We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, February 23. 2013
We held my Mom's funeral today in her starkly-simple 1723 Congregational Church in Yankeeland. You'll be relieved to know that I did a pretty good job with my send-off talk to a full house - she was a popular gal who added a lot to other people's lives in many ways - barely hesitated a couple of times, and got plenty of laughs. The spontaneity of my eulogy was enhanced by the error of having lent my glasses to Mrs. BD for the hymn, and forgot to bring them to the pulpit to be able to read my notes. Perfect. A grumpy baby added a lot to the bittersweet spirit of the event. A church service without a grouchy baby is sterile - and funerals and babies just go naturally together.
I am pretty good with gentle funeral humor. I have had too much practice with such things, and I have a relaxed, casual, cheerful, and friendly attitude, once I get on a pulpit, that people seem to enjoy. I don't know where it comes from. From God, maybe. Not from me.
Happily, all of my kids were there.
The flowers were just daisies on the altar, done by Mrs. BD. Just right for my Mom who detested anything fancy, showy, or pretentious. All 5 of us kids participated, and the Pastor was truly inspiring - and brief. He intertwined Lent with death, rebirth, and planting. The howling back of my brain found some rest after the funeral, and I had a couple of glasses of wine with the luncheon, sitting with my somewhat-benumbed Dad who wined and dined with vigor, and caught up with old family friends and cousins I had not seen in years. Some old friends from youth showed up too, that I had not reconnected with for many years - and needed to.
A summer sunset at the beautiful Berkshire farm she loved so much, in her family since before the Revolution. Her ashes will join those of her ancestors there. We have a ramshackle family cemetery on the farm with a fence to keep cows or horses out of it so they don't poop on the graves:
My Mom was a gardener par excellence. One of the hymns my sisters selected was an old-timey favorite of mine, and of my Dad's. It's a love song. I call it In The Garden:
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It feels insincere to say I am sorry for your loss when I only know you through this site. But I do feel sincere sorrow for you and yours BD. God bless.
I know you only through MF which I have enjoyed a great deal. May God bring peace to you and your family.
We sometimes have a Hymn Sing service at church, and In The Garden is always requested. What a perfect song for such a day.
BD, good for you that you have the ability to speak from the heart at such a difficult time. I'm sure your mother would be proud, even if she were inclined to scoff at the attention. Peace and comfort to your family and you at this large milestone in your shared lives.
So sorry for your loss; my sincerest condolences. She sounds like she was a great mother, wife, friend, and American. We need more like her -a great example for the younger generations.
Peace - to you, to her husband and family, and her.
We're so very sorry for your loss. You're mother lived an amazing life, from your description, and that's all you can hope for, a good life.
I'm very sorry for your loss. Remember the good things frequently. The loss never really gets lighter, but it gradually gets easier to bear. Laugh a lot and share stories with your loved ones. It helps.
What a wonderful way to celebrate your mother's life. We found Maggie's Farm looking for gardening ideas. Obviously, her passion passed on to her children. Peace.
Tomorrow, I will walk on the dirt road that runs along side of a big, open,high mountain Montana meadow. As I swing open the long metal gate, I will step on to the bottom rail and ride it till it's swings open. There I will look out at that great meadow and I will say a thank you for your mother and mine. Thank you for the TRULY STRONG women who made this country so great! I will side you BD in quiet silence as we both remember who they were and how they handled this precious gift.
Rest easy. She could not help but have been proud of you.
Blessings on you all. Your tribute was moving and compelling.
Oh, my, that brought back memories. In the Garden was one of my mom's favorites, too, and we used it at her memorial service.
It's only when your parents go that you finally understand that you are really on your own.
Bill, You are quite right. There's no other loneliness like the loss of a loved parent.
Beautiful picture BD. Prayers for you and your family. Thanks to KT for telling me. Thanks for sharing.
My mother too, loved this hymn, and it was played at her funeral when I was 8. It took about 35 years, but I can listen to it again without crying. Too much.
My condolences as well BD. Been away from the computer for awhile (cancer treatment) and just learned of your loss.
