05 November, 2006

How to Express...

The gratitude I have for my family. I am truly blessed. Thank you to all for prayers on our behalf.

Mammaw's funeral - the honoring of her life - was special. The reunion with family, sweet. I will update this post as I am able, adding a photo or two.

Mammaw wanted my brothers to sing some of her favorite songs, but they were surprised by a couple of her choices. So, they asked me to help them...then we added other singing family members (including my nephew who just flew in from Iraq!) to the mix for a capella backup, and it was a special way to pay tribute to our Matriarch. We knew it would be difficult to get through it, but we sang from the back of the auditorium. We had about 90 minutes to rehearse and pull together the following songs:

"You Raise Me Up" sung most by Josh Groban. My brother and a nephew sang this, with our family choir backing them up.

"Wind Beneath My Wings." I sang this one, and another brother joined me part-way through as a duet, with family backup.

The chorus, as most are familiar, begins like this:

"Did you ever know that you're my hero,
You're everything I want to be-"

The words could not be more true!! She was a pretty great role model, and she did so much with her time here on Earth.

Then we all sang a four-part, a capella Annie Herring Song called "There's a Stirring."

It just felt right. She would have loved it.

She was an adorable, sassy lady who looked very much like Barbara Bush (really!) who would tell you exactly what she thought about anything. She loved shopping at Dillards and dressing like a lady. She collected music boxes, and I'd spend time listening to all of them as a small girl.

Mammaw's husband was once the mayor of their fair city and an elder in the church. He was an architect and designed church buildings and other structures. He loved modern architecture and had some futuristic designs kept in storage of funky, modernistic space-houses! My grandparents ran a dress shop back in the 60's and 70's named "Todd Fashions." I remember getting to pick out little girlie things from the shop, like scented powder with a powder puff and mitt or flowery bubble bath stuff. Mammaw also cooked for a local snack shop for teenagers. She made the best hamburgers, complete with saut├ęd, caramelized onions. I still make them just like she taught me. She also taught me how to make her (best-in the world!) tuna salad sandwiches and her favorite cole-slaw. I'm told that I'm a lot like her.

Photos of them from the 20's and 30's made us grandkids think that Grandad was a gangster, and that she'd been a flapper :-), that they were actually part of the witness protection program and changed their lives completely.

They lived in the same home for many decades; it is the only home I remember, besides seeing the one my mother grew up in in pictures, and when we'd drive by it on visits to their little city. The house that we live in now has a very similar floor plan to the way theirs used to be before they added on a huge kitchen to the back, and an extra room to the side. It's a little comforting in that sentimental way of just being "home."

As Mammaw's obit read, survivors include her four children and their spouses, 13 grandchildren (one, my favorite cousin, preceded her in death in a small plane crash exactly 13 years ago), 36 great-grandchildren, and 15 great-great grandchildren. What a legacy!

At the grave site on Saturday, the clouds rolled in and the winds had picked up substantially in the rural Norman, Oklahoma cemetery. After greeting and hugging some of my Aunts and Mom in the "tent," I realized that I was standing right before my late-favorite cousin's grave, and the urge came over me to place some of Mammaw's
flowers on Grant's grave, as I did when Grandad died not too many years ago. I said a prayer and patted his grave, and looked up and saw his parents, my Aunt and Uncle, and hugged on them. My cousin was an awesome guy who was working for the Senator of Oklahoma in Washington. I loved visiting him when we lived in Boston and he was working in D. C. For whatever God's reason, he was taken home before he turned 30, and someday we'll see him again.

Appropriately, the rain has arrived here, and I should sign off for now.

Hug your families, make amends with your loved ones and friends. Spend your time on Earth ~well.~ God has a reason and a purpose for your life. Don't squander it!


1 comment:

tootlepip said...

Javamom, I am glad that the cermony went well. Your closing sentiments are taken to heart!