Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a great lady.
She was loved by many because she loved many. Funerals, which seem to show us the things that really matter when all is said and done, are so instructive to me, and Carol’s was no exception.
I took notes so that I could write all of the inspiration I received in my journal, and so that I could share it with you.
But first, an experience I had on Sunday.
I’ve been praying for opportunities to talk to women who are ahead of me in their parenting and grand parenting. I want to learn what they know, to hear what they have discovered and how I can apply myself to learning how to create the experiences I want for our growing family.
I had such an opportunity when Julie and her husband knocked on our door Sunday afternoon! I hadn’t met her before, but after a few short minutes of visiting, while our husbands were busy in a conversation of their own, I asked her how she feels about being a grandma and how she does it. She told me about how she has grown and how her outlook has evolved; how she has come to find ways to keep her grandchildren close by inviting them to work with her or to spend time with her one on one.
The magnificent take-away for me was when she wisely said, “You just find ways to share you with them.”
That sentence has given me a week’s worth of thinking. How can I best share myself, my life, my interests with my grand children, while also finding joy in who they are, in their interests and talents?
Then on top of that food for thought, I got to attend the funeral of my dear friend, where I got to see exactly how she “shared herself” with her children and grand children! It served as a great illustration!
Her daughter spoke and gave many of her memories, along with memories from her siblings:
“She spent all of her time serving us. Mother was talented. The best time was walking in the door from school and smelling her bread baking. She had a green thumb. She loved her raspberry patches. She loved her flower gardens. She loved having a vase of fresh daffodils on the table. She always had music playing, and if there wasn’t music playing then she would whistle! If you had to get up and go somewhere you didn’t want to go, she’d serve you apple crisp and ice cream for breakfast! There was always a mystery drink in the fridge..what ever was left over mixed together, nothing was wasted. She was a hard worker. We always lived in a clean home. She made lists. She was organized. She made cookbooks for everybody. Genealogy books were done for children and grand children. She sewed my brothers up when they hurt themselves, numbing the spot with ice first. She chewed us out when we did something stupid and hurt ourselves. She loved humming birds and preying mantis and we would have to go look at them with her. The dog she loved the most was the dog of whichever child’s house she was visiting. When we drove we sang songs. When traveling her motto was, “never pass up a bathroom opportunity.” She showed an out pouring of love when her children or grand children made mistakes. I will miss her long hugs. She had a quiet confidence and was a good example to others. She listened without judgement and gently encouraged us.”
These are some of the memories spoken by a grand daughter who was representing all of the grand children:
“She always put Altoids in tissues in her pocket. She was always rubbing your back or hands or feet. She told me all kinds of stories out of her imagination. She wanted to know how my life was going. I will always remember her homemade bread! She loved me. She made me a ninja mask. She always had a hug and supportive words. I took her on a ride on the four wheeler and her hair was all puffed up and we laughed like crazy! I helped her fill her humming bird feeders. I liked watching her sew. She was an example of love and service. When I think of her, I think of service. Family always came first. She made us special boxes when we turned 12. She was patient with me when she taught me how to cook. We loved her hugs and kisses. Warmth, smiling and waffles. It all comes down to a feeling of comfort when being around her.”
“After the prognosis last week, that she had only a few weeks or possibly months to live, the family left the doctor’s office and walked into the hallway. Mom said she had accomplished everything she wanted to do and had no regrets. The next morning, she said, “it’s time to get going,” and she died that afternoon. She was gentle and frail in so many ways but so strong in many others. She loved the rain and hated the snow. She is, and will continue to be brilliant as a teacher and as a testifier.”
Can you see how her personality, her likes and dislikes, her talents and interests became the treasure she gave her children? She shared herself and that was the perfect gift. She didn’t seem to spend her time trying to be someone else, or putting herself in competition with others. She gave who she was, and that is inspiring and liberating to me.
Thank you Carol for your love and friendship. And mostly for your walk as an outstanding wife, mother, grand mother and friend. I will miss you so much!
Love and hope on.