Friday, April 09, 2010

Grandma's funeral – the (mostly) happy part

After Grandma died, the relief was palpable. We were still sad, of course, especially as my cousins and my dad and brother started to arrive, but at least we had things to do other than grieve.

As I said, people brought over tons of food for the family, which was much appreciated, as we were so busy there was no way we could prepare food for 20+ people! I believe Miranda and Serin made this darling edible flower bouquet.

Grandma had told me years ago that she wanted Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (which also happens to be my favorite hymn) sung at her funeral. I bought the Mack Wilburg arrangement quite some time ago and brought it along. It is for 8-part voice, so it was a challenging piece to put together in a short time, but I think it was cool that we had a big family musical number. Plus, it was a lot of fun.

We did a lot of cooking and baking. I love this picture of my mom wearing this adorable red apron.

I got nominated to make the Triple Caramel Cake. I really did not want to make it, as the only other time I tried, it didn't turn out very well. But since I was the only one who had ever made it at all, they nominated me anyway.

Seriously. This was one I would like to have thrown across the room. (Grandma was known to do that occasionally when she was really made about one of her cakes.)

Somehow the oven got turned off in the middle of baking. But still. People still wanted to eat the cake guts, so we put them on a plate. Grandpa walked in and saw the mess and said, "You ought to take a picture of that and call it 'the first cake after Charlotte died.'"

That made me laugh so hard, I wasn't so mad about the cake anymore. It was so good to see that he hadn't lost his sense of humor.

Emily is one of those rare people who actually like plain celery. (Maybe that has something to do with her tiny figure.) She was wearing one of Grandma's sweaters, which is so cute it actually gave me pains. How many 83-year-old women have clothes and shoes that their grandchildren covet? I mean, really.

The display in the foyer on the day of the funeral.

The flowers were gorgeous. I am still amazed that a florist made an arrangement about which my mother said she wouldn't change a thing.

I was also swooning over my mom's sweater. You can see that covetous clothing runs in the family.

The funeral service was just beautiful. Lee gave the eulogy, Charlotte and Emily did a piano/violin duet of Love is Spoken Here that had me crying throughout. My uncle Mark gave a talk about how Grandma's life was framed by the gospel, their home teacher spoke, and the stake president gave a very moving talk and mentioned that Grandma wouldn't have done anything differently in the last days of her life had she known she was about to die. (We learned that she told Grandpa about a week before her collapse that she didn't think she had very many days left. Too bad she didn't notify the rest of us!)

the pallbearers

Grandma had loved a funeral she attended where there was a big luncheon after the service for all the attendees – before going to the cemetery.

Denise asked friends to make some of Grandma's cakes (we made some also), as well as chicken salad and rolls, and we had big bowls of strawberries.

It was all delicious, and I think Grandma would have been very pleased by the whole affair.

Ryan tucked a stray orchid in his glasses. (He borrowed a suit from Grandpa and it fit him perfectly!)

This just kind of seemed to sum it up.

Miranda and I wanted to take a self-portrait, but my arms are too short to do one with my big camera, so her husband took a picture of us. Man, it's humbling to be in photos with cute girls.

Her daughter Azalea is just the cutest thing. Can you tell she was tired?

Mom's purse was filled with damp tissues. It seems the crying will go on forever.

The men in the family.

The women in the family.

My parents and siblings. (Do you love that Jessie and I ended up with dresses in different colorways of the same print?)

Family members looking at some of the pictures of Grandma that were scattered around the tables.

Charlotte and Josh watching the slide show that Patti put together.

one of the centerpieces

Jessie crammed in the car with floral arrangements.

This is my beautiful grandmother, Charlotte Jane Hunter Petersen. Marc took this picture of us a couple of years ago when we went to Denver for Thanksgiving.

I hate it so much that I can't call her on the phone anymore. It just seems plain wrong. Denise said that she thinks maybe Grandma can do more for us now that she's on the other side of the veil. That's a comforting thought. I am so grateful for every day I was blessed to spend with her, every conversation. She had such style, such refinement, yet she was also gritty. She served others, and she loved the Savior. She loved us unconditionally, and that love is the best gift I have ever received. Her wisdom and influence are never-ending.


