Tag Archives: grandparents

Be Talking About Death (Green Burial)

There are people in your life that show you how to live well and die well. People that you have the privilege to watch come full circle in life.

My gift of grief and my true knowledge of the circle of life was given to me by my mama in 2013 and if you have followed my blog the last decade, you know her beautifully, deep story begins here.

This blog isn’t about my mama’s journey, but about another woman, and her thoughtful husband who brought such life and wisdom into Steve and I’s life. These wise and kind people are Colleen and Murray. Sexy Neck’s Grandma and Gramps.

See, when my mom died, it was a shitstorm of 25 days. Truly. My sister was on holidays in Australia. It was Christmas time. As a family, we had never talked about the possibility of my mom dying even though she was living with a very serious cancer diagnosis for over six months. It’s a perfect example of “seeing things how we are, not how they are.” We had no plan. No map. No idea what to do. It was the perfect storm for chaos and overwhelm.

GG and Gramps showed me how different death and celebrating a life can be. Gramps died one and a half years ago from cancer, within two weeks of being diagnosed. GG has been living with Alzheimer’s for over a decade. GG peacefully died a few weeks ago.

It was wonderful. A true celebration of lives well lived. Gramps was cremated. GG wanted a green burial. Therefore, in this picture Gramps lies with GG in the most beautiful wicker basket. The funeral home had never done a green burial before. I think they were as curious as us all. But GG and Gramps had a plan and the family, Linda, Ron and John, just had to follow the plan.

It was beautiful. The pastor shared many special memories. We saw family and friends we hadn’t seen in years. The great-grandchildren (my boys and their two cousins), an uncle and aunt, their great-uncle and his partner even went on a scavenger hunt looking for other relatives in the cemetery. Gramps had brought their spot to be laid to rest many, many years before.

What a privilege to watch Gramps and GG’s lives to be celebrated. What a gift to have them in our lives.

Now, the journey becomes personal. What do I want. How can I make things beautiful and simple for my family. It is with one hundred percent certainty that I know we will all die sometime in the very distant future. I know that I want to live and die well. Really well.

Thank you for the gift Gramps and GG! We love you. We miss your presence in our lives and we will miss our visits at The Quay.

Off to talk to my family about where to spread my ashes and the celebration of life that I want to take place in a gymnasium with bouncy castles and cotton candy.

Be A Cross Country Skier

I have skied since I was a child, but I can’t say I loved it.  I have memories of whining alot when I skied… oh that’s where our three year old gets it from!

Since having our oldest, almost six years ago, I have been cross country skiing and loving it.  My great friend, Diana, got me into you, got me organized, and inspired me to train to climb to the top of the mountain.  Now there has been no turning back.

Being a mom of boys, the reason that I love cross country skiing, is the exercise I can get when my boys are having fun too!  I pull a chariot that my boys can ride in or I can “drag” them behind on their skis.  Fresh air, white snow, beautiful mystical trees, sunshine above the clouds, who can ask for more?

Now we even has a dog trail so the whole family can have fun while exercising.

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I really believe that cross country skiing is one of the best family activities I know.  Everyone sticks together while going at their own pace.  We often have Nana and Papa joining us on the trails.  Also our lodge serves healthy snacks: granola bars, sandwiches, soup… no french fries in sight!

Be a Waffler

My husband’s grandfather has always amazed
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He is our navy man, computer savy, duct tape selling, all around incredibly loving and nice guy.

The first time I met Gramps it was around my future in-laws kitchen table, but a few times later I was invited over to Gramps and G.G.’s for breakfast.

Who was behind the kitchen counter? Gramps was, wearing his apron and his chef’s hat, oh how he loves to wear silly things. Gramps whipped up a batch of his waffles and even threw in a few eggs or two on the side. You could see the love pouring out of the bowl into the hot pan. You could hear the playful chatter between Gramps and his family. It was an amazing meal, the first of many.

Every weekend, we try to re-create Gramps’ ritual of waffle making. Who wouldn’t want to?

Waffles symbolize for me, such joy and an amazing time together as a family.

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Thanks Gramps for passing on this ritual to our family. Plus the maple syrup and peanut butter on top isn’t too bad either. (Yup, I said peanut butter!)

Be Grateful

How do I express gratitude for some very special people who do so much for me?

I have tears in my eyes as I write this and try to express my feelings.

From the moment I was born, my parents have provided me with support, love, encouragement and they have never stood in the way of my dreams.  They have not been perfect, nor would I ask them to be!  But they have been unwavering in their love and willingness to help me.  They have watched me go off to University to chase a little white ball around a volleyball court, get married at twenty three, move to Europe and back three times, give birth to three little blonde boys and now get ready to follow my husband to a new job in a new city.   Whew! 

I think my parents have painted more walls in the houses of I lived in than I have!

My parents have been the sole second caregivers to my children.  They spend a lot of time thinking of crafts, reading books, taking them skating and letting them have the run of their house.  

They have always bought thoughtful gifts and things that we truly need, even if I don’t think I need a beautiful KitchenAid mixer!  Oh, but I did and how I love it.  My parents are wise!  

Who else has stepped up to the plate when I have no one else to call?  Who else has understood me when no one else did?  Who else would understand my emotional ways, but can hear the story behind these emotions? Who else is willing to show up with a cup of tea and time to chat on the couch?  What a gift I have been given in my parents. 

Last week, I went back to teaching part time.  A good friend and my parents stepped in to take care of the boys.  

Here is the little gift that we gave to them to show our gratitude: 

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My husband and I truly mean what this says from the bottom of our hearts.