Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, March 1, 2010

Laid to Rest

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon after driving home from Plainview, Texas. We arrived there Friday evening and within 10 minutes, were hobnobbing with the extended family. There are five siblings in my hubby's family, their spouses, their children, and their children's spouses. In addition, there are numerous first cousins and all of their families. I am an only child and have one child, plus four first cousins. That's the extent of my family, so when we gather with hubby's clan, it's an intense experience for me.

I knew I hadn't begun my grieving process during the drive down--I was irritable and lost it a few times over meaningless drivel--not at my hubby--but at the slightest thing that didn't go smoothly. As soon as I recognized what was happening, the tears began to dribble.

Saturday morning, last minute details were handled and at 1:00 pm, the limousines arrived to take the family to the cemetary. It felt odd to have the burial before the memorial service, but there were good, logical reasons for that decision.

If you could say a memorial service had a theme, this one's was faith and optimism. Looking at the broad strokes of my mother-in-law, Mildred's, life, you could say it was tragic. She lost her mother when she was 5, her daddy when she was 19, and her husband when she was 45. She raised 5 children as a single parent during the 1960's and 70's and never remarried. But she would tell you she had a wonderful life and continued saying that, right through her diagnosis of acute leukemia and subsequent death.

The sister-in-law who spoke for the inlaws at the service said of Mildred that she had 10 children, not five, because she embraced all of her kids' spouses and loved us as if we were her own. She embodied what unconditional love means and that, my dear friends, is hard to replace.

My trickle of tears began to flow as her daughter began to speak, and four speakers later, they were still flowing. When "Amazing Grace" was sung, I nearly lost it, because that is the one song I sang to her over and over again during her last weeks on this Earth.

She was laid to rest next to her beloved husband. I sure do hope they are together somewhere "wonderful."



L. Diane Wolfe said...

May you find peace now and let the healing process begin.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I agree with Diane...it sounds like a lovely service and now maybe you'll have the closure you need to grieve. And definitely give yourself as much time as you need.


Mason Canyon said...

Diane and Elizabeth are right. It will take time but the healing will begin now. Give it the time it needs without rushing it. Remember the fun things, let the tears come when they need to, and face the next step with the knowledge of your mother-in-law's strength and commitment to guide you.

Joanne said...

It sounds like a beautiful tribute to a well-loved woman who touched many lives. You are so fortunate to have been one of them.

Cyndi said...

What an amazing lady and tribute you all paid to her.

The Old Silly said...

"I sure do hope they are together somewhere 'wonderful'."

I'm sure they are, Karen. Go ahead and grieve - it's a process you must go through. My dad's been gone for 10 years and I STILL have waves of melancholy. But I take comfort in knowing his trials and pain is over and he's in a "wonderful place" now.

Marvin D Wilson

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I hope the wonderful memories you have of your mother-in-law help to ease the pain as you go through the grieving period.

Helen Ginger said...

It sounds like a remarkable service. How wonderful that she had such a great life and was surrounded by love.

Straight From Hel

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I found my sister-in-law's recent death much easier to deal with once the memorial service was over. It was if I could finally take a breath, look around and realize life continues.

Tamika: said...

Praying for you Karen in the days, weeks, months ahead. It sounds like she lived a rich life.

Sharon Lippincott said...

My tears are right there on the surface along with yours. I'm seeing that the more inspiration, light, and love flow from a life, the more beautiful the memorial service. These services truly do reflect the lives they memorialize in ways I had not recognized. Your words have made that very clear to me, and laid down a challenge of sorts: To live the sort of life that will inspire such a service, not because of the service itself, but because of the value in the here and now of living that way.