Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grandma Sharon Days

Okay, I have to quick write this post before I forget the things we did and said during the first annual celebration of my mom's life-Grandma Sharon Days.

a little background...

Last year was the first anniversary of my mom's death. And I was convinced that it was going to be so hard. I thought I'd cry all day and not be able to focus on anything. I thought I'd be jumping down the kids' throats all day long, the only escape of my emotions besides crying. I thought I'd barely survive the day. And as the day started, and carried on, I was surprised that I did quite well! Of course I missed my mom, but the idea of her "laughing, and dancing, and singing" in heaven was so prominent in my brain that I couldn't help but praise God she wasn't in that hospital bed in our living room anymore.
that was last year...

This year I thought that my feelings would be similar to last years acutal feelings. I was wrong. It was much more like I anticipated last year to be like. and it took me off guard. It helped to talk to my siblings throughout the day and realize that we ALL felt the same way! It's like last year all we could remember was her illness and her suffering. And this year we are so much more aware of her whole life, and the illness was only a small part of it. So it was hard this year to remember the "real" mom, and what my kids are missing out on, and that I can't call her when I have a problem, or just want to talk. That I can't smell the coffee smell that followed her around all day, or see the amazing smile that was honestly contagious. That she can't be in the room when our babies are born, or be part of my siblings' weddings. And I was grieving SO MUCH all day, but I still had this longing inside me to CELEBRATE her life. Some of us got to be with her for almost fifty-one years. And some of us never got the privilege of knowing her. But I am so thankful for the 25 years I got with her, and we had a great weekend celebrating her life.

Thursday was mostly full of ideas. Angela and I had one initial conversation about what we were going to do to celebrate, and the rest of the day we were calling, emailing, and facebooking each other with more things we remembered. It was great. We started by just doing a lot of talking. I told the kids what day it was and that I was sad. And Lillian said "Oh, I LOVE this day!" She went on to talk about Grandma Sharon being in the room when she was born, and how she loved the fall trees. :) So her innocence of loving this day that was so difficult for me was a little breath of fresh air. It really could be a day to love. So we talked about how it was nice to have special days to remember her. The day consisted of grocery shopping (and I couldn't help but remember why my mom left us in the car...), eating yummy candy (red licorice and hot tamales), stir fry for supper (with an extra can of waterchestnuts), the Grandma Sharon Story (click HERE if you haven't read it), and Love You Forever. The sweet and innocent quote of the day: "Oh, Mommy! Jesus isn't in my heart anymore!" "Really? Why not?" "Because Grandma Sharon is instead!" (That comes from the picture in the Grandma Sharon Story where the Grandma Sharon heart is inside Lillian's heart in the picture.)

Friday was a very special day. We had a tree dedication ceremony at Siouxland Mental Health, where my mom used to work. They lost a big tree in a storm, and wanted to plant a new one in her memory. And of course, it will change color in the fall. Joel, Mel, Maria, Dad, Steve, me, and the kids were all there.

After that we went to one of my mom's favorite places-Stone Park. It was a tradition that Maria, Mel, and I were a part of for many many years. And Angela and Joel were able to join us a few times. It was our first time there since mom died, but it was great to be in a place we knew she loved...roasting hot dogs and s'mores by a fire. And we even hiked up the hill in our old age. Maria (many months pregnant), Steve (carrying Josiah), and I (with Brielle in the baby bjorn) weren't sure we were going to make it up. but we did. :)

Saturday was Josiah's 2nd birthday. That sweet child was born at exactly the right time. My mom had passed away two days before, and I was over a week overdue. But I wanted to be with my mom as long as I could, so I waited to go in to be induced until after she passed away. And I was out of the hospital just in time for the visitation and funeral. So dear little Josiah joined our family just in time to remind us that God gives, and God takes away. He was just what we needed. But I don't want the poor kid to feel like we don't celebrate his birthday bc it's GSD. So we took a day for him. a day full of trucks. :)

Sunday would have been my mom's birthday. So we did things she loved: went to church, ate Papa Murphy's pizza, took a LONG nap, worked on a project for fall decoration, made caramel corn (we had fun dancing, even if it got a little burnt), and of course COLD STONE ice cream! :)

It was a weekend full of emotion. I was so exhausted on Sunday that my nap lasted a little too long, and then I ended up awake til 2 something that night. But it was such a great time of reflection. Of remembering who my mom was, and how she is still alive in us. all of us. If you knew her, you know what I'm talking about. And if you didn't know her, every good thing about me comes from her. :)

*I promise my other posts won't be this long.
**If you want to see more pictures of Grandma Sharon Days, click HERE.


Anonymous said...

My dear, Andrea, my heart aches and rejoices for you at the same time - seems impossible. I can see her contagious smile and I see so much of her in you! What a wonderful way for you to honor your mom. Can you feel my hug? Blessings to you, sweetie!

Amanda said...

Andrea. Grandma Sharon days are a beautiful idea. I love that you guys can share these together forever, all of us can think about her in joy, knowing you are celebrating her life amidst the sadness in your heart. :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are a wonderful picture of your mom. I love you.

Wanda Ulmer said...

I am so blessed to have spent the almost 51 years with Sharon as my little sister..I have so many wonderful memories of times spent together of which I am so thankful... May we all cherish times spent with family, and remember that we will all be together again, as we are just passing through this earthly home. Thank you for sharing your special Grandma Sharon days with me..I remember all those things about Sharon too, as she was my best friend and loving sister..I miss her so...I love you..Wanda