Tag Archives: funeral

Don’t Wait so Long

time flies

The last two days have been filled with mixed emotions. One of our best friend’s mom passed away.  Last night was her wake, and this morning was her funeral. Although she had been ill and it was expected, it is still difficult to lose a mom and I am so sad for all of them.

As I sat in the church, the same church where my mom’s funeral was, I got very weepy.  So many of the songs were sung at my mom’s funeral and although I miss her everyday, it was one of those days that made me miss her even more.

Her death brought many of our old friends together. Good friends. Long time friends. Occasions like this made me realize how long it has been since we all got together.  We always say it won’t be so long next time, but life often gets in the way.  Each time we say the same thing and promise to make it happen.   We try to have an annual Christmas brunch together with this group of friends and with the holidays around the corner, we are hoping to all meet up for a much less somber occasion.

Life really is too precious. Maybe my goal for the new year should be to really put more effort into making these get-togethers happen. It was so good to see all of them. All of us together in the same place. It has been too long since the last time that happened….it may possibly have been my own mom’s funeral almost two years ago.  We need to find a happier reason and make the time.  It just goes so fast!



What a difficult time we are going through.  Yesterday was the second funeral in one month that we attended for a family member.  On Tuesday, between the two wakes, we went back to my brother’s home and while we were there we turned on the television to find out the horrendous news of what happened in Boston.  Initially we were all stunned and shocked to see what happened.  We were all so sad to begin with and this news just seemed so senseless.  As more and more information came in, it just became so much more horrific. 

Questions kept running through my mind,

·       Why?

·       Where is the reasoning behind all of this?

·       Why do bad things happen to good people?

·       How will these families get past this?

I know how incredibly sad we all are right now and how difficult it has been for us.  Francine’s death was tragic and unexpected.  My mom had been ill and even still, her death came as a surprise to us.  No one is every ready.  I question why God allows things like this to happen.  In Francine’s eulogy, I said that God must have a plan. I wish I knew what it was. It does not make this any easier but how do we just move on from here?  Do we try to move on and become “normal” again?  Is there really any normal anymore?  Our children are seeing so much violence and no matter how much we try to protect them from it, I fear that they will become desensitized to it. 

Our family has received prayers and support of hundreds of people and that is getting us through it.  The victims of the tragedy in Boston are receiving prayers, well wishes and kind gestures from all over the world.  We can only hope that these prove to be reminders that there is more good in the world and we can overcome this senselessness and find a light in the midst of darkness.

In this difficult time, we need to look for what is good in our lives even in the midst of tragedy.  It seems like a very hard task but unfortunately good and bad exist everyday and we need to concentrate on the good.  Make positive choices and spend time with people that you love and care about.  Let them know how much they mean to you.  Unfortunately our family learned that life can change in an instant, and if we do not take the opportunity to live life to the fullest now, we might just lose out.

Dealing With Grief

dealing with grief

With all that has been going on, I have been doing a lot of thinking about my own life and how I would deal with this if it were my spouse, or my child.  It is not something I want to think about.  It is something I feel I have been forced to think about.  How would I deal with it???  After losing my mom, going back to work was a break – a break from the commotion, a break from the grief.  It gave me the chance to focus on other things.   If it were one of my children or my husband, I don’t know if I could go right back to work – back to “normalcy”.   My mom and I talked everyday, several times a day, but we did not live together and this is a huge factor that my dad and brother have to deal with.  I miss her terribly, but when I go home, my own family is still there for me.

My dad went back to work right away after my mom died.  For him it was cathartic.  He was surrounded by my brothers, friends and neighbors and for him, it has been just what he needs.  With Tim, is has only been four days.  He went to a hockey game on Friday and has joined all of us for big family dinners.  He is playing softball today.  Until the wake and funeral tomorrow, there is nothing else for him to do.

Some might question how he could do these things already, while others think he is doing what is best for him, but the truth is, there is no right answer.  I would imagine that coming home to an empty house is not easy.  There would be no one to greet you, no one to sit with at meals.  An empty house is a reminder of being alone.  Being with others is comforting to my dad and to Tim and it is giving them the distraction that they need.

Losing their wives, the women that they shared their life with…there are reminders everywhere.  Being away from those reminders seems to be what they need right now.  Of course, they need to mourn.  Mourning is how they will deal with their emotions.  It is essential in the healing process.  Life is never going to be the same for them and there is no timetable for when it will get better.  We all will be there to support them.

Family will be our biggest support system.  I cannot imagine how this last month would have been without our extended family.  We are together all of the time.  Even last night, in the midst of all this grief, 30 of us got together for dinner.  It was fun and we laughed, but we also remembered all of our loved ones.

No one can tell us when any of us will feel better.  There is no time frame.  It is different for everyone.   We are all going to have to face a new normal.  We will never be the same again.  Each one of us is changed.  We will celebrate what we had with our loved one and relish the memories.

Already we are finding things about mom and Francine that make us smile.  We need to embrace these things. We are never going to forget, we are just looking for a way to intertwine them into our “new normal”.

