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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Planning the service. Saying goodbye.




I've been spending some time the past few days talking about and planning my mom's memorial service which will be coming up soon.

Emotions are, of course, running the gamut.

Since Mother's humor was always a bit off center and irreverent, I think she'd throw her head back and have a good laugh over this little story.  How I miss that laugh.


The service is going to be at a cemetery in Atlanta and her remains will be placed next to my dad's.

It'll be a small group of people my mom loved fully and unconditionally.


I had planned a butterfly release.



Well.

That's not as easy as it sounds.

Easy enough to get the butterflies, of course.

There are several companies who do this, many on-line and it's all just magical.  


But once I started reading instructions, I decided this might not be the thing for us after all.


For example.


The instructions include things about keeping the butterflies safe, slightly chilled and dormant after they arrive up until release. This includes ice packs and gel packs and checking every 12 hours. Keeping them out of direct sunlight while transporting.


Then there are instructions regarding warming and waking your butterflies.


Then there's the factor of perfect weather conditions. "For a successful release the butterflies need to be released during daylight hours and outdoors in temperatures above 65 – 70 degrees. They will not fly at night, in the rain, extreme wind or cold temperatures."

So, say it's less than 65 degrees and we open the butterfly box and nothing happens.  

Suppose we were to peek into the box only to see a whole bunch of butterflies huddled together, shaking their beautiful little heads saying, "Oh, no.  It's a bit nippy out there.  We'll just stay right here, thank you very much.  Carry on without us."

Or.  

Worse.  Suppose they were all dead.

Whoa.

How's a person supposed to hold up upon finding dead butterflies in a box at her mom's memorial service?


The guarantee gives instruction on replacement if "due to unforeseen circumstances, should your butterflies arrive expired, please call us within 24 hours and return them for credit."


I'm sorry.

Magical or not.

As beautiful as it could be - we're not going to do this.


Mother would understand.


This, she would agree, is not something you should try at home.  Just leave it to the pros.


I'm thinking butterfly releases might be more for someone with a wee bit more experience in this activity than Don Barley and I possess. Besides which, we're staying with good friends and they would be the ones accepting shipment and the ones responsible for the ice packs and gel packs.


As good of friends as they are, I'm not exactly comfortable asking them to be responsible for making sure the butterflies make it the service alive and well.


And LordAMercy - even the very thought of the butterflies arriving expired.


Really?


Really?


No.


Just.


No.


So. Balloons will work just as well. 


Balloons and flowers.

Mimosas.  She would expect mimosas.

Perfect.


Don't you think?


And we'll have stories.


And we will laugh.


and we will cry.


We will remember the woman who made me who I am - the good and the not so good that I am. She loved me unconditionally and let me know it every single day. That doesn't mean she didn't let me know when she was unhappy or displeased. Boy Howdy. 



And we will say goodbye.


Standing with me will be others she loved.  And who appreciated her for the complex, elegant, raucous, dramatic, cape wearing, bling loving fun and funny self.

I've had copies of one of my favorite pictures of her made. This week I'll put them together with some packets of Forget-Me-Not seeds.


Her favorite flowers were always purple and blue irises, which she carried when Donald and I got married.  I'm hoping to find some for the service.


The picture I'm using is one that was taken before the wedding ceremony.


She was SO happy.


She had fallen heads over heels in love with Don Barley.


He became a rock in her life.


When there were things she couldn't talk to me about, she turned to Donald.  Especially toward the end.


And he was always there.


Always completely there.


And he loved her every bit as much as she loved him.


They were adorable together.


They encouraged the mischievousness of one another. Sometimes with more glee than necessary.


She traveled with us some up until the past few years, and those trips were always a joy for each of us. I'm not sure any three people on God's green earth ever laughed any more or any harder than we did.


We played Canasta together and again, WHY would a card game bring about such hilarity?


Who knows.


But it was lovely.


So, so lovely.




Our friend John is hosting the service for us.


That just seems fitting since he was the man my mom chose as the person to walk me down the aisle when Donald and I married.


My dad was no longer with us by this time, so John graciously accepted his duty and then sat next to my mom during the ceremony. He's been a part of our family for many, many years. A person my mom loved.  A man Donald and I love.


He will do a perfect job.


The ceremony will be lovely.


Even without the butterflies.






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