Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nana's Memorial

I found myself startled yesterday. I was looking through my calendar in an attempt to organize my brain when my eyes landed on "September 5th - spend time with Nana". It caught me off guard and I was amazed at how things changed so quickly. Was it really less than a month ago? I remember that day. She was tired and not very talkative. But she could walk with help and much coaxing. She smiled with me as we stole minutes of short stories and loving smiles. We spent the evening with each other enjoying the company as she rested so that my parents could have a rare dinner out.

Nana's memorial was just a few days ago, September 26th, and time has gone by so quickly. It was a beautiful day of honoring her. Though we have had much rain in the days prior as well as the days following, that day was warm and sunny.

I had been the point person for all of the arrangements, so the two weeks between her passing on and the funeral found me with daily tasks to keep me calm and organized. The day of, when there was nothing left for me to do......that was hard.

We started the day at the cemetery. While we know that her spirit is in heaven, it was still a somber time. I am grateful our time there was short. After 30 minutes we headed to the church for our celebration of life service. I just have to say here how grateful I am to be part of a church body that is all about loving people and not about rules. Though my Nana and my parents have not attended our church, our pastor loved and accepted my whole family as his very own, because there is no other way to be. And though we do not have our own building, our neighboring church body gladly and graciously gave the use of their building as though nothing would please them more.

Our daughter Puddin', sang Nana's favorite version of Twinkle Twinkle by Iz as she played her ukelele.
Nana's youngest brother was able to fly in and he gave a beautiful eulogy that made everyone smile.
Pastor shared a wonderful message of life and eternal certainty. Then we sang In The Garden and Kanaka Wai Wai. I personally thought it was adorable that my large family sang with more zeal to the Hawaiian song than the old time hymn. Open sharing was a precious time as people reflected on their treasured memories.

Then we went outside for something special. We sang the first verse and the chorus of Ku-uipo and the first verse of You Are My Sunshine and then released blue balloons in the sky. I had never participated in a balloon releasing before. I found it to be a healing thing as I watched my balloon disappear into the clouds.

Meanwhile as we were doing all of this, my treasured friends put together a beautiful luncheon as a means of blessing my whole family. After a long and emotional day, it just always seems so perfect to embrace memories and each other over a plate of comfort food. And as a special surprise, I made a huge batch of malasadas as a means of sealing the day together. Malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) is one of the many yummy things Nana made in the kitchen in her younger days to bless us all. Everyone was thrilled over them and it made me feel even more that Nana was right there with us, in our memories and in our hearts.

Thank You God for the treasure of Nana.

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