Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Celebrating the life of my mother

Sept. 3-Sept 5,  Dollar Bay, Michigan

My mother spent the last ten years of her life  in Zephyrhills, Florida, but she had lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for more than thirty years previous to living in Florida. In 2003, my step-father Ken died and we spread his ashes in the Portage entry to Lake Superior; my mother made it very clear that her ashes be put in the same place by the Jacobsville lighthouse. In order to honor this request, we rented a large log cabin home on the water (thanks to my niece Kelly for finding this fabulous place) and reserved pontoon boats for taking her ashes out to the lighthouse. We were also lucky to have permission from the owners of the house to hold the celebration of her life on the same premises and park our motorhome here too! The house had plenty of room for our whole family coming from out of town to stay here together. Check this place out:

The Kemp's Lake House on Dollar Bay
I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love as my whole family came together to honor our mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, etc. I also felt some sadness that my son Brooks (with a brand new job in Astoria, Oregon) was not able to join us but I know he has a special connection with his grandma that is not dependent on geography. My other son decided to make a 700 mile solo drive straight through from Omaha to Houghton. I was so glad to see him and show him our new home!

On Friday, we moved the motorhome to the amazing log home we rented for the event; stormy weather threatening the event, but the overwhelming feeling of love and connectedness with family took center stage.

My cousin, Bob Beilfuss, brought his accordion and serenaded the whole family on Saturday night and Sunday morning; loved his singing of “Tomorrow” from Annie—the sun will come out tomorrow—his music inspired me to let go of the weather and be present to the joy of family as well as the sadness of experiencing another layer of loss in bringing my mother’s ashes to her resting place of choice in the waters by the Jacobsville Lighthouse.
The memorial was amazing—forming a long procession of the young and old taking mom’s ashes to the end of a long breaker wall of the lighthouse; the dark stormy skies departed to a patch of blue as we let her fly into what surely seemed like a sacred place; a spiritual ceremony on the lawn back at the log house followed by music and a good meal that she would have loved.

Monday morning—saying goodbye to all my relatives and starting to feel the opening of the road looming ahead. So glad to still have Jesse, ex-brother-in-law Scot and his wife Jeana, and step-sister Gail and brother-in-law Joe to help ease the transition of letting go.
Sunset on Portage Entry--my mom's final resting place

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