Friday, April 6, 2012

Celebration of Life

Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers, love, and encouragement these last few weeks. It has been bittersweet in so many ways.

As my Grandma put it, "If a funeral can be beautiful, this one certainly was." The church was filled with dear people we love and who love us. The scent of lilies filled the air. My Dad played Grandpa's favorite piano pieces. My Aunt sang the Lord's Prayer with her strong soprano voice. The Lord was near.

Sure, we cried. Some of us sobbed. At the end of the service we sang "It is Well With My Soul" If you're not familiar, take a look at the lyrics. I have never been part of a more convicted choir; it felt as though our voices would shake the entire foundation of that little church; we belted the words. Even as I knew that his passing wasn't well with my soul, I belted it anyhow; the words made me brave. They encouraged me to believe that someday, hopefully not too far in the future, it really WILL be well with my soul.

My Mom and I got to do our own sort of therapy; we decorated the church for Grandpa. We dug around the farm and used whatever we could find. My Grandpa adored music, so we made a CD of he and Grandma's favorite songs to share with our dear ones. We went through photos. It was a good way to start to grieve.

As people entered the church they were met with photos of Grandpa's adult well some of the farming machinery that he once owned; miniature, of course!

"Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me O God, until I have shared your might with the next generation."
Psalm 71:18

The CDs...we used kraft paper and sewed sleeves for the CDs.

The crops in the jars and the wheat stalks were all from his farm.

The pilings that we made into candle holders were from near our farm.

My Mom and Grandma had oil lamps that we used throughout the space.

I reused escort card holders from a previous wedding to hold a Bible verse that
each person was encouraged to take home and learn as a way to remember Grandpa.

Old windows from a building held aerial photos of the farm through the years.
I cannot even begin to imagine the number of hours my Grandpa spent working
on that farm throughout his 90 years.

I found re-production lanterns that we lit.

This was one of the treasures that was found; Grandpa and Grandma the year before they were married.

A dear family friend put together a photo tribute to Grandpa.

A collection of old photos.

Using a piece of wood found on the property I made a piece of art with the words to one
of Grandpa's favorite hymns, it is also one of the first hymns my Dad taught me as a little girl.
#111 in the Brown Hymnal.

Here is Leve in her Great-Aunt's dress at the Family Service.
She insisted that she go with me to visit him the evening before he passed. We stayed quite late that night.
She just wasn't "done" seeing him. When we left she gave him a kiss and told him she loved him.
We all do.