Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day

Well, about a month after her 85th birthday, my mom died. She passed just two and a half months after my dad. I felt like this time we knew the drill because we had just done it. Back again in the funeral director's meeting room. Same coffin as my dad, same schedule of viewing on Wednesday evening and burial and memorial service on Friday afternoon. Similar emails with the church office, same order of worship for the memorial service—different hymns and Bible passages. Meeting again with the pastor to go over the service. Siblings flying in again for the obsequies—but not so many of my folks' grandchildren, as they had used up their money and time off just a couple months ago coming for my dad's service, and we also felt that their seeing my mom at that time, while she was still with us, and comforting her then, was more important than coming to her funeral.

Different weather. The day of my dad's graveside and memorial services, in early February, was the beginning of a severe winter storm. At the cemetery, a freezing wind blew ice crystals against us, and some people who would otherwise have come to the memorial service stayed home because of the driving conditions. The day of my mom's graveside and memorial services, in mid-April, was a lovely spring day, mild air, trees in bud, flowers in bloom.

Many kindnesses both times. My folks' church, Bethel Christian Reformed Church, ministered to us. The pastor, who had faithfully visited my parents in their final years, met with us, prayed with us, listened to our wishes for the memorial service, and preached messages of hope and encouragement. Organists, projectionists, sound technicians, and janitors did their work for us. One committee planned and prepared refreshments for after the service at the church; another prepared a meal and brought it to my house after the service so that we would not have to cook for ourselves that evening. The funeral home's staff were kind and professional. Friends and relatives sent flowers, brought us cards, and donated to the charities designated for my parents' memories. My co-workers took the afternoon off for both memorial services and attended them to show their love and support. My own church, Third Christian Reformed Church, upheld us in prayer. Facebook friends offered condolences.

Tomorrow, Mother's Day, will be exactly one month after my mother's death. On Facebook the "On this day" feature has been bringing up pictures of past Mother's Day celebrations all week. Tomorrow I'll host a celebration for my sister-in-law and niece, who are both mothers. Last year, we had to celebrate at the assisted living facility where my mom lived, but before that, we used to celebrate here. The ideas was (and is) that no mom would have to prepare the celebration and meal on Mother's Day. It's poignant to be back to celebrating in my home. It's nicer, more enjoyable, to be here, but there's a sadness to no longer having to accommodate my mom's frailty. She's gone now and has no more need of our care. There's nothing left to do for her—or for my dad—except live in the faith they nurtured us in and give thanks for their beautiful lives.


Barbara Sindlinger said...

Yes, this day will always be a different type of celebration. I try to remember and celebrate my mom even though her physical body is still not around.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Janette Kok said...

Thank you, Barb.

Marilu Veliz said...

Very nice words Jan. I hope today is filled with talk of wonderful memories. All of the holidays without our parents are difficult. Hugs to you today.

Janette Kok said...

Thank you, Marilu. I had a nice time with my family.