Jill said...

What a gorgeous funeral! It looks like the perfect send off for her and for all of you! I love all your pictures and think you look beautiful in all of them. I have never known a more stylish family.

Liz said...

Beautiful, beautiful pictures from the funeral. The photograph of you and your Grandmother is just gorgeous!! I hope you have it framed somewhere!

Becky said...

Jill said everything I was going to say!

You are stunning, your grandmother is beautiful, this post was lovely.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

That picture at the end? Wow. It speaks so much. What a beautiful life. What a beautiful end. What a beautiful way to begin forever.

patsy said...

Reading about the women in your family makes me want to be a better person.

thank you for sharing

Price Cream Parlor said...

Now I know where you get your beautiful skin from!!! Your Mom and Grandmother are just as gorgeous as you are.

How fortunate you are to come from a family such as this. The love shared is something that you can almost touch.

It is so wonderful during these times to remember that this life is just 'but a moment'.

Elizabeth said...

What a an amazing tribute, I am glad you have so much happiness to take with you too.

Barb said...

I'm sorry for your loss. You are a devoted granddaughter to have the music ready when you needed it to follow her wishes. That is also my favorite hymn.

Susan said...

You are the perfect person to document the events of the past few days . I feel so thankful that you have recorded the photos and feelings of this grave event. She changed many lives on earth and I have no doubt she will change many more.

You were a fine grandaughter. I feel the need to go to the Temple soon. Thanks.

Melinda said...

I absolutely love that last picture of you with your Grandma!

Your family is so very stylish and that apron your mom is wearing so darling.

I am sure your family is so thankful for your documentation of this whole event. Your did is so perfectly.

lelly said...

how wonderful that youa re capturing the moments after life. you have, as always, laid out a descriptive, heartfelt account of the life around you.

my sisters, cousins and i put together 2 a cappella Sweet Honey on the Rocks songs for Grabbie's memorial service last year. Coming together to prepare those was so meaningful for all of us. The 8 part Come Thou Font must be beautiful.

Tracy said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Our family will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. What a beautiful family you have. You Gramdmother has left a wonderful legacy for all of you. She must be so proud.

Please take care of yourself.


rebekah said...

I have seen nothing here that I would not want done in my honor when I pass. Your family handled this event with so much love, character, and natural care. You put together a wonderful funeral.

The covet list:

Susan's apron
Emily's cardigan
That beautiful casket spray
Susan's cardigan
Susan's necklace
The crystal handled cake knife
Your brother's tie
The centerpieces
Jessie's nail polish

amyfm said...

The photo of you and your grandma is stunning. Priceless.

The funeral looks beautiful.

Death is never easy, but it's lovely how it brings everyone together talking and reminiscing. I find it beautiful and peaceful.

Kelly said...

That last picture just took my breath away. Such a beautiful picture of both of you -- what a treasure.

Again, you captured such beautiful moments. I'm sure Come Thou Fount was gorgeous. That is also my favorite hymn. Why is it not in the hymn book any more? Puzzling.

Michelle said...

We all know where the style gene came from! Every post and picture I look at just makes me sob...and I met her maybe 2 or 3 times.

I'm so sorry for this great loss. I love Denise's attitude...what a great guardian angel she will be for your family.

Miranda said...

Your mom said it perfectly, you truly were the perfect person to document the happy and sad parts of your grandmother's passing. You have no shortage of style in your talented life.

jenn said...

beautiful photos.
beautiful day.
beautiful family.
beautiful grandmother.
beautiful you.

charlotte said...

I've looked at this post many, many times and thought I'd already commented. I'll just say again how glad I am that you took on the documentation role; I know of no one better for the job. You did wonderful, and I feel so blessed to have such thorough documentation of this tender time.

Claudissima said...

loved your mom's comments....Beautiful photo...what a cherrished life you had with her.

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