BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,
BTRIPP
btripp

(sigh)

Needless to say, this week's been a bitch. Monday, having my Mom slip away, and starting to contact folks, having the funeral home take her away, having my Brother get into town, etc. Tuesday, more arrangements and contacts, doing interviews with the press for the obits, meeting with the funeral home, catching up with the lawyers, etc., meeting with the caterer for the reception. Wednesday, going down for a viewing (my Mom looked great for an old dead lady ... a testimony to how she slipped away in her sleep, I suppose ... the few non-family folks that saw her guessed her to be in her mid-60's rather than 82, which she would have loved!), meeting with the minister (retired from the church, but an old dear family friend), and then the horrible (remember, I get into panic attacks at the idea of opening up a bank statement!) meeting with the estate lawyer. Thursday, waking up knowing that she was going into the crematorium right around then, and getting the service programs, portrait, and reception invitation cards printed. Then, Friday ... the limos showing up, and off to the church.

COS-040116a

The church (Church of Our Savior on Fullerton), is very important to our family. My Father had been minister there when I was born, and collapsed in the pulpit (subsequently dying after an operation), when I was 2 years old and my brother 2 months old. The minister who officiated my Mom's service (who was minister at COS for 30 years) first set foot in the building for my Father's funeral. Following my Father's death, we moved to New York (see my Mom's obit, below) but when we eventually moved back to Chicago, we were a scant few blocks from the church, and so attended there most of my youth (yes, picture Brendan as an altar boy!). In his comments, the minister credited my Mom with helping to re-build the church from its "iffy" status in the mid-60's to the thriving parish that it continues to be today. My cousins were married there, The Wife and I were married there, and it sort of completed a circle having my Mom's service there. It was amazing how many people showed up ... faces I'd not seen in 20 or 30 years.

This week was especially hard on me, I think, having worked for my Mom for the better part of 20 years in the P.R. biz, and this was "the last project that I was going to be able to do for M.T." ... and so everything had to be PERFECT, as at our agency perfection was the minimal acceptable result ... an unfortunate gauge that I still carry around with me. However, I think my Mom would have been very pleased with her press clippings, the menu for her party (and having so many of her friends show up to drink her champagne!), the program, and the arrangements for the Memorial Service. I'm sure that if this had been one of our events we'd be thrashing out the details that went wrong today (there were parking issues, we had to switch frames for the portrait at the last minute, and a few other things of that sort), but I feel that I did OK in sending her off in the style that she would have demanded of herself.

I've been very thankful of the supportive messages I've gotten from folks in L.J. land, as I've been feeling like there are brand new big empty spaces in me, to go with all the other "holes in my soul" that I've been struggling with these past few years, and it helps to have those "cyber voices" coming across the Web to console me.


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