A few weeks ago, I restlessly rented the movie "The Last Song". I figured even though I had already purchased the book, the movie couldn't be that different. While I found the movie to be decent, I was talked into reading the book by a friend who told me they were very different.
I just finished the book, and .... I LOVED the book far more than the movie and found it unfortunate that I kept picturing the character Ronnie as Miley Cyrus. I don't care for Miley Cyrus so that kind of messed up my own images of the character.
In short, I highly recommend the book and I vow to NEVER watch a movie before reading the book first!
Now that the one year anniversary of Mom's passing has come and gone, I feel as if a little cloud has lifted. I won't be following the dates of major happenings anymore. For example, first birthday without Mom etc. I'll just carry her in my heart and talk about sweet memories now and again. Now it is time to create and do the things I love with all my heart. That is what Mom would want. So I joined an online art workshop and have slowly began my creative journey. I am looking forward to it.
With my moving on, Friday Faves is back! Check out these great links!
Recently, I joined an online workshop for art journaling. The first excercise was a doodle exercise. Above you can see some cropped portions of the first 2 pages I did. Journaling is not an easy task. I love to write, but find it hard to put down my thoughts. Incorporating them with artwork is fun and freeing. I love the fact that you can't just read the page. I have had my journals found before and it is very disconcerting to know that your personal thoughts have been read by someone else. If you look close, you could probably read it all, but you would have to take the time!
I am participating in Gitz's YOU: Create Week 14
I am looking forward to more of the excercises in the workshop and I will share my pages as I go. If you are interested in the workshop, please visit my friends at Creative Workshops. The workshop I am taking is Artistic Journaling Your Way by Jodi Ohl. There are many to choose from!
Today, my little journey of remembrance comes full circle. One year ago today, I received the call from my sweet sister that Mom's ailing body had finally given up and a beautiful soul was released and set free. A little less than 24 hours after saying goodbye.
I'm sure some may think I tortured myself the past week or so, walking through my Mom's final days once again. But, it has been very cathartic. I appreciate the comments and I agree with those posting. Yesterday for instance, one person said how very heartbreaking my goodbye was to my mother and I agree 100%. Another person said how very beautiful my goodbye was and again, I agree 100%. Bittersweet and surreal. Walking back through it all, I realize I wouldn't change a thing. How fortunate I am not to have any regrets about those last days. Not everyone is that lucky. Some people lose loved ones in the blink of an eye, never getting the chance to say I love you, thank you, or you were the best. I did. And that makes me smile and brings me much comfort even today, one year later.
I realize now, having lost someone so close to me, how much I didn't understand about the loss of a friend, child, parent or any other loved one. I choose my words so much more wisely when someone tells me of a death in their family. I also realize, sometimes there are no words. Sometimes it is better to just cry the tears, hold the hands, sit in silence. Just be.
Speaking of just being, I have turned within in the past couple weeks. I am well, though many around me may think that I am falling apart. I have asked for space from friends that I previously talked to almost every day and appreciate that it has been given to me. Am I sad? Yes. But I also see the beauty of all of this. I have enjoyed the silence and reflection and will probably do a lot more of it, now that I know I can. Busyness and chaos is for the birds!
I wanted to post the memorial video from Mom's celebration of life service that my sister Mika put together, but she was unable to upload it to Youtube because of the length. So, I have shared it here on Lanie J. and Co.'s facebook page. I hope you will visit and watch it for a few minutes. It really shows who she was and how much she was loved. I will always cry when I watch it. I will forever miss and love her.
I also wanted to share again, this video that I posted on Mother's Day. It perfectly describes my life with my Mom and how I feel her close to me still. I know in my heart she is in a beautiful place, smiling down on all of us.
…and the mother grew old.
But her children were tall and strong.
And they walked with courage.
And when the way was rough, they lifted her
For she was as light as a feather.
And at last, they came to a hill
And beyond they could see a shining road.
And the golden gates were flung wide open.
And the mother said,
“I have reached the end of my journey,
and I know the end is better than the beginning.
For my children can walk alone,
and their children after them.
And the children said, “You will always be with us mother,
even when you have gone through the gates.”
And they stood and they watched her as she went on alone.
Hospice was finally able to get my mother comfortable. She was sleeping most of the time. I knew we were drawing even closer to her leaving this body that had tormented her for a lifetime and even more so in the last year. I sat by the bed while she slept. I kept wondering what I would say if she woke up, but I realized I had already said all there was to say. I had thanked her for everything I could possibly thank her for and told her with words that could only convey maybe an iota of how much I loved her that she was the best mother ever. And so, I just held her hand. She was slipping away. She didn't look at all like the woman that raised me. She was beautiful though. Such a peace and acceptance of what was happening. I remember in those final days how she would look at me when I cried and tell me, "Don't cry Lanie, it's okay."
At a little after 3 o'clock that day. The airport shuttle came to pick me up. I can still see the scene and feel the emotion as I stood at the foot of her bed knowing I had to say goodbye for the last time. I walk toward the head of the bed, then back to the foot, then up to the head... pacing. My sister stood by and watched me struggle with myself. "I can't do this... yes, I can... no I can't..." Finally, when I knew I couldn't stay any longer. I walked up, kissed her forehead, squeezed her hand and said, "I love you Mama" one last time...
This post was actually written 6 days after my mother passed away. I find great comfort in this story...
"One friend calls them kisses, one calls them blue flowers (great story to go along with this one). Doesn't matter what you call them they are the little signs from God that He is watching over us.
