My Mother’s Passing

I haven’t posted anything to this blog since January 1st. I left for Salt Lake City on January 3d to teach at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy for one week, for meetings of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and for research at the Family History Library. When I am there, the hours go by quickly. On January 8, 2008 I received word that my mother, Patricia Margaret Ann (Hanley) Stuart had passed away. Five years ago on the same date, January 8th, I was in Salt Lake City when her sister Jeanine died.

Mom died peacefully. One of her caregivers called me shortly after and tearfully told me how he tried to save her. She had suffered over many years with Alzheimer’s, emphysema, severe osteoporosis, and was a cancer survivor. On Christmas Day she appeared to be enjoying the activities, the meal, and watching her five great grandchildren run around.

I didn’t return to Minnesota for the funeral. My Dad wanted the funeral immediately. He called me and told me that I needed to stay in SLC. I was so torn, but that generous call and the cost of the bereavement air fare helped with my decision. I completed my teaching at SLIG, attended meetings, and felt so much love from friends that I had lots of help in my grieving. Telling them stories about Mom helped immensely and the laughs were helpful.

In the next few days, I will post about the meaningful and beautiful memorial service that friends who were with me in SLC had for Mom. I had 50 people to grieve and smile with. Some of them needed that service for their own healing after loss of parents, in-laws, and friends. I love my special genealogy family.

I also learned that at the service back in Minnesota, some of my family and friends talked with each other — some of them might not have had those connections if I had been there and had talked with them separately. I had emails and cell phone text messages immediately after that told me how beautiful Mom looked and that the funeral was beautiful.

© 2008, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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