Another Funeral to Plan

death peaceful

I went with my brother to help with him the funeral arrangements.   Tim did not want any services on Sunday, (what would have been his 6th anniversary).  That is totally understandable.  The wake will be on Monday and the funeral on Tuesday.  They chose the funeral home where Francine worked and loved.  Mr. Prout, the funeral director treated Tim and Francine’s mom so well.  The church is St. Lucy’s in Newark, where she was baptized, had her 1st Communion, Confirmation and wedding..  That was her parish it is appropriate that is where she will have her funeral.

 They chose a coffin, with just enough “bling” to appease Francine while still being tasteful.  ((For those of you who knew Francine that would have made you laugh).    Her obituary was written, her outfit chosen and services decided on.

 Tim held up very well.  Her mom wept through it all.  I cannot begin to imagine how she feels losing a child.  She gave her ideas for what she thought Francine would have wanted.   They only thing that they had a difficult time deciding on was where she will be buried.  Her mom wanted her with her grandma.  Tim wanted her with our mom – and a place where someday he would join her.

 Many years ago, (when I was a teenager), my grandfather passed away.  He was buried in a crypt in a mausoleum.   At the time, my dad and his brother both purchased a crypt as well.   This way, they felt that one day, they would all be together.  Each crypt is a double, which means that they will be buried with their wives.  At the time, my uncle also bought another one.  Back when I was 17, I could not understand why he needed to do that.  They told us it was “to have just in case”.  Well, this seems to be the  “just in case”.  Many times Francine had told her mom and Tim, that she wanted to be buried in a mausoleum.  Tim seems to be finding comfort in the thought that she will be right next to our mom.

 Since Francine worked part time in the funeral home while she finished her schooling to become a mortician…her dream.  Perhaps when you regularly deal with death, there is not much about it that will faze you.  She was not afraid of death.  She dealt with it on a daily basis.  She talked openly about it and perhaps this will bring Tim some comfort.

The Eulogy

we don't lose loved ones

I got through almost the whole eulogy until the end.  That is when I cried.  I was able to read all of it except the quote at the end.

This was the eulogy:

Good morning,

My family and I want to thank all of you for being here today to celebrate our mom.  We always knew what an amazing, generous and kind woman she was, and this last week, the outpouring of love and support has proven this to be true.  Thousands, (and that is not an exaggeration), of emails, texts, calls and messages have come to us.  The lines at her wake were so long, at times, they were out the door.

I want you all to know that I read all of your emails and postings to her.  I don’t know if she could hear me but if she could, I know that she would have been humbled at this outpouring.  She was never one to put herself before others and knowing that all of these people, some who don’t even know her, were out there praying and thinking of her would have moved her to tears.

I honestly do not know how I can adequately describe our mom with words.  She lived her life in the most positive way.  She saw the good in everything and encouraged others to do the same. Her actions and the incredible example that she showed her children and grandchildren are behaviors that should be emulated by all of us.  She was a true role model.  A person who possessed qualities we should all try to imitate.

My mother cared deeply for everyone she knew, whether you were her family, friend or a member of the community.  She was always willing to help out someone in need.  She had the kindest heart of anyone we knew. Her house was always filled with friends and family.  All of our friends called her “mom”, because she was like a mom to everyone.  Friends lived at our house, (usually invited by her), and they were always treated as if they were one of her own….even if that meant pulling out the spatula or wooden spoon when they misbehaved.  Our good friend Kenny, even told my dad that he thinks his grades went up when he started spending so much time at our house because of the “no homework, then no play “rule she had.

She was a person so filled with light.  Everyone knew her.  Everyone loved her.  She was like an institution in Maplewood.  She’d park herself outside on the bench in front of The Maplewood Stationers and talk to every person and dog that walked by – especially during “duck season”.  For those of you who don’t know, she was known around town as “the Duck Lady” because she organized the annual rubber duck race every year.

She was a generous, loving, supportive and unselfish woman who always put other people before herself.  She was charitable, giving, considerate and kind.  She was always involved in something. The YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4th of July celebrations, Galas here at OLS, Kiwanis, The Twigs of Overlook…the list could go on and on.

We joked that she should run for mayor because she knew EVERYONE!!!  We could not go anywhere without bumping into someone that she knew.  As kids, it made us crazy but as we grew older and we saw what a positive influence she had on so many people, it was gratifying.  I have modeled my own life around this.  I know that I am the person that I am today because of her influence.

She adored her grandchildren, DJ, Drew, Gabi and Mikey, and we know that as she got sicker and sicker with her COPD, one of the reasons she fought so hard was for them.  She saw them all of the time and each one of them had a special bond and connection with her.

We will miss her with all of our hearts and will always cherish the times we spent together. She was always there when we needed her and was the most loving and caring wife, daughter-in-law, mother and grandmother. She was selfless and always put others ahead of her.  She never wanted people to go out of their way for her.  Yet, she did it all of the time for others.

She has touched the lives of so many people and even though she is gone, her memory will live on in all of our hearts forever.  Her spirit has not left us.  Everyone who was ever touched by her in his or her lifetime should have faith that she will be watching over them because that is just the kind of person she was.

