Today was the memorial service for my mom. It all went very well. As well as you can expect in my family and crowd anyway.
I made the promise that the Camaro would be there. And with the help of my friends it did. I know it may seem odd to many of you that "Sure, it's a nice car... but aren't you making a big deal out of it?"
Maybe in a normal family.
That Camaro was bought by my mom in 1970. Five years before I was born. It was all the therapy she had after her second husband died of cancer in 1969. For a while it seemed like that was the only way she can feel good. She had two children, low income, a non-supportive family. A family SO bad on support that when her husband died their act of charity was to babysit for a little while that evening. So for a while that car was her only foohold keeping her well enough to take care of her two kids. Through her whole life that car was RIGHT THERE.
But it's more than that. When I drove that car, aside from it running llike shit, I STILL felt like she was right there.
But the car has a way of making things happen. It has a life and soul of it's own. I pull in and the pastor tells me to move it to the isle where the hearse recieves the body and the mourners pull their cars behind. He knew the car was precious. So that was as close as we could get to the car being in the service. I have a prayer on a magnet. That will come later.
We all meet... a large screen with a slideshow of my mom throughout her life... gentle music playing in the background. Flowers adorning the urn (She wasn't there. I collect her ashes Saturday. The urn was just there to represent her) and we had keepsakes on display. Only 12 of us made it because an aunt and an uncle were both in the hospital on unrelated things... I wont get into because I still don't know for sure myself WHAT is going on...
The preacher says his first part before introducing the first song. "I hope you dance." by Lee Ann Womack. We cry as the music plays. Mom couldn't walk without a walker so... in the afterlife we hope she is dancing and I sit there through my tears imagining her dancing.
Then he reads The Lord's Prayer and explains it's significance to us and then plays Blue, by Yoko Kanno which to me is about passing away. "Never seen a bluer sky. I can see it reaching out and moving closer... there's something about blue..." and the tune goes on about being free. Significant to me that mom is free of her pain. "I want to be FREEEEEE!" and ends with "I'm so FREEEEE! No black and white in blue. Everything is clearer now. Life is just a dream that's never ending. I'm ascending."
Then we get the chance to speak. I'm up first and I explain how my mom was a protector and a giver and we have a RESPONSIBILITY to make sure she has no reason to worry about us because if she worries about us she'll stay and try and protect us. We can't let that happen because she earned her heaven. We can't take that away from her. To repay her kindness we need to take better care of ourselves physically and mentally and emotionally. How our family has been torn apart and reassembled so many times we are beginning to lose parts now.
My dad goes up to speak... I wont get into that. If there was a hiccup in everything it was him. All I can say is I hope mom swatted him upside the head and he was too dense for it to register.
Then my sisters get their times. One expresses her most recent positive memory about seeing mom on Easter all dressed up, sitting up waiting for company, hair all perfect like she tends to be. She turns and smiles. That's how I remember her.
My other sister expressing regrets about not being around enough, living out of state, but how mom's traditions are still such a HUGE part of her life and her daughters lives and how we MUST carry on the way mom would want.
Then they play "See you again" by Carrie Underwood which is totally true.
Then he comes back up and explains how he saw me bring the car up and how important it was and how he saw my little prayer. Those who know me ALL of the gearheads on here will smile at. I can't remember how he introduced it exactly but he said "Richard showed me this little magnet in his baeutiful car and I'd like to read you this prayer in closing. As I lay rubber down the street I pray for traction I can keep. Should I skid and start to slide... please dear God... protect my sweet ride."
We all laugh and smile and I just SEE in my mind mom with that big brilliant smile she has getting a good chuckle out of it. Then there wasn't a dry eye in the house as Amazing Grace on the bagpipes play.
We gather at the house. I tried to hotrod a little for mom. Rob was in the passenger seat but I know mom was there too. The Camaro just didn't feel up to it at first. But a little later I tried again and it kinda started to say "NnnnnooooookAY just this once." and after a little sputter it squatted down, blew out the smoke, front end comes up and it roared. exhaust sounding so nice...
We gathered and ate. We laughed. We cried. No matter what we did we honored mom.
So I have until Saturday to iron out a few little issues. I'm going to pick up her remains in the Camaro and give her the ride.
I miss my mom. I always will. But knowing she isn't in pain and in fear is stronger.