Friday, October 17, 2008

Laura Armeta Barnes 1923-2008




Christmas 1964 and 2006
Last Wenesday evening my Grandma passed away. She had been in the Alzheimer's unit at a local nursing home for the past 16 months.Our family had hoped and prayed for a peaceful passing ; she had diminished to a confused whisper of herself both mentally and physically. My Mom ,myself and Grampa were there when she left. She was probably waiting for all family members to come say goodbye, somehow. I couldn't visit on a regular basis, fearful that this newer memory of her would be unbearable and somehow override all the fond childhood memories. I was the first Grandchild ,born on their 22nd wedding anniversary.
after the initial shock of seing her so close to the end of her life,I felt a stange sense of calmness and accepting. Appropriately enough, my Mom and I were with her at the end ,pulling threads through on a quilt that needed to be done by that Friday for our Quilt Guild show that weekend.I don't think she would have thought it was a pretty quilt, but she would have been helping us finish it just the same.
My Grandma was the pure definition of the word. My Mom's Mother, full of kindness,generosity,grace and warmth.She was an accomplished seamstress, tailoring and sewing countless garments for her children and grandchildren. Always there to hem or alter a garment when we were growing up. Her love of "material" was passed on though my mom and myself. I have many fond memories of going to the fabric store with her and spending time in her sewing room which smelled like emeraude perfume and spray sizing.My sister and I laughed at our too long dress pants for the funeral. She was trying to hem hers, I gave up and had brought the painters tape.Our Grandma had spoiled us with her willingness to sew for us.
The funeral service infortunately , in my eyes, was an unfortunate dis-service. I had not been to many funerals but I thought the whole idea was to give a happy snapshot of that person's life. The pastor told stories that were for sure out of context for they were given to him by family members. Somehow they were reduced to the dogmatic delarations of the consequences of Sin ....etc....blah blah.
I was so very offended by this man's proclamations that had I known , I would have gotten up and (as my Aunt Kathy so perfectly stated "Sit down buddy, I'm telling the stories,I'll let you know when I'm done!") given a more accurate portrayal of the love ,kindness and grace that was my Grandma.
My Grandma was 40 years old when I was born on their wedding anniversary.She would have been 85 this December 11,2008.
Myself at 44, I hope to continue to remember how my Grandma lived her life, and to hopefully somehow follow her example.If I live to be the same age I have 40 years more to strive to live my life to the fullest .
As she would say "I'd better get busy!

4 comments:

Anna Banana said...

I’m sorry to hear of your grandma's passing. I can so relate to the dilemma of not seeing her so much at the end so as to preserve the memories of happier times.

Anna Banana said...

Oh, I almost forgot. What is it with these preachers using the funeral service as an opportunity to "save" us all? I'm with you in that I believe a funeral service is to honor the deceased, and to celebrate a life (hopefully) well lived.
My husband's aunt died a couple years ago and the preacher went on and on about how she gave up drinking and sinning at the last minute so she surely got into heaven by the skin of her teeth. i myself never saw her drinking, so i don't know if it was really an issue with her or not, but it certainly was NOT appropriate to bring up at her funeral.
When my husband's grandmother died, I was nervous about her funeral because of it being her preacher who had said those terrible things at the aunt’s funeral. Nanny was the closest thing to a saint that I have ever met personally. My husband was fresh out of the hospital and could not attend his granny’s funeral, but I knew that if he was able he would have taken a stand if the preacher had tried to say anything about her being a sinner. The preacher ended up saying only good things about HER, but the rest of us were going to hell.
Then my mother-in-law’s funeral was a couple months later. She was not portrayed as well as her mother, but nothing too terrible, and again, the rest of us were all going straight to hell. Unless we started attending his church of course. Luckily, at the graveside, there was a storm coming off a hurricane so his sermon was cut short. Thank GOD for hurricanes!!!!!!

schnoobie said...

It really,REALLY upset me :that funeral crap. Now my Grampa has decided to go to that pastor's church....(after 86 years of no church anywhere) guess he wants to make sure he's ending up at the same place as Gram.
Little does he know that in Quilt Heaven no boys are allowed (unless you are a quilter yourself or you are there to fix sewing machines)

be*mused jan said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Try to remember the good times and forget the service.