For me, the sharp pains of grief have now become a constant dull ache. I feel her presence always (or at least her memory) but have not quite grasped the finality of it all. I still just can't believe that my mother is gone. I know that I am not alone in my sorrow. My siblings, extended family and her friends are grieving in their own way. And my father - my dear, sweet father - continues to live his life with such grace and goodness...although I can only imagine how hard it must be for him.
I wanted to honor my mother today by posting some excerpts from some of the many tender and sweet sympathy cards we received after her death. Knowing she influenced and inspired so many is the greatest tribute we could give my mother.
Janet Beck Clark
February 16th 1936 - October 22nd 2012"Here are a few fond memories...
- She had such an artistic touch that seemed to impact everything she did - she was a living artist in the way she appreciated nature, found beauty in detail, and brought beauty to everything she did.
- She was the embodiment of the words "if there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report..."
- I look at the dried flower arrangement on my wall that she did and there is only place for that - next to my harp - both symbols of peace and tranquility.
- She could look at what someone would call a weed and see the beauty in the color and shape and form and turn it into a thing of beauty.
- She seemed to make a home of beauty with such a lovely garden, beautiful home, and good family, but the beauty was more than superficial - it was who she was.
- Everything about her seemed to radiate beauty." - J.
A letter to my mother at the end of her life...
"I will never forget the way you made the natural world a part of every [young women] lesson, and how that spoke to me. Every time I came to your home I knew that was the feeling I wanted to have in my own home someday.
I can't help but think of you sometimes when I am teaching my boys the name of a plant on a hike, or when I'm putting the finishing touches on a homemade meal for my husband.
Your Christlike example taught me so much about how to be a leader, a mother and a friend. It also taught me how to be an individual, and do things my own way. I learned so much about my own divine potential from you.
My walls are covered with your beautiful work. Whenever someone comes to my home they ask me about one of the pictures and I love it because it gives me an opportunity to tell them about you and how you have influenced my life, and some of the many things I have learned from you." - L.
"She was the model of gentle kindness, keen intellect and delightful humor. I'm so grateful to have the lovely memories I do of the marvelous Clark get-togethers in your warm and gracious home." - C.
"Janet Beck Clark was truly one-of-a-kind; a unique individual of superior character, beauty and refinement. She was blessed with an abundance of talent and creativity. She appreciated and loved plants, animals and the natural world around her. Janet was very knowledgeable about Utah and local history, particularly her own family history. She shared with us her wonderful culinary creations and inspired us with her home decorated skills.
Janet was always beautifully dressed; she had impeccable fashion sense and a flair for style. She would "design" her own clothes and her mother, Florence, would use her sewing talents to help create Janet's wardrobe.
She was the inspiration and creative force behind the success of the Naturalist business. Janet and Jon were a dynamic team during those very busy and productive years.
Janet wanted to share her knowledge, her talents and her vision. She wanted to include all of us in her activities, travel adventures, and her numerous creative projects. We were grateful recipients. She taught us, inspired us, loved us and lifted us up.
Janet was my ultimate role model. I wanted to be a better person because of her." - J.
"Your dear wife and mother will always be such a special part of my life. She was truly one-of-a-kind and a remarkable inspiration to me and my very soul.
Her remarkable way of viewing life and nature gave me a lens with a whole new perspective than I'd ever viewed so many simple things and special treasures.....She even made every "sharing time" in primary a lesson in finding God in the world around us; the hollyhock doll, a sunflower and anything she talked about. Enrichment meetings always brought a rich simple past to a meaningful present." - B.
"Janet lived a complete life of beauty - in every sense of the word. She was (and is) the epitome of beauty in appearance, in sensitivity, in thought, service and action." - D.
"Janet was an example to all who knew her of beauty, creative expression and vivid understanding of how best to live one's life. The dignity of how she expressed her feelings for all people was an example for all who knew her." - J.
"I feel blessed in my life because of my associations with her and with you [Jon]. I truly feel like you contributed to my interests in hiking and rock hounding. Thanks for dragging me up to Stewart Falls so long ago....Janet blessed the lives of many. I am inspired to do more in my life in the way of service and appreciating the beauties of the earth." - C.
"Hearing about [Janet's] life has inspired me to be a better mom, wife, community member, etc! Truly! I am working on a "nature" closet for my kids....I know my mom counted [Janet] as one of her dearest friends. [Janet's] influence spilled over into our family in so many ways, from beloved family recipes (Homespun salad dressing is one of our favorites) to beautiful things from the Naturalist." - K.
"Aunt Janet has a special place in my heart and I am sure anyone who knew Janet feels the same way! We wouldn't have had family gatherings without her! She is an amazing, beautiful woman! I am so grateful for you [Jon] and the example you are to me of what a marriage should be." - C.
A letter from one of my friends:
"Your mom really is superhuman. I'm not sure how she did it all...all that she was able to accomplish - was beyond my belief. I wanted to mention that the home your mom and dad created, not just the house but the feeling in it as well, is so unique. There are not that many places on the earth that I've been that have that special magnetism like your family's does. I imagine much of it has to do with how your mom and dad incorporated nature into it, and just the imprint of your family's love and kindness." - D.
These pictures were taken shortly after my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2004. My entire family was together and my brothers and father gave her blessing. She lived gracefully and beautifully for 8 more years - much longer than expected.
We love you mom and miss you more than words can say....