April 13, 2011

My Mom ~ Feb. 26, 1948 to April 6, 2011

Where to start?

3 weeks ago today my mom was at a dr. appt talking, walking and just being my mom. She didn't feel great but she was here. Who would have thought that 2 weeks later to the day that she would be gone?

None of us, that's for sure.

She has been gone for a week now and I still don't think I have fully grasped the reality of that. I can't believe it has been a week. I am sure that I am still in some sort of shock.

Yesterday we had her funeral. It was beautiful! The service was nice. I made it through giving the eulogy with only a few teary moments. The weather was amazing. We had a luncheon afterwards that was very nice - thanks to all the help we received from friends and family.

As hard and crazy as the last 3 weeks have been, I don't think they could have been any better. We had time with my mom to share and say goodbye, she didn't suffer and linger long, she had a beautiful service. Considering the situation, it was as good as it could have been. I will forever be grateful for that blessing.

Now life has to find a new normal. We have to find a way to deal with the hole that has been left in our hearts.

If you're interested, here is the eulogy I gave:

First I want to thank you all for being here today to celebrate my mom’s life and remember with fondness the way she has touched your own lives. I am certain that she is not far from us, and looks over these proceedings with great joy and tenderness. She would also want all who are here to feel great peace and comfort in the knowledge that life truly does continue beyond the grave, and that love shared between family and friends never dies. I also know that my mom would want this service to be light and cheery so I will do my best to make that happen.

After these services you are all invited back to my parents house for a luncheon. We hope you all can come as we would love a chance to speak with each one of you. There are directions in the back if you need them.

I would like to begin by reading a poem titled:

Gone From My Sight

by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone"
Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

I know that as we said goodbye here on Earth, that in Heaven they were jumping for joy and shouting “here she comes!”

When I unexpectedly returned home to the kids last Wednesday morning after staying at my parents for 3 days to help care for mom, the kids asked “is Grammy ok?”

My immediate response was to shake my head no. But I quickly realized that was a very earthly, a very mortal answer. That in God’s plan, Grammy was more than just ok so I quickly changed my answer to “yes, Grammy is ok.” And she is. In fact, she is better than ok. My mom has returned to her Father in Heaven with honor after a wonderful Earthly mission.

We sat on the couch and explained to the kids that there was a big celebration in Heaven as her family and friends welcomed her home and congratulated her on a job well done.

I believe it was Hailey who asked “Is Max there too?” (Max is our dog that passed away 3 years ago) and we said “yes, Max is there too licking Grammy to pieces.” This seemed to help all the kids feel a little bit better. Grammy was with Max and Max was with Grammy.

We also told them that we would see Grammy again. Some day we will each have a turn to return to Heaven and we asked them “who do you think will be the first person in line to give us a hug when we get there?” They all smiled and said “Grammy!”

And if I know my mom, she will probably be close to the first, if not the first, in line for each one of you too for she loved each of you so much. To know my mom was to be loved by my mom. She loved everyone and you could feel it by just being with her.

My mom was an amazing person. She was an amazing wife and mother, and she got to live an amazing life. She was born to Arthur and Gertrude Hammond on February 26, 1948 in Long Beach, CA. Her and her brother Richard grew up on the beaches in Southern California.

In 1970 she met my dad at a party that neither wanted to attend. But fate stepped in and they both went and in 1972 they were married. They were married for 5 years before yours truly joined their family in April 1977. In 1978 they moved from Southern California to Northern California where they have made their home for the last 33 years and made some incredible friendships. In October 1982 Bryan joined and completed our family.

Over the years, my mom and dad were able to travel all over the world. They were able to go to Switzerland, to Alaska. They were able to see the Pope in Rome. They took a Mediterranean cruise where she found her favorite place of all - Portofino. She loved it there! Not only did they get to go to all these amazing places, they were able to share them with some amazing friends; many who are here today.

She taught me and my brother many things. She taught us to be honest. She taught us to be kind. She taught us to care of others. She taught us to pray. She taught us how to express our love for others. She taught us to be happy and look for the best in people and situations. She didn’t teach us these things by telling us to do them. She taught them to us by the way she lived her life; she taught us by example.

Plus, my mom was a lot of fun! I am sure you all have stories of having fun with my mom. I would like to share a few of my favorites with you today.

When my brother and I were about 7 and 12, we rented a Nintendo game where you were an airplane and you had to land on an aircraft carrier. We were getting frustrated because we couldn’t do it. Neither of us could figure it out. My mom came in and asked what we were doing and we explained the object of the game. She asked if she could try. We thought this was funny because my mom was not the most gifted with technology or video games. She took hold of the remote and started pushing all the buttons and to our amazement, she landed the plane perfectly on her first try. She handed the remote back to us and said something like “well, that wasn’t too hard” and walked out of the room. Bryan and I looked at each other and started laughing like crazy. We have laughed over this several times during the years as we thought it was so funny.

Another time we went camping and both my brother and I were able to take a friend. We had a girls tent and a boys tent. During one night a huge thunderstorm came over the camp ground. There was lightning and thunder right over us and it was pouring rain. In the girls tent, we got scared and decided to go to the van for safety. We couldn’t figure out how to get out of the tent and that led us to getting the giggles. Once we managed to get out of the tent and into the van we started telling scary stories and freaking ourselves out. We laughed so hard and had so much fun.

I also asked each of my children their favorite memory of Grammy.

Evan said playing with Grammy. He loves how she used to get on the floor and play cars with him. He has a “city carpet” and they would drive around for hours. I came home one day and they were both laughing hysterically. On the city was a lady sitting on a bench and they had come up with a game where Grammy would say “watch out for Boo-Boo Betty” and Evan would “accidentally” crash into her and they would just laugh and laugh.

Hailey said her favorite memory of Grammy was having a tea party with her. They would get my mom’s real, fine china tea set out and put juice in it. Then they would go outside and drink their tea and just sit and talk.

Kayla said her favorite memory of Grammy was spending the night one night and they were swimming after dark. They had the pool light on and were sitting on the steps in the pool just talking and hanging out together.

It is memories like these that we will keep close to our hearts and remember Grammy.

Family was very important to my mom. She loved to do Sunday dinners. We loved Sunday dinners too, not just because of the delicious meals she always prepared, but because of the love she also brought to the table.

My mom was an amazing person. I have used that word a lot today - amazing. I don’t know a better word to describe her.

My dear mom lived her life well and she continues to live inside each of us. She will forever be in our hearts. I love you mom!


Forever Green said...

Beautiful, Jenn. What a great eulogy. Thanks so much for sharing. Love ya! Kristen

Nikki said...

I'm so glad you posted that poem, I have told so many people about it. Love you Jenn!

The Gardener said...

I bet your mom was in heaven laughing also as you shared those wonderful memories you all have of her. Well done!
The Trumans

Paul White said...

I also enjoyed the few meals that I was able to share with your mother. And she encouraged me at the same time seemed to understand my struggles as my walking ability was declining. I enjoyed the talks that I was able to have with her!

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing that. I would have loved to have been there and now I feel like I got a little part of it. Love you!