Last Tuesday I attended a celebration of life for my son-in-law’s mother Barbara, who passed away recently. The entire event was planned around good memories, not the usual funereal sadness, and it was held in the lovely back yard around the pool on a beautiful spring day.
We prepared a colorful storyboard, including a large picture of her with a big smile on her face, a number of smaller photos, and a very brief bio. All over the house were stacks of family photos, and immediately everyone started going through those, talking about when each was taken, and where. Snippets of stories began to surface about her life, her late husband’s and their family. Pretty tables set up with cheerful pink cloths and pink floral arrangements completed the setting.
Barbara’s daughter had prepared a short statement about her Mom, purposely keeping it upbeat and humorous. Barbara’s favorite song was played, a silly western ditty, and a clergyman read a brief bible passage.
We were all having a wonderful time, and even though daughter Amelia came close to tears, she controlled them.
Before luncheon was served, there was one more thing to do. Large pink balloons had been filled and were brought out, and one was given to each guest. Barbara’s granddaughter Hailee stepped to the center of the gathering, telling us that whenever she was saying goodbye, Barbara always gave her a wiggly finger wave. She did that little wave, and everyone released the balloons, watching them soar into the heavens.
As we watched, they finally disappeared from sight. It was a very emotional few minutes, and it left such a warm, loving memory. I decided then and there that’s the way I want to be sent off when my time comes.