Deepest condolences, old friend. She sounds like a wonderful woman, and we're lucky that the son of hers that we know turned out the same way.
Bird Dog, my condolences again. One gains a particular insight into another's true nature--Soul, if you will--under trying circumstances. You have shined through this, friend. May The Lord bless you and your tribe.
Funerals are hard. I've done my share of eulogies and have too much practice at just the right humor and delivery. It is a gift from God to be an angel with death - though it can be hard on the angel sometimes.
I appreciate your comment about babies and funerals. When my dad died my own baby, 6 weeks old at the time, cried through the funeral. I felt badly about it at the time. Now, I see maybe it wasn't such a bad thing.
My condolences to you and your family, BD. And aren't reading glasses a pain? Once you need them, they become one of the most important things in your life.
Condolences BD. I love your attitude, there be learnin there.
Bird Dog, Thank you for the blessings you pass on through this peek into your family's loving tribute to our Mother. We all share this bind of mortality, time and family. It is a true kindness to share one of the hardest things we ever do, in a family where there is much love. One of the things that first attracted me to Maggies Farm was the old Yankeeness that I grew up with in the Berkshires. My family roots are also per-revolutionary and spread across New England. So thanks for bringing the light of "home" to someone that lives far away. Thank you for the Grace and beauty of family and community in a world where it seems there are fewer examples of how beautiful it can be. Thanks for keeping the beacon lit. It matters.
As you probably know, Camus noted that when a son's father passes on the son feels a "terrible freedom". He had no comment on what a son feels when his mother departs. Jesus said His Father's house has many rooms; your mother is just beginning to fix her's up. Best regards.
What a beautiful rendition of a beautiful hymn! I remember singing it in summer camp as a boy and then when I got married to Mrs. Mudbug, I found out that was her father's favorite hymn and was sung at his funeral. How beautiful that must have been.
It's so fitting to post that video for your mother who must have been a wonderful and beautiful woman. I appreciate your sharing your loss with us. I know that your mother lives in you and surely looks down on you with pride and love.
God has already blessed you with your mom (and your mom with you). May God continue to bless you and your family.
My condolences, BD, and thank you for the gracious reminder of how beholding we all are to strong women.
So sorry to hear the news. Sounds like a lovely funeral. Good innings as the Brits would say.
Best treatment is to stay busy, but you do that anyway,
While the death of a loved one is a said affair, my experience has been that the funeral/memorial service, with the sharing of stories and the bringing together of the tribe, is a healing affair.
Which reminds me of a story told at my father's memorial service. My father had often borrowed a ladder from a neighbor for painting our house. One year my father called up the neighbor to borrow the ladder. "Why Joe, you still have the ladder." Which my father did.
My deepest condolences for your loss. May God bless your Father as he deals with this great loss, and to you, your siblings and their families and friends. Thanks for sharing.
Kid Rock's lyrics to Born Free seem appropos; I hope you can find a line or two which comfort you, Bird Dog.
Fast, on a rough road riding
High, through the mountains climbing
twisting, turning further from my home.
Young, like a new moon rising
Fierce, through the rain and lightning
Wandering out into this great unknown.
And I don't want no one to cry.
But, tell 'em if I don't survive
I was born free!
I was born free
I was born free, born free.
Free, like a river raging
Strong as the wind I’m facing.
Chasing dreams and racing father time.
Deep like the grandest canyon,
Wild like an untamed stallion.
If you can’t see my heart you must be blind.
You can knock me down and watch me bleed
But you can’t keep no chains on me.
I was born free!
I was born free
I was born free, born free.
And I'm not good at long goodbyes
But look down deep into my eyes
I was born free.
Calm, facing danger
Lost, like an unknown stranger
Grateful for my time with no regrets
Close to my destination
Tired, frail and aching
Waiting patiently for the sun to set
And when it's done, believe that I
will yell it from that mountain high
I was born free
I was born free
I was born free, born free
I will bow to the shining sea
And celebrate God's grace on thee