I finally found some words….

One week ago we buried you,
your urn placed in the ground.
The cemetery was so quiet
there  barely was a sound. 
I thought I heard you whisper 
"Thank God there's no more pain".
Yet tears of sadness stained my cheeks, 
as we stood out in the rain. 
I knew that I would miss you,
didn't think it'd be this tough.
So I smile at all of our memories
which makes it a little less rough.

Seems like every single minute 
you pop into my mind, 
but I guess that'll lessen 
with the passage of some time.
You were my greatest cheerleader
I still can hear your voice. 
Now that you're no longer here 
I'll still strive to make the right choices.
I'll take care of your big sister
and protect her the best I can,
though she no longer remembers much, 
know that we'll always love you Fran. 

Love, Retta

It took a walk in a southern garden this week for me   
to see and feel the beauty in every living thing, for 
me to feel good about smiling again. I'll miss my aunt 
Frannie forever, but I know she wants me to smile. While 
walking in the garden I realized that not telling my mom 
that her sister died two weeks ago is the absolute right 
thing to  do for my mom's well-being. These were the types 
of situations I used to talk to Frannie about. This week, 
we talked in the garden. 



All’s Well That Ends Well!!

This morning started badly. It proved to me that I’m an emotional wreck at the moment. I was working on my Aunt Frannie’s eulogy for next week, and decided I’d skip the morning service at 10:00 am, and instead attend the sermon only at 11:00 am. I had promised to videotape the sermon series in August, and today was my friend ( Head Verger Dude) David’s turn to preach. I was really looking forward to his sermon. I finished the eulogy and left home at 10:00 am for the usual 20 min ride to St. Mark’s Capitol Hill, hoping to arrive in time to receive communion. 

That’s when the trouble started. At 10:20 traffic on 295 slowed to a crawl, and I was in the wrong lane to jump off to head to the Pennsylvania Avenue exit. Geez!! For the first 10 minutes I didn’t panic at all. Then at 10:35 I started to get a little antsy. Then I got upset when I realized that my car, that had scared me two weeks ago with a “verbal traffic update” that I didn’t even know was a feature of the car, hadn’t “updated” me on the traffic I was now sitting in. I wondered does my car have a “sometimes only notification system”? What gives?

I texted my friend Jan at 10:45 as she was already at church. I told her to start recording David’s sermon on her cell phone until I got there. I was now really mad, only having moved an inch in 6 minutes. I started to cry. Not exactly sure why. Then I called Tim and yelled about the traffic. I wanted him to move the traffic so I could get to church on time, but of course that wasn’t going to happen. What now? Poor Tim kept encouraging me to calm down and to stop crying. 

Unbelievably, at 10:57 the detour allowed me to get through the traffic and onto to exit at M St SE. I zipped by everyone onto 8th St and though I am not sure how, I arrived at StM at 11:03. I couldn’t have written the script any better. When I walked into church, the scripture reading was still being read. I realized at that moment that I didn’t have my tripod with me and would have to tape the sermon while holding the camera in my very shaky hands. Geez!! My friend Margaret saw my distressed look and came up to give me a huge hug while I got out my camera. I wanted to cry again. But didn’t. 

My head was spinning, I had been dizzy off and on this morning, due to lack of enough sleep I’m guessing. Just as David got into the pulpit, I sat on a ledge in the Nave and taped his sermon the best I could. I hope it isn’t to shaky for folks to enjoy because David was excellent!  His sermon’s end was very sad because he shared a personal story about visiting someone in the hospital as they were dying. I cried again (hope that doesn’t appear on the video either). 

In any case, after the sermon and commentary, I gathered my belongings hoping to just disappear from the church and go home. BUT before I knew it, people came from everywhere and surrounded me, wanting to know what was wrong and asking if I was ok. I felt truly loved. Only a few people knew that my Aunt Frannie had died, so they all hugged and supported me. I cried again. But this time, they weren’t tears of frustration in traffic or sadness about my aunt’s death, they were tears of feeling loved and supported. Right then, right there in church, my day began to turn around. 

All’s well that ends well. 

The Good and The Bad of today

My Aunt Frannie died yesterday. She was my “go to girl” for sure! So what do I do now? Who will be my new “go to girl”? Frannie was my listener to any and everything I wanted to share. She was my guide and approver of all things related to my mom. 

We’ve known she was dying but it doesn’t make this any easier. And of course Frannie’s death  is yet another thing I can’t share with my mom. I’m afraid all of a sudden. Can I really make the right decisions about my mom without Frannie’s help? Well I’m definitely about to find out.

After we met with the funeral home people to select Frannie’s urn, and other particulars of her service, I went to see my mom. Having spent so much time over the past few weeks with Fran, I felt a great need to spend time with my mom. We went of course to her favorite place, McDonad’s and had their great ice cream cone, only $0.49 and 150 calories. It was great to hang out with mom. I needed her to be my mom today, for us to comfort each other about Frannie’s death. But I also knew that couldn’t happen, so I just enjoyed what we had. 

She spent a lot of the time saying her favorite word “OK” between licks of ice cream. But it didn’t matter. I was just happy to be out with her. I didn’t even pay attention to anyone around us who may have been staring. I didn’t care!! Our ice cream was a hit, and we giggled over nothing at all. 

There was one special moment today. We came outside and my mom looked around in front of the group home for my red car. But the only car out front was my new silver car. My mom immediately said “you got a new car!” “You remember my old car?”, I asked. “Not really, I just know it wasn’t THIS car!”. Fair enough, mom! We went on a short shopping trip and during the ride my mom said “this is a great car!!” I was so excited, 

I can’t wait to take my mom on another ride. It’s hard to convince her to go out these days. Even though it was a beautiful day, she still wanted to sit inside and read her book. I’m glad I talked her into both a walk, and a ride. I think she had a good time too. All I know is that I needed to be with her today. And I was. 

I was privileged today to give the sermon at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Capitol Hill. I loved writing this sermon. It is part of our August Sermon Series entitled, “The Bible We Don’t Like To Hear”. I did my sermon on the tough text of Genesis 22, where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. My sermon was given from Sarah’s perspective. Giving it turned out to be a little more emotional than I thought it would be, given that I am a mom and now a grammy too!!.

I’m sitting with my Aunt Frannie now and just read my sermon to her. I don’t know if she can hear me, but it feels so great to read it to her because she’s loved every one of my sermons over the years. Frannie has been there for me for my entire life, and now at this stage of her life, I’m honored just to sit here with her.

I haven’t told my mom that her sister is reaching the end of her life. I also haven’t brought my mom to visit her for the last two months. I used to faithfully bring my mom to visit Frannie every month, but when Frannie’s skin became bright yellow caused by jaundice from her cancer, I thought it would really scare my mom. So, I’ve let it go with nothing being said. If my mom asks about Frannie, and why we haven’t been to see her, which is doubtful, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

On the plus side, my mom clearly remembers Frannie. Whenever I ask if she knows who Frannie is, she happily announces “MY SISTER!!!” I always cheer for my mom whenever she gives the right answer, but the last time I only clapped for the right answer, my mom suggested that next time I make the reward something greater and more tangible, like a cookie!!!! Good one mom!!!