Oh my, how she would have loved the flowers. The roses, gladiolas, irises, spider mums, lilies, and did I mention the roses? Red, coral, pink, peach; all just beautiful, sent by loving friends and family. That said, knowing my mother in law, she probably would have liked the dish gardens the most because they last!
In October, she sent us a dish garden as thanks for the plane ticket Bruce gave her to see Michelle, Mallory, and Annabelle. She knew how hard it is to accumulate frequent flier miles and wanted to thank her son for his sacrifice. When she flew out of Orlando to Minneapolis, Bruce got special permission to take her to her gate, making sure she was safe and sound. Seeing her only great grandchild was such a special treat and we are now so grateful she made the trip. While there, she did what she could to help around the house, just like she always did.
Unlike many elderly people, her funeral was very well attended by so many wonderful people, including some notable politicians or their wives. It was with joy that we received the many kind words from her wide circle of loved ones. For the visitation, Bruce made a picture board of her through the years, and Cris and the clan made a fantastic slide show with wonderful music. Looking at the memories through the years, what struck me was how she would try just about anything. I especially liked one of her on Judy and Cris's jet ski!
Because of the distance between the burial plot and service, we decided to do things a little differently. Her Zellwood friends, and there were many, many, of them, would have a hard time driving into town so we had the burial first, followed by a celebration and luncheon at her church. Darden was kind enough to provide the meal, and Angela was kind enough to pick it up in Altamonte Springs and drive it out there! Like a good neighbor, Angela was there.
The pastor held up pretty well throughout the service, we sang some favorite hymns, "A Mighty Fortress is our God," "It Is Well With My Soul," and "How Great Thou Art." Testimonials were given by loving friends, and Pastor Nadine read a message from Matthew, which she told me privately she had to read several times aloud in preparation to ensure she could make it through. But, what really got to her was the lovely church ladies, sitting in the back pews, who rose near the end of the service to prepare the fellowship hall for the luncheon. All she could think of was that only two weeks ago Judy would have been one of those selfless helpers, paving the way for the rest of us.
So, Bruce and Jonathan have gone to the movies, seeing the new Mel Gibson film that neither Alissa, nor I, would want to see--you know the kind--a guy movie. However, Bruce is spent. I suspect tomorrow, after Jonathan leaves, will be tough. We're planning on skipping the market again, letting him catch his breath before leaving Monday morning for four days.
Until a person experiences it, you can never imagine what it is like to lose a parent, let alone your last one. All of sudden, the people who brought you into this world are no longer a part of it, and that is very, very hard to take.
And yet, we soldier on. As I'm typing this I'm looking down at my right arm and hand. On my right ring finger I'm wearing her mother's ring, and on my wrist is the wide gold bracelet she wore most of the time. It doesn't feel right just yet, but with time, I'm imagining it will be an enduring connection to the past and her love for us all.
Special dispensation for grammatical errors today please.