Some of our favorite people are very far away and unable to attend my Mommy’s funeral. Love to all of you who are so far away. You are in our hearts always. For those of you who were unable to attend my mother’s funeral, I wanted to post a few details of her memorial. This wasn’t everything… just what I had handy to post.
Ann Balderston, 71 of Arvada, CO passed away peacefully on Friday, December 3, 2010. She was lovingly cared for in her final days by her devoted children, Pete Balderston and Ann Brady.
Ann was born in Glasgow, Scotland and lived in Campbeltown up through her early adult years. As a child, she swam along rocky shores and roamed the Scottish hills.
Ann raised a love-filled family that includes two extra children of her heart, Kurt Brady and Christie Balderston, five Grandchildren, Tyler, Brooke, Megan, Blake and Colbie. Her life was spent cheering at baseball and hockey games, enjoying dancing and singing shows and bouncing babies on her knee. She is survived by all her children and grandchildren and one sister, Margaret Duncan. She is preceded in death by an infant sister, her first love Peter Lovett and her final love Edwin Balderston.
A brief graveside service will be held on Thursday, December 9 at 1:30 at Fort Logan National Cemetery. Anyone planning to attend should arrive at 1:15 at staging area B. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society in Ann’s honor.
Mom’s Memorial Service
It was a beautiful day. Unseasonably warm, sunny and very spring like in early December. Mull of Kintyre by Paul McCartney and Wings played as my brother, my husband, my son and my nephew along with other family friends carried mom in her casket forward to the sound of bagpipes playing.
Peace my heart, by Rabindarnath Tagore
Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.
She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on
My thoughts about Mom…
Everything you need to know about my mom, I can tell you in one sentence. My Mommy cut the crust off my sandwiches until I was in my twenties. Drove me crazy. But that was Mom. She spared no effort or time in tending to her families needs and desires. Even once we’d grown, mom was always delighted to help with any task her children needed help with. It was her life’s blood. From laundry to child rearing, from listing to the woes of our world to celebrating the joys of our life, mom was always there opening her heart, her ears…her wallet. She and Dad were the world’s best security blanket.
With a mother like mine, there are so many things to be grateful for. As a child, my friends all loved mom. She welcomed mine and Pete’s friends into her heart as though they were her own children. Our home always bubbled over with friends coming in and out. Earlier this year, mom received a letter from a childhood friend of mine. She wrote “You were such an important part of my childhood. You always made me feel so welcome, calling me “love”, convincing me to eat beans, and making me feel extra special with a cup of hot tea and milk at bedtime.
I guess you could say that all of my memories of you are like home, of happy times in a light-filled kitchen with music on the radio”. My friend was right. Mom was home
As our family grew, her heart grew. She welcomed in two more children of her heart Kurt and Christie and then doted as the grandbabies joined our family. Geese flocked from miles around when she arrived at the park feeding loaf after loaf of bread to the birds just to delight her grandbabies. Her patience was limitless. Her love, an embrace that held us all.
As an adult, I’ve realized how challenging it is to be a parent and she made it look easy. As an adult, I’ve realized that my Leave it to Beaver upbringing was more rare than the finest of jewels. Offers to adopt my mother have followed me my whole life. She was a keeper!
Mom lived to be a mother and also a wife. As those of us closest to Mom know, she literally lived for Dad. My Uncle Carroll told me the other day how the reverse was true as well. He said “I know his life before and I know his life after. I saw the change in his live after she arrived. It brought joy to our life seeing that. She’s the best thing that ever happened to your dad. She made his life.” Together, Mom and Dad made a life. They made my life. Together, they created all the love in my life and together, they are united as my love lives on.
Mom was also a sister to my Aunt Margaret. And what a pair those two were. From traipsing around Africa with toddlers and babes on hip, to hunkering down in loving companionship, quietly together during their last visit, these two shared a bond that even death and disease cannot sever. A friend of mine wrote to me several months ago saying “My kids still talk about “how cute those grannies are”. Awww. I will forever hold that image of your mom and her sister sitting on your couch during Blakes’ birthday in my heart. They are very sweet sisters.” And they are. Prayer….Dear God, please bless my Aunt Margaret and her family as they walk a path similar to our last 9 months. Let their hearts be strengthened by our love. Let our hugs cross the miles to hold them. Ease their path and strengthen their hearts. They have a long road to go and we walk that road with them in our hearts. Bless and keep them all.
And so, I say goodbye to my mom, to my best friend my whole life through. She cut the crust off of sandwhiches, called everyone ‘love’ and made many geese fat and happy…all in the name of being our Mom and Grandma and Granny. I will miss her so much and yet I am her and so are you… And we will all carry her in our heart’s because that’s where she always lived anyway.
A poem by a friend of mine. Thanks for sharing it, Jenn.
The Gift of Memory, Jennafer Elias-Reed
Memory’s flashcards embody us with the images of a lifetime.
We are warmed by yesterday’s hands helping us reach to our potential.
The voice that always knew we could when we shook in uncertainty.
We remember the hug after a skinned knee more than the accident itself.
Finding that soft place to land when the blocks seemed stacked high against us, memory tempers us, opening us to another’s perspective, allowing us to evolve and grow over time.
Lessons learned with the support of a gentle hand, memory holds us tight when we are most alone and beckons us to reach to our light within, that place where we all know love, truly– where we are yoked together despite our earthly distances.
Memory keeps our loved-ones near, wiping our tears of loneliness, illuminating that thin veneer between what is living now and what only appears to no longer be.
Then the Chaplain sang the Irish Blessing. He had a lovely voice. Such a nice way to close.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
And, I’ll never forget the sight of my brother jumping out of his car to run back and give his mom one more kiss.
Goodbye Mommy. I’ll always hold you in my heart.