Friday, May 18, 2012

Celebration of Life

My family gathered on Mother's day to celebrate our mom, Ann, who recently passed away. We are a big family so it was a good opportunity for many of us to gather and just be with each other. We may not have talked about mom a ton and emotions were on the positive side rather than sad, but I think she would have wanted it that way. With Ann's favorite country music playing in the background we talked, played games, ate, and laughed knowing that she was still with us even if it was only in our hearts and memories.

James with his Auntie Connie



Jolynn, Angel, and Jacey



Greg and Jim

Graham, Quentin, and Evan


Uncle Chuck encouraging my child to balance on rocks. That's why they call him Uncle Fun.

Riley loved her cousin, James, and chased him around the yard.


My silly attempt to get a picture with my uncooperating child.

Judy made sure everyone ate a cookie. She's always trying to look out for everyone and was our host for the day.

Riley took this picture of her daddy with a little assistance from mommy.

Then she turned the camera on me. Jesse apparently knows how to pose better than I do. Yikes.

My mom's funeral was on Monday evening. I was impressed by the number of people that attended, but not really surprised. Between Ann and my dad they are well loved. Whether it was neighbors, co-workers, friends or family they came from near and far (some even cutting vacations short). The memorial was led by the Deacon of a local church whose parents also came from Sicily as did Ann's parnets so he was able to make a special connection. It was a touching memorial that included the sharing of a lot of great memories of my mom.

I know I usually take a fair amount of pictures at gatherings, but this was a time that I left my camera in my purse except for one picture I just had to take. My mom was a huge fan of cows... ceramic, wood, concrete... just not the real ones. She had an impressive collection of cow collectibles. Years ago some of her grandkids attempted to count them all and gave up when they hit 200. When my dad and siblings were trying to decide on an urn they struggled with what to do. When my brother died almost 4 years ago my dad made an urn out of cedar wood and I used a wood burning tool to burn my brother's name and dates on it. I included a couple cowboy hats as that was my brother's nickname. It might not have been as fancy as a purchased one, but it's value was far greater. So when it came to Ann's urn selection my dad decided he wanted something that also had a lot of value to Ann and to the family. He glanced up at the cows crowded on their family room shelf and knew what he needed to do. Sitting on the shelf was a cow teapot that was just the right size. And that is how my mom came to be buried in a cow tea pot. Some may find this odd, but it really seemed perfect for her.

The day after the funeral we went to the Fort Snelling Cemetery for the internment and followed it up with a nice lunch at the hotel my nephew works at. Later that day, my Aunt Doris, Uncle Stanley, and Uncle Lester came to visit my dad so I brought Riley over there as well. It was nice spending time together. 

Dad, Stanley and Doris


I am grateful to have the family I have and the support I do. The have certainly made a difference during this time and I appreciate the love and support they provide for my dad as well. As sad as it is to lose someone, I know Ann is in a better place. (And now, she finally gets to meet some of her idols such as Michael Landon and John F Kennedy.) R.I.P. Annie.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jo,

    Thanks for commenting on my website. I'm not sure how you found it, but it seems like our Internet lives connected at a good time. I'm so very sorry to hear about your mom. I hope your days are filled with memories of her (and with people who know what to say or when to say nothing at all.)

    I'm so thankful I had my toddler when my mom passed away. He was a reason I had to get out of bed, a reason I couldn't lay around and cry all day, and because he was oblivious to what was going on, he was a source of comic relief during a difficult time. I hope your daughter provides those moments for you, too.



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