She has left reminders of herself everywhere: on the bench in front of the Maplewood Stationers, in the sound of Christmas Carols, (her absolute favorite), every time we see a rubber duck and every time The Wizard of Oz comes on tv. She probably saw, (and sang along to) that movie hundreds of times.

Our mom was a remarkable woman and I doubt she ever realized how many, many people she has had an impact on in her lifetime.  Cherish the memories you have of her and honor her memory by doing good things for others.  This is how she lived her life and there is no better way of honoring her than by following her example.  Her love for all of us, all of you, is what is going to pull us all through this.  All of the many, many people that who’s lives have been touched by her should take comfort in knowing that right now, she is standing at the gates of heaven, breathing in huge breaths of air.  That is what is getting me through this.  Knowing that she can finally breathe on her own. It makes me so happy for her, even though I am so sad for us.

So I leave you with a quote from The Wizard of Oz…

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others”.

My family and I thank you for being here today.

The Way She Would Have Wanted It

dont cry smile

Many people might think that if  we are mourning the death of someone, we should not be thinking about entertaining and having having a nice time.  Tonight, at mom’s wake, the mood was not somber.  Yes, it was sad.  Yes there were tears, but it was also lighthearted in some ways as well.  There were so many people who came to pay their respects to our family.  So many people that loved my mom came to show us how much that they cared about her.  There were stories shared and memories recalled.  I heard much more laughter than crying.  It seems that a gathering like this; lively and loud, may seem disrespectful to my mom but, my mom was not a quiet lady.  Anyone that knew her knew how much she loved a party.   She would not have wanted us to be there weeping by her side.  She would have wanted it just the way it was.  With laughter and love and joy being expressed by everyone.  That is the way she would have wanted any gathering that she was at, and one that is honoring her should not be any different.

The Eulogy

mother story

Today was the first day since my mom went into the hospital, that I actually had nothing to do.  Since the day she went into the hospital 10 days ago, I have kept myself busy.  Whether it was visiting with her in the hospital, or making arrangements after she died, I have not had a day to actually just do nothing. I decided that I would finalize her eulogy.

When I realized that my mom was not going to wake up, (and I think I was the first one to actually grasp that), I started to write her eulogy.  Perhaps that was morbid or premature, but it helped me get through the most emotional time of my life.  After she died, I asked my dad if I could read the eulogy at the funeral.  He knew that I had been chronicling her illness all week in my blog and said that I could.

Writing and delivering the eulogy will help us all remember my mom – who she was, what she did and what she enjoyed about life.  My words will remind us of happy  memories, anecdotes and stories that made us smile. which is something she loved to do. I hope to bring back happy memories of her.  She had a booming laugh, and before she got so ill with COPD, she was such a social person.  She was the life of the party.

I think that the most difficult part of writing and presenting her eulogy will be the emotional aspect.  Throughout this entire time, I have really been able to hold it together.  Not just for my kids, my family and for my dad, but for myself.  When I write my  blog, I cry every time.  It is a release for me.  The same thing happens when I read some of the sentimental emails, Facebook messages and texts that I have received.  I cry.  So as I was writing the eulogy, I laughed remembering so many happy times, but still I cried.  My fear at the funeral is not crying in front of everyone.  My fear is that if I start, I might not be able to stop.

Good Bye

stars in the sky

We thought that it would be quick.

Hospice even rushed us into her room after they took out all the tubes. That is how fast even the the doctors thought it would be. It wasn’t.

We were assured that she was in no pain but they still administered morphine. She just lay there breathing shallowly. Something she hasn’t been able to do on her own for so long. It was like she was sleeping.

The day started out with my dad, sister and sister-in-law and I going to the funeral home to make her arrangements. It was stressful and it was difficult but we chose her favorite songs and readings and picked out her casket. We decided who would speak at the funeral and who would be pall bearers.

We headed over to the hospital knowing we couldn’t prolong it any longer. Dad signed some paperwork and we were asked to wait in the waiting room while they took off all of the life support. After we went back to her room we waited for her to pass. We told her all about The plans for her funeral. We promised that there would be no pink. She hated pink! We chose one if her favorite yellow dresses and told her there would be lots of yellow flowers. Her favorite color. It matched her sunny personality! We wrote her obituary together and read it to her.

At seven o’clock Jeopardy came on. She and my dad watched it together every night. She kept hanging on. Finally we decided to take shifts to eat. Some if us hasn’t eaten since yesterday. Kathi and Tim, my younger siblings left first. Dad, Chip and I stayed. A few minutes later I watched as she took a few more breaths with more and more time in between each. At 8:53, nearly 7 hours later she was gone. Maybe she was waiting for Tim and Kathi to leave so they did not have to witness it. Maybe she thought dad, Chip and I could handle it?? We will never know.  What we do know is that it was so peaceful. We turned off the tv, and just talked to her until she was gone.

I am sure that right now she is standing at the gates of heaven breathing in huge breaths of air and because of that,  I am so happy for her even though I am so sad for all of us here.

Everyone who was ever touched by her in their lifetime should have faith that she will be watching over all of us because that is just the kind of person she was.