So, Grandma is gone - safely laid to rest. I'm back home from the funeral and from visiting family. It's always good to see my family - but it's sad that the only time we seem to be able to gather is at a time of mourning... Still, I was able to see family I hadn't seen in years and years so that's a good thing. I reconnected with my cousin Julie which is awesome!
My sister and I decided to make our own arrangements for the funeral - we bought large crystal vases - like the ones that our Grandmother had at her house (but bigger) and fill them with roses and other flowers. Grandma loved yellow roses... and hydrangea but really, she wasn't that picky - she loved any flower... right down to wildflowers! That way, after the service, we could keep the vases and remember our Grandmother whenever we used them - she loved flowers so much - and we both thought it would be a fitting tribute... to also be able to pass down through the family generation to generation...
we made 2 large and 1 smaller arrangement in her honor and placed them in the funeral home during the visitation. We made the smaller arrangement with hydrangea and other flowers, and I cut wild sage from my sister's yard and put in that vase - it smelled so good!
The other two vases were either filled with 4 dozen yellow and red/pink roses or full of lilies and roses -
After the visitation and service, I took the flowers and put them in a large 5 gallon bucket (which is where they are in this photo) - and carried them to the cemetery. After the graveside service was finished and we were leaving, I put a rose on my grandfather's grave, my great grandmother and great grandfather's graves, and on my dad's grave. we paid out respects, then headed back across the river to Indiana to the nursing home that Grandma spent her last years.
We ran by a dollar store and I picked up a bunch of plastic vases that look like cut crystal (they're actually pretty nice!) and then my nephew, brother in law and I sat them out on the sidewalk at the nursing home, filled them with water from the hose, and while they cut the stems shorter and handed the flowers and greenery to me, I quickly made 9 smaller arrangements out of the large assemblage of flowers we had.
The three of us went into the nursing home and after speaking with the staff, randomly selected residents to receive flowers. The first lady I gave flowers to had been there only 3 weeks - she was happy with the home so far - I explained that my Grandmother had lived there over a decade and had just finished her life - and in celebration of her wonderful life and in her honor, we were giving flowers - to let each person there know that there are people who are thinking of them... it was a wonderful feeling!
The last lady we gave flowers to had just finished with some sort of surgery. Her family was visiting with her and she seemed to be doing pretty well. Her face lit up and she was so happy that we had taken time to say hi and that we had thought of her. She happened to also be covered in one of the blankets that my Grandmother had made - (Grandma used to make quilts and blankets and donate them to the homes - years and years ago.... - I don't know how old this particular one was... but the nurse told me it came from my Grandma) -
Anyway, I wanted to share - the service was beautiful - the family was there and we were able to celebrate her life - she is now laid to rest and at peace and, as my sis said, she's finally free - no longer trapped in that frail body!
If you ever have extra flowers... and you don't know what to do with them... if you have a wedding, or funeral, or large party... and there are flowers abundant afterwards, might I suggest that you take a little of your time, spend a few dollars and get some plastic vases - arrange some happiness and make some random deliveries to a nursing home. It will be the highlight of your week; I promise.
Grandma would have been proud of us. I think we did good.
Here's a great photo of my Grandma and Great Grandma, along with my cousin - I think this was in the 60's and I think it is in Florida... this photo hung on Grandma's wall for as long as I can remember!
While visiting, I had my share of sweet tea (I LOVE it and you can't get it in California at the restrurants.... and putting sweetener in it is not the same!) and we were able to stop at Cracker Barrel and get Chicken and dumplings!
I'm going to miss my Grandma - but I know she's in a better place now - and I also know that someday I'll see her again...