My mother’s Celebration of Life was held last Saturday and it was lovely. It turned out to be a perfect day weather-wise and the location in the Rose House at Red Butte Garden, looking out at the Rose Garden and my father’s memorial bench, was perfect, as well. My three brothers and I each spoke about her, and one of my sisters-in-law read some of my grandmother’s poetry. My oldest brother played “Amazing Grace” on his alto flute, and then we all visited with many friends and cousins, enjoying the beauty of the Garden, and saying goodbye, each in our own way, to this beautiful, amazing woman. She wrote the words in the caption to the photo below, words about her own mother. They say it so well for me, too!
“She lives in my heart and mind. Not always consciously, but she is so much a part of me that I can feel her with me always…”
I’ve shared a lot with you about my mother and recently about losing her. She was an integral part of this blog right from the beginning in 2007, was my focused audience for much of my writing, and was also a contributor with her own book reviews. It was another way for us to share our passion for reading with each other, and with you. I still have things she wrote in the last few years with this blog in mind, so I will continue to occasionally post about her and share those book responses as I return to my full-time blogging.
You have all been so kind in your thoughts and comments to me during this time of loss and mourning and celebration of a life well-lived, and I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
My audiobook pre-order of Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s new book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, arrived in the wee hours of this morning. It’s arrival is well-timed for me. We are leaving tomorrow for a week of travel and family. My mother’s Celebration of Life is on Saturday, and we are all gathering to honor and celebrate a life well lived.
Mom would have wanted to read or listen to this book and add it to the list of other DKG’s books she enjoyed. So in her memory and in honor of her passion for history, I will listen to this book for her.
“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
~ by Helen Hunt Jackson
Happy September, my friends! I love September and am looking forward to the cooler temperatures that allow me to sit on the porch and read. And I love watching the changing colors of the trees on my walks around my neighborhood.
My plans for September also include some travel. In the middle of the month, we will be returning to Utah for the Celebration of Life for my mother. My brothers and I have been busy planning the details, and look forward to that beautiful September day when we all meet to celebrate the life of a remarkable woman.
My reading plans include a long list of books for the Readers Imbibing Peril-#13 challenge and for The Classics Club. I will be rereading some old favorites, as well, and look forward to sharing all of this reading with you.
Reading on the porch, taking long walks, enjoying a road trip with my husband, celebrating someone I love dearly…it sounds like a lovely September to me!
Wishing you a lovely September, too!
~ Painting by Amanda Houston
We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too.
My reading in August was both pleasure and solace. The silence left after my Mom’s passing in July was deafening, but I know she would be pleased that I am filling our daily phone conversation time with books! It’s easy to stop everything you are doing when the phone rings and allow yourself an hour of talking about all sorts of things (especially books). So now I allow myself that daily time to read, and it is pure pleasure!
Here are the books I read in August. My favorite was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I also loved listening to the very creative Ready Player One. I had set aside The Silkworm for awhile and then decided to finish it for the upcoming RIP-XIII reading challenge. (I started the challenge a week early because I have no self-control!)
August was an enjoyable reading month.
Mother Combing Sara’s Hair, by Mary Cassatt
One of my all-time favorite books is The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher, and I’ve reread it numerous times. The last time I read it I wrote down a quote that is very relevant to me right now, having just lost my mother last month. It’s something I am feeling and processing, and I love that a favorite author could put it into words for me.
But the next few months would not be easy. As long as Mumma was alive, she knew that some small part of herself had remained a child, cherished and adored. Perhaps you never completely grew up until your mother died.”
I am missing my Mom today…it’s her birthday and she would have been 99 years old! We lost her just three weeks ago, so celebrating her birthday today is a mixture of sadness and joy–she lived life to the fullest and left us with so many joyful memories!
After my Father passed away twenty-four years ago, I started a list of “Would Haves” because there were so many times when my brothers and I would say, “He would have loved this…or that.” I haven’t started a similar list for my Mother yet, but I will need to soon because there are already things happening that she would have liked! One thing for sure that will be on that list is the upcoming September release of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new book, Leadership in Turbulent Times. That one would have been number one on her TBR list!
Happy birthday to my beautiful Mom, my special friend. I miss you!
The two photos above show how my Mom prepared for book club discussions. I brought these two books home with me after she passed away three weeks ago, and I will never move the colored tabs she put there because they are such a delight to see! This is the way she always prepared for her book club, whether the one she lead at the Mt. Olympus Senior Center for 14 years, or for the local library book club that came once a month to her assisted living facility. She loved to read and talk about books, and she prepared well for the group discussions often reading the book twice, always marking the important points she wanted to remember.
A book treasure from my Mom… One of the special things I brought home with me from my mother’s place. It will always bring a smile to my face.
My reading reflections for July are about my mother, since I spent three weeks of July with her at the end of her life. I am home now, tying up lose ends, returning slowly to routines, and trying to get used to life without her. But despite my sadness, there is also so much to comfort me — loving family and friends, many many happy memories, and an overwhelming pride in her for how she handled her life, especially life after my father passed 24 years ago, and especially again at the end. She showed great courage and dignity throughout it all, and I’m so proud to be her daughter.
The photo above is a list of the books she read in 2018. She read and listened to 10 books (including volumes 1-4 of the Harry Potter series) and was also in the middle of three other books when she fell ill: she was listening to the audiobook of Shanghai Girls, and reading the Kindle version of Dreams of Joy, both books by Lisa See, an author she loved; and she was in the middle of the Whitmore Library Book Club choice for July, a title I don’t remember now. At almost 99 years old, she was an avid reader to the end!
This is the shady part of our butterfly garden…
While we spent the last three weeks with my mother, our daughter watered our gardens and kept everything alive despite the 90-100 degree temperatures. It was a huge job, but we were delighted upon our return home to find our butterfly garden in full bloom and full of bees and butterflies!
I want to share with you a poster I saw and just loved at Red Butte Garden, in Salt Lake City, where we have my father’s memorial bench, and where we will soon hold my mother’s Celebration of Life and add a plaque to the bench in memory of her.