Saturday, December 19, 2009

Goodbye, Mom - Part 2 Friends gather

Mother liked to get up early, get her jobs done and then have the rest of the day to read, write, knit, sew, garden or cook things. She loved to celebrate. In one of her hundreds of letters she wrote: " We Celebrate anything..ha, ha !! ..I got up early and did my household chores. Now I can do special things. Might even do some sewing.."

She loved being surrounded by friends and family. She reminded us to "Keep your life in balance and remember to smell the daisies."

The last few months of her life she put up her fall decorations, had her teeth fixed, had her regular health checkups, and prepared to settle in for the winter. There was a grand celebration at the beginning of fall. It was her 95th birthday. Her family collected a treasured scrapbook of pictures and letters of appreciation for her.

Her branch sisters had a wonderful party in honor of the oldest member of the branch. (Sister's Church Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).
The garden club gave her a life time membership to the Garden Club (I think it costs $15.00 a year) and in the spring, they plan to plant a tree for her in the park.

She worried about not having enough energy to properly thank everyone who had given her so much kind attention. She carefully wrote this thank you letter and then, as if she knew that her time was short, she decided to leave some important thoughts for all of her loved ones to read. She closed with a simple testimony. Here is the note in her handwriting, and then I copied her text on the computer.. The last step that she wanted before she sent out her final thanks.

(to enlarge the text, click on each of the letters and they will be easy to read).

This event was one of Mother's last celebrations. It was at Vickie Thomson's new home. (she was my old roommate from BYU) On that day some of her best friends gathered to honor mom on her landmark year- age 95.

It was a day of pictures, reminising, and deliscious food. Here is mother with two very close friends, Marty and Sally.

They prepared many of her favorite dishes and a beautiful cake. (I am sure that I am using far too many superlatives in this post)

They shared memories of mom about her years in Sisters, Oregon at the base of three snowcapped mountains called "The Three Sisters." They created a special song for her, and played the flute in her honor. It was a party fit for a queen. She couldn't stop talking about it and all the other friends and family who had gathered around her during the month.
When mother died, these old friends stepped in to help us put together an unforgettable funeral, one that she had been thinking about since our father died a few years ago. She wanted to include all her good friends and family.
She wanted to remember her friends in the community. She wanted a display of the scrapbooks that she was so proud of- showing off all of her family. She was always way to proud of the little things that we did. I am sure that her friends grew very tired of hearing about us. Mother wanted a beautiful flute number and one of her favorite singers in the branch. She wanted to hear from the best Home Teacher in the world- her dear friend, Philip Britain. She wanted her family to share our memories of her. She even mentioned several times a song that she didn't want sung at her funeral. I wrote it down but could not remember what song it was. I hope that in the end, we avoided it. She said it sounded too much like funeral music. Mother never thought that she was old.

Right after we discovered that Mother was gone, Emily sent this comforting poem. I so appreciated her kind, quick response. Thank you, Emily for your thoughtfullness. Thank you also for caring for the kids, so that Nick could come to Mom's funeral. And thank you to all of our children who flew in to be with us during this time. What an unexpected joy among all the sadness.

Through the weekend I wrote an obituary that was too long for Mom's weekly newspaper called "The Nugget." Philip received it by e-mail and sent it into the paper. I knew that it would be edited but we were in a hurry to travel from Denmark to Oregon. I think that Philip had some influence on the News staff. He convinced them that this 95 year old lady was an important person in this little resort town. She deserved a special, almost whole page for her story. When we opened the Wednesday paper to show our grandchildren.. they thought that their great Grandmother Richins was famous.

Here is her obituary as it was posted on their "" web page. (I added a few extra pictures- click on each page to read easily).

When some of our grandchildren arrived, we took Gretta, Sasha, and Jonah down to the florist shop to help us pick out some flowers. We were looking for flowers that reminded us of Grandma Richins- to go on top of her casket. We picked fall colors with colorful sunflowers.

These little kids love flowers just like their Grandma Richins did. The florist enjoyed their visit and when she brought the flowers, she stayed for the whole funeral. (This is Sasha, resting in a bed of impatients- and appropriate flower for her to rest in).

These grandchildren brought with them their sadness and concern for the loss of their Grandma Richins. It was a week to remember her... It was also a time to learn about hope.

I am so grateful that these brave little souls know that they will get to see Grandma again.

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful posts. I know we will come here and read these to remember this wonderful, kind woman.