Earlier this week, my mother's best friend of 33 years called me. She visited my Mom just 3 weeks before she passed. Her name is Susan. Susan told me that my Mom told her she only had 2 wishes before she died. One was to see my father one last time. (They have been divorced for about 5 years.) The other was to see her 3 kids together one last time, which she also added that she was sure she would not see this wish come true.
The day after Susan left, my Daddy arrived (wish #1 come true). He spent about 5 days with my Mom. They talked and were able to resolve a lot. In the end there was only sweet, sweet love between them. While Daddy was there, my brother in law gave my sister 2 dozen red roses for their anniversary. My Dad cut one and took it in a small vase with some water in to my Mom. Two weeks later I was visiting and the rose was still there in perfect condition. My sister's bouquets had long since wilted as well as an arrangement I had sent my Mom earlier in the week. The day my Mom passed, the rose was still in almost pristine condition - a true testiment to love. When the mortuary took my Mom, my sister laid the rose on her chest. A kiss, a blue flower, a blessing from God.
I arrived at my Mom's bedside 5 days before she passed. The day after I arrived wish #2 came true. My brother was at a funeral service in Vegas. Something in the service struck a chord with him and he told his wife he thought he needed to see Mom. They were already half way to Phoenix and without an overnight bag they showed up at my sister's. I told him we had been waiting for our missing link to arrive, but didn't want to pressure him. Words cannot express how wonderful it was to see my Mama's beautiful smile as her 3 grown children stood at the foot of her bed. A kiss, a blue flower, a blessing from God.
In the midst of all the heartache. These blessings are what I cling to. God has been here all along watching over us. I take great comfort in that! :)"
"I am in Arizona now. The weather is gorgeous. We slept with the windows open last night.
On the plane ride on the way here last night, I was able to view God's amazing creation. We passed over the cold front that is headed for Houston today. So majestic watching big thunder clouds illuminated with lightning from above. Definitely not something you get the chance to see everyday and of course this "weather girl" absolutely loved it.
My Mama chose to stop her feeding source on Wednesday which has enabled her to get more comfort. She weakens by the moment and her grace and beauty in her surrender amaze me. I am sad, but I see God's hand moving and I lean on the fact he is holding us close at this time.
Hold your loved ones close, let go of the lies that the enemy wants us to believe, forgive. In the end there is only love. Time is a precious gift from God... don't squander it.
I so appreciate the continued prayers of friends and family."
"It is time to really settle in and just breathe. I am going to visit my Mom tonight and coming back on Sunday. This will probably be our last visit. Please pray for Mom and my family.
Thank you Aamie for sending me this quote today...
A Christian is a person who, when getting to the end of his/her rope, ties a knot and determines to hang on, realizing that human extremity now becomes God's opportunity. -Unknown
I received a phone call from my Mom. I was 3 weeks out from major jaw surgery and she had been in in-home Hospice care for four. Her only nourishment from a feeding tube. Her body frail and unable to keep down even water. She cried as she told me she couldn't go on anymore. She wanted to remove the feeding tube. (I found out later she had actually stopped the nourishment the previous day.) Could I please come? Worried about me more than herself, she wanted to wait till I felt up to the trip. Having booked tickets for 2 weeks later hoping to be further along in my healing process, I of course said the only thing I could... "yes". This was to be one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life. I was on the phone immediately and my tickets were exchanged so that I could fly out the very next day...
Before my mother passed away, my sister asked her what her wishes were as far as funeral services, burial and such. Mom's only request was that her body be cremated and separated into thirds. One third for my older brother to scatter in the mountains of Utah, where Mom and all three of us kids was born and where a majority of her life was spent. One third for my sister to scatter in the mountains of Arizona that Mom loved to visit so much. And one third to come to me to spread on the beach here in Texas. A place my Mom only got to visit twice but was enamoured with. These are also the states that the three of us children live in.
So each of us received a box and my Daddy received a mini one to hold close to his heart. My sister has not scattered hers, and mine sit on the shelf in my living room until the time I am ready to let them go. Mika and I both agree that we will know in our hearts when the time is right. At first I stressed over this, but I realize that in my heart I will know the exact time and the exact place that will be right for this significant occasion.
My brother scattered his portion of Mom's ashes in Hawaii on a recent vacation. He said he needed closure. When my sister told me he did this. I freaked out a bit and asked, "Didn't Mom want him to scatter his in the mountains near St. George?" to which she replied, "Yes, and I was kind of bothered too until I realized Mom didn't know Hawaii was an option!" At this I laughed and thought to myself, "Yes, this is perfect, she would have loved the view..."
When the mortuary separated the ashes there were some extra. My little sister has a friend who makes beautiful handblown glass beads and she offered to make some containing the remaining ashes of my mother. Here is what I received from my sister on this past Mother's Day.
A mobile. I am still looking for the perfect spot to hang this!
A closeup of the beads containing Mom's ashes.
A necklace with a beautiful pendant to hang close to my heart.
Beauty for ashes comes to mind. I can hang the mobile in a special spot as a sweet reminder and a part of Mom or I can wear the beautiful pendant on my neck and carry her with me. So sweet and special these are to me and they tell a story for my children too.
Credit for these beautiful beads goes to my sister's sweet friend Sangita. If you are interested in having some special beads made, you can contact her at... email@example.com. Or email me here and I will be glad to put you in touch with her.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. ~Isaiah 61:3