Good Easter Morning Sparkfriends...
Most of you have been with me the past 7 weeks as I have traveled a most challenging journey. I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions, going from frustrated, to hopeful, to happy, sad, and ultimately relief at the passing of my Mom.
There is one piece of the puzzle that I haven't shared with you...one incident that happened on the day of her death that was so incredible and I will never forget it! I wanted to wait until I had the time to share the moment in a blog so I could fully devote the attention to the "Letter" that it fully deserved!
Here goes: On March 26 a few hours after Mom's passing, we all gathered as a family at her house to support each other and decide where to go from there. We had all been discussing her funeral, the obituary, and her memorial, when we decided to into her room to look for her Mother's ring...that's when we found the letter. On her desk was an envelope that was unsealed and on it was written "To be opened upon my death", in my Mom's handwriting. Now , my Mom went into the hospital very suddenly for what we thought was a short stay, so the letter had to be written days or weeks before her sickness set in. It gave me goosebumps.
We decided to read the letter privately with just the 6 siblings present. It was heartwarming, sad in parts and comforting in others.....here is the jest of it. When I quote Mom it is loosely as I don't have a copy of the letter yet but will be receiving one as it is precious and we all want to keep it close in our memories!
*** She did not want a picture with her obituary! This made me chuckle...my brothers and sisters were surprised. Not me...she spent most of her adult life dodging the camera and hated having her picture taken. She thought her photos were terrible..I wish I had more photos of her now.
***She wanted her memorial to be to the Friends of Father Philip Allen memorial. This supported seminarians and she loved Father Allen...no surprise here.
*** She wanted to be buried in a size 20 gray dress that she had worn to some of the grand-children's weddings. Now it was hard to honor this request. When my Mom passed she maybe weighed 120 lbs...hardly a size 20. When we looked at the dress it had a stain on it that could not be removed. Mom prearranged her funeral...she had done this many years prior. She picked out a pretty dark blue casket with light blue interior but next to the gray dress it looked like civil war colors. We buried Mom in a pretty cream colored outfit, but secretly tucked into the foot of the casket and unknown to all but her family, the grey dress lie.. to be buried with her forever. We felt like we honored her request.
***She wanted my niece Laura to sing. She is a very talented singer who many times has sung at weddings and funerals. She sang the Ave' Maria before the funeral and it was stunning! I don't know how she held it together.
That was all the requests that Mom had and all of them were honored, but it was the rest of the letter that brought tears to our eyes and left me feeling sad that I had no clue what was going through my Mom's head in the months prior to her death!
Mom told us she loved each and every one of us and that a day didn't go by that she didn't pray for us! She said she would continue to pray for us after her death and that she "believed in the power of prayer!" She then apologized and hoped that she "hadn't been a burden" and said if there were any hard feelings..."she was truly sorry"!
Oh my goodness....the sadness I felt when I heard this. It was so comforting to me to know she loved us and prayed for us everyday..and would continue to do so after her death, but so sad that she thought she was a burden! If anything..we were the burden. She was widowed at 37 years of age and raised 6 kids from 7 to 17 years of age...how amazing. She did all of this alone...with no family to help her. If I did anything to imply that I thought she was a burden...I am so sorry! I sat in the hospital day after day and heard doctors say how frail and weak Mom was....how wrong they were! Physically yes... but they knew nothing of this amazing woman's spirit, her dedication to her family, her unselfishness and fortitude. A burden...Never!!
The letter we found is priceless....I find myself thinking of it often! I believe it was written around Christmas when Mom shared with another lady, that she was "tired and ready to go". The many years of suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, I believe, took it's toll. For whatever reason she wrote the letter, I just wished I could have told her some things before her death, rather than learn how she felt after. I have hope in knowing that she is smiling down on me from heaven, and she knows how much she is truly loved and how our hearts will miss her forever.
Thanks Mom for all your sacrifices...love you!!