When you can’t have a traditional funeral service due to a pandemic, you make due and you find a new way to celebrate and say goodbye to a loved one. Yesterday we did just that. Our family of 13 gathered at the funeral home – no social distancing. We had a service that my mom would have loved…
There wasn’t any “rules” or “order” to it – we made it 100% her. We chose what to read, what to play and what to say. It was intimate and beautiful. I even had a typo in her program that I designed…left the “t” off of my brothers name….we called him “Rober” our French sibling all day. Even in this occasion we found laughter – something our family was and is so good at. Mom would have laughed at that for sure!
We also had many personal tie ins that made the day perfect.
My dear friend who my mom loved, worked for at one time and considered a dear family friend did all the flowers. They were gorgeous…so many of her favorite flowers. She really went above and beyond to make them special. No tacky ribbons with funeral wording “Mother” “Wife” etc – just flowers to honor her. Each grandchild had a small vase they could take home with them along with a framed picture my sister gave them.
We had some of her favorite pictures and some of our favorites too. Pictures of her at some her most special places and with people she loved….her wedding, New York, the cabin and with her family. Pictures that honored who she was…a wife, a mother and a friend to so many.
We had her favorite reading – 23 Psalms read by my husband. We had an essay read by my sister that my grandmother (Mom’s mom) had written in college about Mothers. My daughter and niece sang “You are the Reason”. My niece sang “I Just Cant Help Falling in Love” – a song all the grandchildren sang at their 50th anniversary party. My daughter read 2 beautiful poems…this one was my favorite:
I read a poem and a couple quotes that I love.
“Blessed be the cracked, for they let in the light”
and from the book The By, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse…
“What do we do when our hearts hurt?” asked the boy
“We wrap them with friendship, shared tears and time…til they wake hopeful and happy again.”
We shared stories and favorite quotes from mom – all of us laughed at our favorite one “Jesus Jack” – a quote we heard a lot over the years.
We had favorite songs played:
More – Andy Williams – was their wedding song
The Rose – Bette Midler – piano version by our dear friend Lovely Lisa in NY she recorded and sent. This song was always special to my mom – our dear friend Denise had it at her funeral and it always made us think of her.
Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra – piano version by Lisa
It’s Alright to Cry – Rosie Grier from Free to be You and Me – a favorite movie we would watch with my mom as kids – and still love it!
Into the Mystic – Van Morrison from the movie “Immediate Family” a movie she liked…and was about a pregnant young girl.
New York New York – Frank Sinatra – Our family song that ties us to our NY family and friends.
Soul Shine – Allman Brothers – she loved that song.
After the service we went back to my dad’s house – spent the whole rest of the day there – eating, drinking, singing, laughing and remembering mom. Kids were singing, dancing, yelling having all kinds of fun. The house was filled with laughter and love – just like mom would want it.
The past few months have been rough – she was in pain not knowing what was going on with her and then finding out it was cancer and how fast it all went was and is still so devastating. But one thing through all of this is the strength and closeness we have as a family. Never have we been closer…and that is something we learned from her. She would be so proud of us all…