Her service was a very informal affair, held at a church that her Grandfather had founded, by the name of 17th St. Christian Church, which is just a few doors down from the house my Mother grew up in. These ties to her youth and family made the location of the service really come together. Her Brother had put together a slide show and pictures of her life played out on the screen at the front of the church. Her oldest Sister spoke first, sharing stories from their youth and teaching me that my Mom loved WWII history (how did I not know that?). Her younger Sister spoke of how grateful she was to get to spend time with my Mother in her last years living in Texas. My Sister read from my blog post which I wrote immediately following her death. We closed the service with a prayer spoken by her Brother-in-Law and all that were in attendance shared both tears and smiles.
We stayed longer and talk drifted from Mom to other members of the family. Memories of things we’d done together. Clarification of who was who and how all the people fit together. It felt good to be in “her” life, physically close and talking with the people that were so important to her. A group, that sadly, I have lost touch with as an adult.
As things wound down at the church several of us moved to a restaurant to continue catching up and remembering. Outside the restaurant was an old locomotive, significant because my Mother’s Father (my Granddaddy that I never met) worked for the railroad and was a killed in a train accident.
One of the things my Mother did was make jewelry out of beads and we still have bags of necklaces and bracelets of pieces she had created. Prior to her service my Sister and I went through the bags and we each picked a piece that matched what we were wearing. It seemed appropriate to be wearing something she created at her final farewell. We brought the bags to the restaurant and let everyone pick what they wanted for themselves. They also, each picked a piece that matched what they were wearing and as we ate and drank and enjoyed each other’s company I found it special that we were each adorned with something she had made. She would have loved that.