Color Your World Pink…

2009 08 19 029

Wednesday – August 12th… and then it was time…

“Can we stop at the gate?” I asked Jamie as we prepared to leave the house.

At the gate I opened my hand to reveal the wrinkled ribbon that I held tightly clutched in my hand. A pink ribbon —- with care and deep thought I carefully tied the ribbon on the gate.

“This is the family room”, the lady said – “you can sit in here and I will come and get you when it is time.”

Looking around the room my heart broke as I looked into the faces of my children. I had walked this road they were on, and as I looked into their eyes I knew they would never be the same again. Losing a grandmother – someone who had always been there for them – they didn’t know any other way….I knew in years to come they would look back on this day and their hearts would break all over again – I knew they would miss her in ways they could at this moment not comprehend, I knew I was helpless in this moment and could not protect them from the hurt – I prayed silently for Got to hold the hearts of my children gently – I prayed that the words I had written, that Fred Massy would use, would help to take the sting out, even just a little bit…. I whispered to myself… I am ok, I am ok, I am ok…

“It is time” the lady said softly – “If you line up, I will lead you in”.

The world started to close in on me — I am ok, I am ok, I am ok —-

I looked up – and right before me was the memorial table that the day before Jamie and I had set up. My mom’s picture in the center, her little pink teddy bear that had sat so proudly on her china cabinet, the main flower bouquet – pink and white carnations. The red rose from my dad standing tall next to her picture. The two pink roses to the side which represented my brother and I. 5 single pink carnations, representing her 5 grand children, 5 white carnations representing her great grand children. I took a deep breath, and felt my dad shaking beside me, I took his hand, hoping he could gain some strength, my brother moved closer and I felt his arm go around me and my dad… Silently I whispered … I am ok, I am ok, I am ok…

The words that Fred Massy spoke were mostly words that I had written over the past weeks – mixed in with his own words, prayers and songs… Opening the service…

Joan often told the story of how when she was very young she received a box of crayons, and in this box of crayons was the most beautiful pink crayon she had ever seen. Something she had never seen before. Joan treasured this crayon and used it sparingly to make it last as long as she could. It was from this moment that pink became Joan’s favorite color. Today the family is wearing pink in honor of Joan and her favorite color.

From there I went blank, words spoken were only an echo… The tears that I had been holding back flowed freely down my face. I walked a walk alone – alone with my memories- the flash movie clips moved through my brain at rapid speed as I sat there. I moved so deeply into myself I find it amazing now to look back at it – I went into a place I had never been before, and at the time I never wanted to leave. I felt my dad move the ring I wore on my little finger, next to my wedding rings, that my mom had labeled with my name, and I knew I had to stay strong for him.

Fred Massy continued…

Joan was an avid gardener spending many hours in her flower gardens. Through her art and knowledge of gardening, by gently tending the seedlings of her plants she taught us patience.

Joan loved to crochet, knit and sew – and created many keepsakes for her family and friends. She was famous for her crocheted angels who she shared with people from around the world. Through her art of needlework she taught us that even the most crinkled bit of thread could be turned into something beautiful.

Joan was a painter, and enjoyed creating new items. Through the strokes of her paintbrush she taught us that dreams can be realized and that imagination can come to life.

Joan loved to recount tales of her own childhood and early married life, and through her tales she taught us the importance of memories.

Joan was never too busy to talk on the phone. Often saying”just a minute while I turn down the spuds”, just so she could talk a bit longer. Joan never tired of hearing stories of her grandchildren and how their day at school was going. In her later years the same held true with her great grandchildren. Through all of this Joan taught us the importance of family.

Joan loved the springtime, and the return of the little birds, the plants and the nice weather. Through this she taught us how even in the darkest of days, there is always something to look forward to.

Joan loved to get together with her family – with one of her favorites being pot luck dinners, where she would scour recipe books finding just the right recipe for each member of her family. At the potlucks Joan would taste each dish of others, praising the maker for their culinary talents.

Joan loved sparkly things – the snow and how it sparkled on a clear winter’s day, the glitter on a card, the sparkle on a Christmas tree, the sparkle of the ocean, lakes and rivers, the sparkle of the stars on a dark night – if it sparkled, it caught Joan’s attention. Joan put the sparkle in all of our days – and we were the sparkle in hers!

Joan loved to laugh – never at a person, but with the person as the tale was recounted:

The humming bird landing on a little red head, putting on a wet suit, the gypsy lady pounding her stick upon the stage floor, the outlandish accent picked up on a holiday, the word blunder of Buckerfields, camping trips, the “look at me” as the car sped by, the slivers in the other end, the dance with the air hose, the question of “what is a sister”, the V surgery, bathroom renovations, cats and fly tapes, capturing bats, charades, jokes about Fluffy… Remember Joan, and keep on laughing!

