I lost my mother in 2017 after a long battle with Parkinson’s and other effects of old age.
My parents and most of my extended family live in Minnesota. The last few years of her life as the progression of the disease continued, I made the journey to Minnesota a lot more frequently. On my visits, I would take her to do and see some of her favorite things. It also gave my father a break from caregiving. It is very hard to see a person who was so passionate about life and her family start to lose the connection that mattered most to her.
My father had a very clear picture of how he wanted her memorial service to go and look. He bought flowers; four plants and 2 bouquets to be exact. We told him that people would send flowers, he didn’t care. He wanted the room to look like a flower shop. *Funny story here – every time we moved, he complained we had to move her “weeds” * We put a picture of my mom surrounded by bright flowers on her memorial program.
I knew that I wanted to have mom by me in Wisconsin, so I brought a glass jar for some of her remains. I asked my two brothers if they wanted some as well. They found that very strange and didn’t want any part of having our mother’s remains with them. Of course, I can understand why. I have a deeper understanding and knowledge of grief having worked for the National Funeral Directors Association for over 25 years. I knew having some of her remains would be important down the road.
At NFDA’s convention in Boston, I searched for something to hold my mom’s remains. My mom loved flowers and color, but nothing was speaking to me. Then I saw a glass piece. The artist was from Wisconsin. She asked me about my mom. One of my mom’s favorite flowers is the Zinnia (I grow them every year for her), and she loved red, orange, and yellow flowers. This artist contacted me before she started to work on my mother’s piece, and to think about her to make magic happen. The artist created two glass pieces of my mom’s remains. She was having so much fun with my mom and her love of flowers, she had to do another one.
When I showed the two pieces to my dad, he thought they were wonderful. I asked if he wanted to have one. My dad has shown many people the glass piece of my mom and secretly, I think he talks to her. My brothers and my nephews all got a piece of it as well. When you blow glass, there is castoff glass no larger than a fifty-cent piece. I carry mine with me all the time.
Look closely at the pictures – the white, sparkle line is her remains. I think she captured my Mother’s spirit.