We brought back from home my Dad's desk. I remember him doing his book work at this desk. It reminds me of him. I am happy to have it. It needs some work but my friend Laurie who is refinishing an old desk I had is coming this weekend and she will educate me. (Laurie is this really rewarding friend in that she is really, really smart, very well read and researches everything to the nth degree. And in this case I will just get to use her well researched and well thought out knowledge.) There are maybe 4 spots on the desk that I will refinish. Then it will be a home for all my stationary, pens, ribbon etc. And every time I get to sit there I will get to think of my Dad. This is a great compliment to the table of my Mom's I got. Both are small pieces that fit nicely in our small condo.
When my Dad died my dear friend Laurie sent me a Memory Box to acknowledge my Dad's passing. A couple weeks ago this frame and photo of my mother came in the mail and I of course burst into tears. In both cases Laurie had John lift a photo and send it to her to be used. I love this picture... Mom is a young, little tomboy with pigtails and is on her bike. Thank you Laurie, you are the best.
We process in and sit down. John immediately turns to me and says, "I don't have my reading." Well this is a very short ceremony and Jen's Aunt and Uncle start their part in Hebrew. I say to John you have 2 Bible apps on your iPhone, get that out. That made him remember that he sent the reading to himself. So he opens his gmail and finds the reading. This is as the Mom's lit the unity candle and Jen's brother spoke in Hebrew and did something with wine. John reviewed his reading and was called on next. He of course got up and read beautifully. Later we found that Mack had a copy but of course it would have been disruptive to have to ask for it. Nice save.
Matt and Jen wrote their vows. The things Matt said made me know he will be a great husband. I remember I choked up when he said that he saw Jen as his equal and went on to say he didn't need to be with her but wanted to be with her.
And then it was hours and hours of eating and drinking and dancing. A good time was had by all.
As I said yesterday Jen is Jewish and we were told that at a Jewish wedding it was the guests obligation to have a good time. Her Jewish side of the family is much different that Matt's repressed Christian side. It was complete with Matt's friend Mack who got a license (or something) to marry them off the Internet. John's reading (or how his iPhone saved the day, more on that tomorrow) the glass being stomped on, fabulous band, and the kids being hoisted up on chairs with all of us dancing exuberantly in circles around them. Not to mention Jen's quintessential Jewish Uncle Sheldon, and her family who was SO nice and friendly and welcoming. I feel like we made a lot of new friends.
Saturday we left Madison at 5AM and drove to Cleveland for Matt and Jen's wedding. Matt is my oldest stepson. This was absolutely hands down the best and most fun wedding I have ever been at. Being somewhat geographically challenged I never really looked up how far Cleveland was from Madison. But it is 500 miles one way. We listened to books on tape and I knit. I was surprised how doable the ride was. We got to the hotel, changed and went to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Which was at this cute little place.
I am ALL about the details. I could not have topped this wedding even if I planned it myself. 3 days of fun. This was a Jewish/Christian wedding. Matt told us that when you go to a Jewish wedding it is your OBLIGATION as a guest to have an extremely good time. Apparently there is even a Jewish word for this. And we did. That is saying a lot since I don't really even like to go to weddings.
More on the wedding tomorrow as we are settling back in today...
I am left wondering who they are for? I assume they are for the grieving families. As someone who has attended both her parent's funerals in the last 5 months I know that the funeral was that last exhausting thing I had to get through. There was nothing in those rituals that gave me solace. And I am all about the rituals.
Yes it was nice that so many people came, that they sent cards, that they said nice things about my parents. It was nice my parents were so well thought of.
Possibly if this was my small town that I lived in or if I really knew these people who came it may have brought comfort. But I felt more like a hostess at a party I didn't want to go to.
So now I will find photos of my parents the way I want to remember them, not in their last days. And I will find a candle and create a spot on the corner of my desk for them. And I will grieve them in my own introvert way.
Maybe this was the one last thing I was to do for them, I don't know.
That is my parent's house... At the end of the road, through the trees... brown house with white shutters.And here is their final resting place... to the right of the white statues by the light pole. It seems really strange that my parents would live in one place for over 50 years and then in death move a scant 2 blocks away. Seems strange to me but probably not to them.
One of the many things my Dad did in his small town was take care of the Cemetery Association. I vaguely remember Dad and my brother Bill mowing the cemetery too. We had a map at our house of where people were buried. People would come to our house to get a lot.
And now my brother is in charge of this. Small town continuity.
I am so lucky. I had such good parents. And I had them both for such a good long time. My Mom passed away quietly at home late last night. She had Alzheimer's for 10 years or more and she stayed way beyond her time. Dad died February 13. My parents were devoted to each other and their wish was to go together. In the end Dad tried to outlive Mom but just couldn't. And knowing their relationship I don't think Mom could go before him. She lasted almost 5 months without him. So I'd say they got their wish. My parent's marriage was an ongoing love story. Mom once told me that when Dad proposed he told her if she married him she would never want for anything. I asked her once if she ever did and she said no.
My Mom was spunky and feisty, had a great sense of style and probably had the cleanest house in town. She was an absolute mother lion about her children. Woe be unto the person who wronged one of her kids.
I remember overhearing her telling my Dad when I was to start first grade that she intended to tell those nuns that NO ONE lay a hand on one of HER kids. And I am sure she did. She took me to school on my first day. I wore a darling large-check pale blue gingham dress with a big round nun-like linen collar with a bunch of fake flowers pinned on it. She situated me in a front row desk. And she said she would be out in the hall where I could see her. And she was.
My mother resented every meal she ever made.
She enjoyed every cigarette she ever smoked.
When getting married Mom said to get as nice a ring as you could, in case it was the last thing he ever bought you.
...and don't marry a farmer, you will have to work too hard.
I remember years ago telling my Mom about some work problem I was having with a co-worker. And she asked me why I thought that was happening. And I said that I didn't think this person liked me. My mother turned to me with a look of astonishment and said, "Who wouldn't like you?" And she actually meant it. I laugh every time I think of that.
While sad, I am so glad my Mom is now gone. Her leaving has been a long, hard road. It is comforting to know that she is again with my Dad, where she belongs.