Mom's Obituary @ Cedar Memorial: Obituary
Mom's photos @ Cedar Memorial: Photos
Mom's Obituary @ Cedar Rapids Gazette: Obituary
Mom's Obituary @ Iowa City Press Citizen: Obituary
This is my recap of Mom's wake and funeral.
For the wake on Thursday, we arrived at the funeral home early. Mom looked great - they did a great job with her hair. The vigil service started around 4. I spoke. I started out by saying that I was going to give you a list of 77 things about Mom because she was 77. Then I was going to give you a list of 45 things because I'm 45. I transferred into talking about going to Osco to get Caffeine Free Diet Coke. I talked about how she introduced me to hard rock with the Gene Simmons solo 8 track and that she always wanted to treat Mark and I equally so, for one Christmas, we each got a drumstick. Then I talked about two ironies. The first is that she was left handed and it was her left hand to contract first. For the last few years of her life, she had to learn to do every thing with her right hand. The second was that she had her Master's degree in language arts and spent her career communicating, but for the last few years, she was unable to communicate. I talked about being in the room when she passed and how peaceful it was. She was here, and then she was gone.
It was simply so humbling to see that many people come through the receiving line and to show their support and compassion for me, for Mark (my brother), & Dad.
Many friends from QDS came through the line. BSS appeared at the entrance to the room where we stood to receive callers and when I saw Struchen standing at the door to come in, I nearly started to cry. Struchen told me years ago that he doesn't do wakes or funerals. He proposed to his girlfriend the night before and they are getting married on Saturday, July 11, 2015. There were other friends from QDS that I had not seen in a long time like Karen A & Lisa Y. It was great to see them. Their support of me, even though I haven't worked there since 10/15/2010 (my last day) simply proved to me that they are great friends that will support me through life's challenges. My former manager, Deb, had come down the day before with a big pan of sloppy joe's and buns and chips. They sent a beautiful plant to the funeral home and they also included over $100 to be used for expenses or whatever we need. It was quite humbling. Phil and Liz came to the wake as well - I hadn't physically seen Phil in a couple of years. It made tears come to my eyes to see him come through the line. Alan, another former co-worker from QDS, came as well and we stood and talked about all that was going on in life - I hadn't seen him since running into him at Hairball on 2/14/2014 in Waterloo.
Other friends, such as JR & Kathy (and JR's mom), Mark & Mary Kurth, Fred & Julie (and Erin), the entire Mount Mercy College group [(Mark / LuAnn, Kevin / Nancy, Jeff / Karen (and 3 of their 4 kids), & Denice / Brad (and Drew)], Fran Hatfield (Gary's mom - Gary was one of my best friends growing up), Jack & Sharron McElmeel (Tom's mom - Tom was one of my best friends growing up). It touched me deeply to see Jack as my impression of him was that he wasn't the type of person that would come to a wake, even though I have no evidence to back that up. The Venteicher's (Dick & Mary, John & Jody, Laurie and her family, and Gwen and her family) also went through the line.
And Mom's friends, such as the teachers! The teachers! Holy buckets! There were so many that came through, such as the Frishcorn's, the Horton's, and many others. Mom made a lasting impression on so many students and fellow teachers that she had worked with during her 40 year career. Some of the names were very familiar to me and they all spoke so highly of Mom and her love for educating students.
After the wake, Karen, the kids, Lou & Jean, and I went to Red Robin for supper. It was good to eat a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg and a side of their mac & cheese.
As for the funeral on Friday, again, more family and friends were at the funeral mass to say good-bye to Mom. Brian Gravel drove up from Burlington, JR & Kathy were present as were Jeff / Karen & Denice from the Mount Mercy College group. During the Mass itself, Megan read the first reading and I read the second reading. I couldn't look up once when I stood at that podium because I was certain I would catch a glimpse of Mom's casket and breakdown in tears. Father Thompson did a wonderful job with the homily. I told him that Mom would have liked it because there were no unnecessary words. Mom used to edit my papers and if I gave her 1000 words, she would return 400 of them.
It would be impossible to get through this difficult time without the love and support of family and friends.