Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Until this year Memorial Day has always been another holiday to me. Yesterday two of my sisters and I gathered together some gardening tools, a bucket of flowers from their gardens and off to the cemetary we went. I've never gone back to the cemetary after the death of one of my family, but this year I did. My other sisters always went, cleaned up the markers, left flowers and in past years took our Mom with them.

It was a beautiful day, the sun shining over the long rows of flags the VFW had erected along the roads in the cemetary. We arrived with our gear to find someone had already been there ahead of us to decorate our parents, our aunt and uncles graves. We called another sister to find out if she had been there ahead of us and yes, she always came each year and this year was no different. We trimmed and washed the markers then went around to other family members graves and continued with trimming and setting out flowers. When we were finished we still had flowers left and placed them on graves that looked forlorn.

Memorial Day will never be the same for me again, thought only of as another holiday but as a day of rememberance for those who have gone before us and those brave soldiers who have given their lives so we may continue to live in freedom.

In the past year our family has come together, more so since we lost our Mom when before we saw each other once a year at our annual family picnic. I've come to appreciate my brothers and sisters not for who I think they should be but for who they are.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Very Special Quilt

Our family raffle quilt top for this year is finished. It's now at my sister's home for her to quilt on her LA. While there's nothing really special about the pattern or fabrics as it was a kit, the very fact that it is the very last quilt my Mom had her hands on makes it one very special quilt. In the past my sisters and I have never added our names to the drawing although we've always bought tickets for our children and grandchildren. This year we sisters are buying tickets for ourselves as well with high hopes of winning this quilt.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day the first of many to be spent without my Mom. My sis and I went to the cemetary to clean up the funeral flowers, leave a boquet of lilacs for Mom to enjoy and also made up boquets for our sister, her baby, my auntie and my BIL's granny from the best of the left over flowers. It was a peaceful day for us. I'm not a person that does cemetary visits but this year it seemed a good thing.

I've been spending my time scanning slides, boxes of them my Mom had taken over the years. It sure brings back fond memories as I scan pictures of me and my youngest sister. We have a special bond the two of us. Don't know what it is but Mom always said she was just like "Dona" and the next words out of her mouth were "I'll send you where they have a barbed wire fence and can keep you in". Funny thing, our farm was fenced in and that barbed wire never kept her in. Mom always used to threaten me with "I'll send you to the convent in Seattle where they have brick walls". It's been fun to look once again into the past and see my Gramma, my parents when they were in the prime of their life and us kids were all way younger. It's given me an idea for our Family Picnic this year....a picture board of "Back Then and This is Now".

I haven't had much time for sewing this past month or two but tomorrow my sis and I are finally going to add the last border to our Family Raffle Quilt and get the backing all ready so another of my sisters can quilt it. This year I'm going to add my name to the tickets as it's the very last quilt my Mom touched and will be special. I usually don't put my name in and buy tickets for all my kids and grandkids instead. We sisters have decided we should get together once a month for our own little quilting group. There's four us us living close and if we add our brother's wife and one of our nieces we'll have a nice little group. We so enjoyed the few times we all got together to work on the raffle quilt at Mom's apt.

This week is the last of the things one has to do to settle a loved one's estate. We see her Attorney on Thursday to see how to notify the rest of the siblings and one Granddaughter who is remembered in Mom's will. On Sunday we siblings will all get together and settle Mom's personal possessions. It will be a sad occasion for us all.


For all my blogger friends who left comments on my post about MOM

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My Mom

My beautiful Mother passed away on April 25th surrounded by her children.

My Mom was the sweetest, kindest, loving woman I know. I never saw her without a smile. She wasn't very demonstrative but we all knew we were loved. I never heard her utter a bad word about anyone and if we did she would frown. She never missed a Mass, getting there in the rain or snow. In later years she would make it to church coming in with her walker. In the past year when she was confined to a wheel chair my youngest sister and I took her to Mass on Sundays. When we arrived late on Easter her parish priest stopped in the middle of his sermon to welcome her. She touched everyone she knew in one way or another.

She was always "put together", had a matching suit of clothes on, a pin on her lapel and a handkerchief in her pocket. In later years when her eye sight became so bad my sister and I would do her clothes before we took her to mass.

She was a superiour cook and while I never learned to plan and cook a meal while I was a young girl, she taught me to make the best cinamon rolls which become my Saturday job while my older sister cleaned the bathroom. I can still bake a first class apple pie, my turkey's are stuffed to this day with her dressing and I don't make cinamon rolls any longer.

She was a knitter and taught me to knit. I could never master 4 needles making sox or mittens. My stitches were always twisted, but I learned how to knit sweaters.

She crocheted. Her doilies graced every table in the house. I learned how to crochet from her and made my own doilies. She left behind a suitcase full.

She was an exceptional artist. Her paintings won ribbons at the county fair, hung in her credit union and grace most of our homes.

She was a seamstress and made all her own clothing right down to her drawers. My 3 younger sisters all wore "home made panties". My youngest sister's biggest wish growing up was to have a pair with a label from a store in them. I can laugh at them, I always had "store bought" undies.

I never saw my Mom without a needle in her hand stitching away on a quilt. Her hands were always busy. As her eye sight failed she could no longer quilt or do any of her other crafts. She would reach out feeling her blocks and ask if this block was finished. I started quilting when I moved home after being gone for many years to spend time with her. She was always gone doing one thing or another and her quilting group was the only place I knew where to find her. She made and donated many quilts to raffle for good causes. She took blocks donated to her quilting group and stitched them together into quilts for donations.

There wasn't a craft my Mom didn't master. She always said she did a craft until she got it down pat and then moved on to a new one.

My Mom was a doer. When she wanted to move, Dad said sell the house. She put a for sale sign up and sold the house in Minnesota. We moved to Washington. When Dad was remodeling the farm house here, she asked when he was going to remove a wall. He said if you want it down take it down and she did. She got a crowbar and the wall was down when Dad returned from work.

Her sense of humor never failed her. She could and did whip out one liners even in her last days. When her medications caused her nose to drip and she would forget to wipe it, I'd ask where her handkerchief was, her nose was dripping. She'd look at us and say "see girls this is what you have to look forward to". My sister always called her the "princess and the pea". She didn't like wrinkles and even when her eye sight was failing she would reach out as she was going to bed and smooth her sheets. In her last days at the hospital she would say she was sitting on a lump and would laugh when we said she must be getting pleats in her bum.

She grew up in the depression and when my father passed away she never spent on herself. She had her trailer, the farm was paid for, she needed to save for when she could no longer live by herself. When we asked why she didn't move to an apartment she always said why she should pay to live somewhere when her trailer and the farm was paid for. She watched her sister go through every penny her husband had left her and spend her remaing days in a nursing home. Mom wasn't going to end up there. She spent her remaining days in her own bed at the Assisted Living. She grew up in the era you saved to leave something behind for your children and she did. She made sure the farm was intact and we had an inheritance. She always had everything she wanted. A very independant woman.

Our parents raised us with good values. We all learned you worked for what you got. You stayed out of trouble or you had to suffer the consequences. All 8 of us turned out okey, stayed out of trouble, grew up and went on to be decent folk.

I'll miss my Mom. We were never very close but she always chose to come stay at my home when she was released from one hospital stay or another. I loved my Mom and never knew how to let her know how much. I'll miss my Sundays taking her to church.


For a loving Mom who is watching over me now