Thursday, September 20, 2012
My Dear Reader, in my last post I shared that mother was coming to the end of her long illness, and I am sad to say that she passed away at home in Connecticut around 9 am on Labor Day. I was with her for her last breath for which I am grateful, though it is not an easy thing to experience. A friend of mine said, "You accompanied her to the other side. You did some heavy lifting." Which is an accurate statement as I have been exhausted since then. Several years ago my mother was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a incurable disease of the lungs. For the last sixteen months, she has been pretty much confined to her bed where she was beautifully and lovingly cared for by my father. It was my wish to go with mother and my father too through this experience and help them as I could.
We had a memorial service, or Life Celebration as she wanted it to be called, this past Saturday at the Guilford Funeral Home. My mother was a spiritual person and talked a lot about what she wanted at the event which included a profusion of lush flowers in pink, purple and red, her ashes in an urn with fairies coming out the top of it, and overhead a festive chuppa, the kind of structure found at a Jewish wedding. We - my father, three siblings and in-laws - pulled it all off, and it was standing-room-only for my mother at the Guilford Funeral Home for her moving and beautiful service.
TD designed the wonderful program filled with my mother's favorite quotes and photos –
Working on that service and going through with it was the hardest thing I have done in my life so far. Every action felt like a Herculean task - every action, another good-bye. If you have lost a loved one perhaps you know how I felt. My family was so very grateful for everyone who was there with us in person and in spirit. I spoke at the service and talked about how much my mother influenced me growing up as she shared all of her interests with me – fashion, decorating, style and art. And speaking of that, she loved this blog. She was its biggest fan, sending me a quick email and telling how she liked practically every single post, which now number over 400. How I will miss my fan.
My mother holding me when I was six months old –
My mother and father at a wedding before they were married –
Later, in the 60s, at a cocktail party –
More recently –
Through her long illness, my mother had a wonderfully positive attitude. I never heard her once complain or whine about her condition. She had no regrets or resentments, and she was not afraid of death. She was an inspiration to all who visited her, and a fantastic role model for the final phase of life. When I visited, she kept me busy. She wanted everything to be in order when she left and so we went through a lot of possessions and papers, discarding things as we went. "I can't take that with me to fairyland," she would say with a shrug.
On summer vacation in the Adirondacks –
A wee child in the woods –
A fairy in fairyland –