Sunday, March 16, 2003

Sad Day for Ray...

My brother in law Ray's mother passed away on Monday. Friday and Saturday were spent in honoring her memory. It was a difficult day for him on a lot of levels. When he was quite young, his mother had a nervous breakdown and eventually had to be cared for in a hospital that treats mental illness. Separated from his mother for most of his life, visiting her on birthdays and holidays when he was young, did not really give him the adequate time he needed with his mother.

Then his mother was striken with Parkinson's disease. Not only did her mind leave her, but her body did as well. Bless Ray, for he never gave up hope on his mother, visited her faithfully, bringing her candy and flowers and clothing - anything she needed. While most men would have forgotten they had a mother in her condition, Ray is a proud and loving son. And he had to put her to rest yesterday.

The final services were handled by a mortuary called the Alternative Society, based in American Fork. They were some of the nicest, most thoughtful funeral directors I have ever met. Not only were they wonderful, they were significantly less expensive... I almost choked when Denise told me the final cost of the expenses. AMAZING.

Her casket was pink, absolutely gorgeous, and the director found the most beautiful princess pink dress for her. She looked like an angel. The family flowers, done in shades of pink and white, were literally breathtaking, done by Heaven Scent Floral out of Taylorsville. Chocolate kisses were Darlene's favorite candy, and while one of the directors was out shopping, she found a huge Hershey's Kiss wrapped in pink for easter, brought it to the church, and placed it in her hands in the casket. Completely professional, thoughful and perfect. It brought a smile to everyone's pain-filled eyes. There were also crystal bowls of kisses by the guest book to take in memory of her. What a nice touch.

We released balloons at the gravesite (the directors handled that). Very symbolic - one white balloon was released by Ray and his sister Arlene, to symbolize the releasing of Darlene's Spirit and the rest of us released our pink balloons which quickly followed her. Being as the weather was cloudy and windy, the balloons flew away quickly. One of the children there made a perfect observation :"Wow, she must have been in a hurray to get to heaven!" I am sure she was.

I also made a special friend. At the graveside, my mother had purchased 2 dozen pink and white roses to hand out. One of the tinest girls there, Ray's cousin Tara, just loved her pink rose, but the wind had whipped the petals apart. I also had the same problem with mine. So I took little blonde-haired Tara over on the grass, kneeled down with her and we spread our hands to the wind, letting the gusts carry our rose petals over the cemetary grass. Her big brown eyes lit up as she stared at me as if to say "Wow!" For some reason, her gentle spirit touched mine as she stared at me. I think it also had something to do with her being the only fidgety kid out of 10 of them, standing in front of the church singing "I Am A Child of God" during the services. My Mom told me Tara reminded her of me when I was little, this strong-willed, blonde-haired, brown-eyed baby girl. Maybe that's why we bonded over blowing rose petals.

I am very proud of my brother in law. I think he is the reflection of what all men strive to be, without even trying. He may have a slow wit sometimes, but he is ALL heart and is courageous when others would fall. He's the best thing in my sister's life, I can tell you that right now! Well, besides me of course! *smile*.


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