Joan volunteered for the Cowichan district hospital a member of the junior auxiliary – she was known as the baby picture lady. Joan used to love to recount tails of the cute baby she had just seen… but nothing could beat the pride that showed on her face as when she took the baby pictures of her grandchildren.

During the school years of her children, Beverly and Rodney, Joan often told them “it does not matter what your grade is, as long as you do your best”. This was a message that Joan also passed on to her grandchildren throughout their school years.

When Joan found out bullies stole her son’s cookies from his lunch she packed an extra batch, instead of pointing fingers she just made more cookies.

Joan’s grandchildren like to recount tales of their childhood, when they would spend time at Grandma’s house. With custom breakfast’s of a selection of porridge, honey toast, peach jam toast – Joan went out of her way to make sure that each child received a special treat. Trips to the grocery store are fondly remembered as are the day to day tasks of ‘tidying up’. From the first tentative steps of each baby Joan cheered each milestone as her grandchildren grew from infants to adults.

Joan welcomed each new member of the family with open arms, making each feel like they have belonged forever.

Joan was always interested in the things her family and friends were doing. Horse shows, dirt bikes, the newest batch of kittens, school concerts, school plays, music recitals, dance recitals, art shows, the newest painting, the newest photograph, a walk in the woods, the newest wood cutouts, foot ball, firefighting, the newest row of vegetables planted in the garden, the newly learned bike skills, the crochet project, the painted project, the sewing project, the latest racecar, the family barbeque, the birth of a baby, the jigsaw puzzle, the card game, the newly painted home, the newest pet. Joan celebrated each activity no matter how big or small. If you loved something she loved it along with you. Joan loved – and is loved.

Joan was someone special to each of us here today. Each of us hold memories of Joan, quiet memories shared between just the two of you. Flashes that will come as if movie clips as the days move forward. You will remember words spoken, gestures given. Nothing can take these memories away from you, they are a gift meant to last you a lifetime, and if you so wish can help these memories live on by whispering them to another.

There is a saying somewhere that says, go out there and make the world a little bit better than you found it. Joan spent her life making this world a little bit better for all of us. Through her many talents she brought beauty not only to this world but to each and every one of us.

If Joan were here she would probably tell each and every one of us to go out there and make the world ‘Pink’. Take the time to color with that pink crayon, plant that pink flower, buy that pink dress, paint the wall pink, go ahead and snuggle that pink teddy bear, add food coloring to make the cookies pink. Oh and while you are out their painting your world pink… don’t forget to add a little bit of sparkle.

Joan’s pink does not have to be the same as your pink — it can be any color you like — the point being is to get out there – love and be loved. Put your passion in everything you do, and don’t be afraid to do things. Make this world just a little bit better for those around you and for those yet to come. In other words paint your world ‘Pink’.

I also know Joan would want me to tell you – “Go ahead and eat an extra plate of food” – eat it for her. I know this for a fact as she told Beverly to tell you this the last time she talked to her!

Pink is a quiet color and pink is the color of universal love – it cannot get any better than that!

Do not live the remainder of your days with regrets for things you may have said or did not say, things you did or may not have done. Move forward and live your days. Live them ‘In the Pink’ as Joan would have wanted.

… and then it was over.

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 8:31 am  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s taken me a long time to read this through my tears. You are still in my thoughts and never far from my heart.

  2. Thank you Heather

  3. Even yesterday i cried while making my girls ‘sammies’ it is all the little things.

    I was completly numb thru the service and missed alot of what was said, it is nice to read them they are all beautiful. It is a hard thing to read these passages, but so very healing. I am learning to dance to a song that I dont really hate any more, but i am still clumsy. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  4. ((hugs))

  5. ((Beverly))

  6. You and your family were so blessed to have had such a special lady in your lives. It’s easy to see why you all miss her so much but remember that she’s not gone. She’s still there with you.

    Thank you for sharing your mom with those of us who never knew her. What a privilege to know even this much about her.

  7. Love the video link Shawn W

  8. I’m glad Teri.

    It was only suppose to be a link, but I must have copied the wrong code. Almost fainted when I saw that huge thing there.

  9. You are right Corina we were very blessed to have such a special lady in our lives, and I know she is still here I feel her — but damb I wish I could just pick up the phone and call her, ya know?

    Shawn thank you for sharing the video and I am glad it was not just a link, but the actual video, it was comforting to watch.

    Teri the dance is hard I know, but we will learn the steps.

  10. Wow, just wow. That was so powerful and beautiful.

    One thing that I’ve learned on this journey of loss is that when I tell someone, “I really miss my Mom” one of the worst things that they can tell me is “She’ll always be with you”. I think that I’m supposed to find comfort in that but, like you, there are days when I just want to pick up the phone and call her. When someone says that to me I just want to say, “I miss her the very literal sense of the word. I don’t miss her memory because that’s all that I have”.

    What you’re feeling is so normal and you sound like your surrounded by a choir of loving people who will help you. Even those of us who weren’t blessed with that find a way through all the sadness.



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