Sunday, February 17, 2013

Honoring My Mom on Her Birthday - Lights in the Sky!

It is difficult to know how to truly honor someone that has passed.  Nothing seems like enough.  But after some discussion - this is what we decided to do.
First we met and enjoyed a nice dinner with some of my mom's favorite foods:  sweet and sour spare ribs with rice, vegetables and salad with Homespun dressing.
Then we sat and shared what we missed most about my mom, shared memories and my dad read some of the quotes that she loved and had saved in her files. (I will try to post those at a later time.)  It was very emotional but also very sweet.
We then piled into the car and drove to the lake to launch 16 floating lanterns - in honor of my mother's birthday on February 16th. 
Here we are upon arrival - Brian with the crutches and wheelchair after fracturing his heel bone.
My handsome father - notice anything different?  After wearing a mustache for 40+ years...he shaved it off!

The very first lantern!

Lighting the lanterns was magical - once we got the hang of it!  If there is a next time - we will know the best way to do it and try to light several at a time.  We were pretty slow at getting them off the ground but it was still very cool!

One of my favorite pictures!

After we saw the last lantern flicker into the darkness, we went back to Papa's house to celebrate 2 more February birthdays - Sarah and Micaela.

Kip baked a chocolate layer cake with fluffy 7-minute icing - a family classic and my mom's favorite (he even made it pink!). 
So she wouldn't miss out on her lovely birthday cake, my dad took a piece of this cake up to my mom's grave the next day.  He left it for her to share with the rabbits and the deer.

Aunt Amy gave Sarah a couple of party poppers for her birthday.  Sarah loved them!

But it left quite a mess!
Addie had to take a turn.
Papa gave Sarah a little bag of toys that my mom kept in her drawer.  She always had little bags of toys ready to take in her purse whenever she was going somewhere and needed to entertain little grandchildren.  He also gave Sarah this fan that belonged to my mom (after she got sick she had a difficult time regulating her body temperature and was always very hot).  Aunt Linda - is this the fan you gave her?  
Papa also gave Micaela this lovely bracelet that belonged to my mother.  She was touched.
And as a final nod to the cheetah birthday - we gave Sarah this:

It was a bittersweet day and in some ways I am glad it has come and gone.  Happy birthday Mom!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Remembering My Mom on Her Birthday

Today is my mother's birthday.  She would have been 77 years old. For some reason it is less painful to look at pictures of when she was younger than recent photos.   
1936 - just a few months old
Here she is when she was 3 years old with her brother.
Again with her younger brother - she is 9 years old in this picture - the same age as Cate.
One year later - her family at Christmas.
1948 - Janet with her siblings. 
1951 - Janet with her mother, Florence.  Graduating from junior high school.
1956 - 20 years old
1955 - 19 years old (far right)
1956 - My mother's father moved the family to Taiwan for a year where he was involved in Malaria research.  Here she is with her younger sister and parents - age 20.
1956 - Taiwan.  Janet, ShuHong and Linda.
My mother gave this autographed photo to my father in 1957 - she was 21 years old.  So lovely.
They were married in 1958.

This April my parents would have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.

My mother's birthday was always celebrated in conjunction with Valentine's Day.  Click on this link to see a post I wrote on her birthday in 2010.  She was sharing with the family some Valentines she had saved throughout the years.  Some dated back to the early 1900's.  My mother always had a way of making experiences meaningful - extra special and memorable.  We are trying to carry on her legacy.

The constant rawness of the emotions that I felt when my mother passed away has faded.  It comes in spurts now - when I least expect it.  Most of the time I can control my tears and prevent myself from thinking about it too much.  It may not be the most healthy way to grieve but it feels natural for me.  But the dull ache always remains.  I miss her so much.

We are gathering as a family today to honor my mother.  We have some special things planned that I will post about later.