cancer, family, healing, humor, running, society, travel

Comfort In Times of Grief

As we travel back home in a caravan of 4 cars, I wonder how many of us will make it back…My dad and brothers have turned out to be horrible drivers, weaving in and out of traffic like maniacs!!!

After the first memorial service for our mama P is over, we are Indiana bound again! This week, my family experienced almost every emotion possible, yet we are still somehow held together……

Yesterday was the most emotional day for us, with the memorial time looming. We spent the morning thumb tacking pictures of Patty onto poster boards. We were still surrounded by one another, but quieter than normal.

We had decided earlier in the week to walk a 5k together in honor of Patty, prior to the service…the same 5K course that she ran close her house frequently. Renee had gone out that morning to get us t shirts and craft items so that we could each decorate a shirt with something that reminded us of Patty. For our family, we were fairly quiet during this process too. The kids used heart stickers and letters to spell out grandmas name. The adults used paint to make breast cancer ribbons, and markers to say encouraging phrases.

After we were done, we shared our designs with each other, and just as always, there was plenty to laugh about! First off, none of us were truly gifted with the talent of the artist…but we tried! When I put my shirt on, the breasts I had drawn on the front of my shirt were PERFECTLY placed…only one was larger than the other…. which I think is fairly normal! The shirt that won though, at least in my opinion, was my brother Nathan's! He had crafted a large gold chain around the neck of his shirt, with gold marker. Then, with block letters, payed tribute to his Mama P by putting her name on the chain. However, in traditional Nathan fashion, he didnt spell it right…So it said, in GIANT letters….. MOMAP.

We laughed at his expense for a long while, but he still wore it with pride, claiming he got the gold chain at a discount store! I guarantee Patty was smiling at him from above!!!!

The walk was phenomenal! We challenged each other with daring feats, the kids picked up treasures that were really trash….it rained…….we got burrs on our shoes and clothes….we ran, we talked, we walked, and we complained if it was our turn to hold the baby or the dog!…..but mostly, we laughed ALOT….

Finally, after getting ourselves dolled up, we made our way to the memorial service. It was interesting to mingle with people that none of us knew well, but that knew and loved Patty dearly. Somehow I found myself fascinated, as I watched near strangers well up with tears, as they spoke about my mama with love in their hearts. She had touched so many people….people we knew nothing about.

The service was beautiful…it was a perfect tribute to Patty. It was simple and elegant, just like herself. All of her quilts were on display, as well as a multitude of other things she had made with her own hands.

As the songs played, with the pictures of her past on the screen, I admit, my gut and my heart took a jab. It didnt seem right that she wasn't here. My heart hurt more as I watched my own children mourn, and even more when my youngest daughter went to the front of the church to grab her quilt off of the railing during the service itself. She needed comforted, and what better way than in the arms of her own grandma.

With the tears though, also came laughter. It was nice to hear uplifting stories of our mama P, by those who loved her here in Texas. Also, it was nice to reflect with my family afterwards, about the service itself.

Before leaving the church, we all left smiling. My sister in law Penny told us a story about her infant daughter Emma, cooing and playing during the service. She said she was doing things that she and my brother had been trying to teach her, but that she wouldn't EVER do. They both felt certain that she was playing with her grandma! My brother feels that Patty was playing with Emma to get back at him for acting up in church so many times in his own youth! We all could picture her doing this, and felt content to leave there believing exactly that! She will be greatly missed!

When we got home, my sister in laws and I made our way to Pattys closet, where we each found a sweatshirt and sweatpants to wrap ourselves in. Somehow, it was comforting. All of us then made our way to the fireplace, where we cuddled under Pattys quilts, sipped on wine, and shared stories about our lives, and shared memories of Patty. It seemed strange that we would be leaving here without her this time.

Today, we packed up as a team, and are continuing to travel in a family unit. We have already picked at each other about who the worst drivers are, who has to use the bathroom the most, and who wears the biggest granny panties (which so far is me)! I'm sure in the next couple of days we will share ALOT more laughter and adventure, before heading back to our normal chaotic lives.

We have one more memorial to prepare for next week in Indiana. Though that is the one that will be the saddest, as it is our final “See ya later”, I can't help but to feel lucky for what I have had, and continue to have in my life.

 

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4 thoughts on “Comfort In Times of Grief

  1. What a beautiful way to celebrate your Mama P. I hope it’s not weird to say that I felt a part of everything with you reading your blog and I am in awe of what this wonderful woman brought out in all of you. Thank you for sharing this here.

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