Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ding-Dings for Mom

It's always hard to get back in the swing of things when you have an unexpected event in your life. Gram's memorial service was beautiful and I will always remember how Lily wasn't scared at the viewing, how she stayed by Gram's body, held her hand, and layed her little head in Gram's lap.

I have many things to blog about, but I also have an inbox piled high, so I just want to write a little something about my Mom. As I have watched her since Gram's death, I have really been struck by how wonderful a daughter she has been to her mother, both in life and in death.

Ever since Gram moved to Utah in 1994, Mom has always been there, taking Gram to the mechanic whenever she needed her Silver Bullet (1979 Honda Accord hatchback) worked on, picking her up for family parties when it would be too dark to drive home, driving her up to Salt Lake to get her hearing aides checked, etc. In the last couple of years, she has been Gram's "Wednesday Girl", always checking in on her on Wednesdays, often taking her grocery shopping or some other errand. Mom has made a financial contribution to Gram's monthly living expenses ever since Gram moved here, and she often bought things for her when she needed them, like a new computer and a new(er) Honda Accord when the Silver Bullet finally gave up. Mom took good care of her mother.

Mom was the one who found Gram when she passed away, all dressed up to go to Wendover with over $200 cash in her purse. It was on a Wednesday so Mom had gone over for her weekly visit and to take Gram her valentine a day early. Fortunately, my brother Don works just down the street, so he came and sat with Mom and helped her figure out who to call and what needed to be done with Gram. Then she called everyone in the family to tell them Gram had gone to be with her Cowboy.

Mom knew right where Gram's "Just in Case" book was, and with that she began planning the funeral, knowing some general guidelines of what Gram wanted, but really taking the reins, along with her sister Jane, on figuring out what to do for the viewing and the funeral service. Gram's wish was to be cremated (you can read the article she kept in her JIC book here), so embalming was unnecessary, and therefore put an urgency on the viewing. Mom was so great, trying to accommodate every one's schedule, and making sure all of the grandkids who could be there had enough time to travel in. She and her sisters took care to honor what Gram would have wanted.

After the viewing, we gathered at my Aunt Liz's house for some barbecue (it's not a Cox party without food!) My Mom included everyone in the planning of the memorial service and made sure all those who wanted to participate had the chance. She wanted a beautiful program for the memorial service and labored carefully over the wording, then had my brother David and I design the cover.

Amid all of the funeral planning, Mom began performing her duties as executor of the estate and began cataloguing all of Gram's possessions, with the help of her sisters and my brother David. She has taken hundreds of photographs, exhausted her laptop making Excel spreadsheets, and been sure to open up Gram's house for all the grandkids to go through and choose some momentos to keep. She's been very conscientious about making sure everyone gets something and has borne the burden of distributing everything in a way that would make Gram happy.

Surely Mom is grieving the loss of her mother, especially since she was so close to her and actively involved in her life. We have shared some tears together, but mostly Mom is positive and full of fun remembrances about Gram. I know Gram is so proud of how she has taken care of everything and knows that Mom will continue her legacy.

I love you, Mom!


Sue said...

I never really thought Mom looked that much like Gram; I always thought Jane had more of Gram's features. But looking at this picture, I stand corrected. Look at those noses! This picture was taken in June 2001 at Don and Lora's wedding reception.

Sue said...

Oops, not Don and Lora's wedding, it was May 2004 at Josh and Jenn's wedding. Gram was 89.

Spymommy said...

Your tribute to you mom has really made me think of my parents and all they've done for me in my life. It made me want to do more for them now, and made me realize what I will one day have to do for them. Thanks.

Matt said...

Great post, your mom rocks!

Becky in Wyo said...

Speaking of family noses, chins, eyes, etc., it occurred to me, even before reading your extra comments, that if you look at the young photo of Gram here, it looks a bit like you! Yes, it's true!

Thanks for writing this tribute to Mom. Very appropriate, especially as we look to the future, and think about who will carry the reigns of the family (meaning me, you, Don, & David). Gram was very much an anchor, the subconscious thread binding all the extended family together. As the years pass, the three sisters' families may become more independent, depending a lot on geography I suspect, and this closeness we've enjoyed as cousins may not be the same in twenty years as it has in years past. But who knows? A lot of that depends on us, how much effort we make to keep in touch. Go blogging! And you know, if you don't blog, you can at least post a comment here & there (hint, hint)...

Did I have a point here? Seems like I got side-tracked. It's occurred to me lately, that Mom has really made an effort to put a positive face forward on things. Very little negativity, much more effort to connect with all of us and her grandchildren. I don't know if it's a change in her, or if I'm just less immature than I used to be, and I can see things in perspective now that I couldn't before. I certainly think more and more of my mother and our relationship, as I try to raise an ornery daughter of my own. Was I that ornery to my mother? Wait, I don't know if I want the answer to that. But, then again, maybe I do. It's a curiosity thing, you know just to see if the Mother's Curse works (watch Bill Cosby Himself, classic comedy.)

You're right, we are in good hands, and can certainly seek to emulate our mother as the years pass. Thanks, Mom!

The Nelson Family said...

It's always nice to see your parents in a different light than just parents. They have done so much more than just raise us and so many times it all gets looked over.

Thanks again for today my little map girl!

The Queen Vee said...

My Sue you have grown up nicely. A Beautiful blog entry to honor a beautiful lady, your MOM.

Sara said...

What a wonderful Mother you have. I have always admired your relationship and the respect that you have for one another. I am glad to see you have each other during this time.I love you both! :)