September 28, 2015

Life, Death, Margaritas and traveling to Ireland. The final installment.

Two would have been plenty if not for fate. Serendipity. Chance?

My Mom never had the luxury of traveling to any great distance. #workingsinglemomprobs
A few years ago though, she was invited to join my Aunt Trisha and Uncle Jim's church group; the choir was traveling to Ireland to sing and explore and they had room for extra peeps. 

This was an affordable option for Bev to see her homeland. 
(She is a Sullivan by birth; her dad was Irish, mom was Italian) 

I remember her being so excited for this trip; her first overseas adventure. 
She had a lovely to see so much of the beautiful Irish country side. She was able to spend a good amount of time with my Aunt, Uncle and also two long time family friends Riley and Jim who attend the same church and are frequent travelers to Ireland. 

One of the places she (and most people) love is seeing the Cliffs of Moher.
It's a spectacular sight just to see on the internet or in photos...I can't imagine how lovely it is in person.
While we were cleaning out my Mom's apartment, my Aunt came across the ticket stub for The Cliffs that my Mom had saved. 
Meanwhile: our good friends Riley and Jim were not going to be able to attend my Mom's interment service in GA, because they were traveling to Ireland that particular weekend.

Riley and Jim had the forethought a few months ago to ask if we'd like them to bring some of my Mom's ashes back to Ireland; knowing how much she loved it there.

We all agreed that this was something Mom would have loved. 

Jim and Riley sent me this email while still in Ireland. 

What a special day. We feel so honored that you allowed us to bring Bev back to Ireland. The day was overcast but comfortable, and the wind and sea were inordinately calm, like the Cliffs were waiting for Bev. I put her ticket stub in between stone panels, so she would always have passage. We found a perfect niche in the stone wall where she will be protected from the elements.  JD picked wild flowers and said a lovely prayer. It was noon Irish time. Thank you for allowing us this privilege. 
Love, the D's. 

Could anything be more perfect? I don't think so. 

Of course, you know I have to find something silly in everything. 
When Riley sent the email the subject line said: The Cliffs of Moher.
What did I see?
The Cliffs of MOTHER. 

yep. They need to be renamed and they now belong to Bev. 


September 21, 2015

Life, Death, Margaritas and traveling to Ireland. Part Dos

Planning the service for my Mom's celebration wasn't too difficult. The two people employed by Honey Creek at the Woodlands cemetery were so darn helpful. (and extremely kind, compassionate and overall delightful) They let us do pretty much whatever we wanted as long as it was not damaging to the grounds.
We really wanted to have a priest do a service for my Mom since she was catholic; sadly priests won't do services here. (not sure why, but I didn't question) We did have a priest give her her last rites while in hospice; so we were happy with that. BUT, My peeps at Honey Creek were able to find a catholic deacon; I didn't even know they existed! He was a delightful man.
We decided to have a good family friend Victoria (who I've known since I was a pre-teen) sing for us; she is a trained opera singer...we chose "He's got the whole world in his hands." Sweet, but not sad.
My Cuz Patrick read Psalm 23. 
Coach helping my cousin's daughter add some paper/seed flowers to the area. (thanks Dawn!)
My Aunt Trisha and I placed mom's box in the ground and then everyone who wanted to placed some dirt over the box as our Deacon said some prayers. Cuz Patrick then sang a verse of Amazing Grace while the rest of us released butterflies. (painted ladies) 

Linds captured some of the butterflies with her go pro. 

It was most beautiful. 
And some of those butterflies caused us laughter; landing on us or refusing to fly at first. 
There were some tears; but not too many and not any blubbering. (I did all that a few days prior!)
Then we went to the office area and had a beautiful lunch of Mexican food that I had ordered from a local caterer and my Aunt and Uncle made Margaritas. (The good kind and the virgin kind)
Bev was a fan of Margaritas and Mexican food. It was perfect.
I was able to see two of my cousins from my Mom's side that I've not seen in over 10 years...and they now have children of their own! It was a bit like a family reunion. 
I had to capture Cuz Patricks plate....mind you this was his second serving. We ate away our grief!

It was wonderful seeing so many of my mom's friends and our family members. I know deep down that we did exactly as Bev would have wanted.

Next up....Ireland!!!


September 08, 2015

Life, Death, Margaritas and traveling to Ireland. Part Uno

So many things have been happening.
We've been busy busy prepping the house and our lives for the ginormous renovation AND my Mom's interment service.

My Mom's service was something SO darn special. I really wish she was there IN person so I could see the smile on her face; I know without a doubt that she loved it.
If someone ever has another funeral and invites me, I'll refuse to attend.
Ok, maybe I won't, but I'll be disappointed that they didn't have a celebration instead; I'm telling you, it's the way to go.

First off, months ago, even before my Mom became ill she told us all about this great place that she had visited. The Monastery of the holy spirit in Conyers, GA. She and a girlfriend took a day trip and loved the tour so much. (I had been there a few times as a teen with my church group; it is a beautiful place) Mom mentioned that near the Monastery they did green burials on protected land. She was fascinated by this....and you know, with me being green and all, I was too. What a great concept.
While she was sick, we really didn't discuss the plans if perhaps she didn't survive cancer...but
she's been telling me forever that she wanted to be cremated. She never wanted to take up precious land space when she was gone. This worked out well since you can place your remains in a spot on the green cemetery. 

The family took a trip there while Mom was in hospice knowing we'd need to choose the perfect spot for her.

We all found a great area that we liked; Lolo and Linds actually picked THE spot for Mom.
Something really cool about this place is that the Monks pray daily for those who are resting here and this land will never ever be touched. It is protected until the end of time.
And you don't have to be a certain religion OR any religion at's open to all of us. 

You can go and visit any time too; it's a beautiful place to walk and enjoy nature. No headstones; nothing obtrusive, Only a simple stone engraved with your name. They are truly green; if you wish to NOT be cremated, you're wrapped in a shroud or placed in a pine box. Everything has to be compostable. We decorated a cardboard box for my Mom's cremains...I really should have used a shoe box though; she was a fan of shoes. 
We finalized her plans back in June but we didn't have the wherewithal to actually HAVE the service back then. The Coach had the idea to wait until Labor Day weekend...which was a great idea. Between cleaning out her apartment, organizing finances, etc...waiting was the way to go. Also, it gave us some time to heal emotionally. 

 I'll share some photos and details from her service (and then some) soon; it was quite spectacular if I don't say so myself. 

I hope all my blog friends are doing well; you're missed!!!