nature, it is that no matter what (or who) dies away, evidence of their being here on earth is always present in the new life that continues to flourish. I will do my best to represent my mother’s life on this world in the days, weeks, and years to come.
We will remember her often and miss her deeply.