Randy’s (my husband’s) mom passed away July 9th, 2012. Randy and I were with her, along with Dynamo the dog. While the presence of a dog may seem trite to many, every story told by family and friends at her memorial service include one or more non-human creatures. She did everything lavishly, feeding birds pounds of seeds in a multitude of pots and pans (and any other critter that came by for the buffet), feeding Rambo (now our cat) any time he asked (which was often), and before that, too many dogs, cats, chickens, a rooster, lamb?, well too much for me to name. She was also notorious for feeding people with equal abandon, always ensuring there was one or more large pans of dessert in the house, and cooking casseroles in what I would consider a vat. Generous, doesn’t begin to describe her.
Still, I chose two photographs that reveal someone I only had the briefest glimpses of, a woman who was smart, sassy, fashionable and completely independent of spirit all at once, and they also speak of a long span of life, full of secrets that we will never come to know, her inner thoughts remain her own. I like to think of her in these pictures and wonder who she was, and what she was like, and they are a reminder that we only ever get to know one or two planes of a multifaceted personality. And the person we think is standing before us is only the part that reflects back at us, and there is always so much more on the other side of the mirror.
And in so saying that, I can only speak of who she was to me, and those that stood up at the service, could only speak of who she was to them, but I am so grateful to them, as in the past year I had forgotten so many aspects of her and her life as if her own lost memories eroded my own. Stories are so very important, never fail to take the opportunity to tell them, yours, others, the ones you make up, and the things you dream. And the greatest gift you can give to someone recently bereaved are stories of you and that person, and who they were to you.