Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bitter Sweet Celebration

We chose to call it a Celebration of Life instead of a Funeral.

Her sisters went shopping to buy her last party dress. They succeeded, although mid July is not the best time to be hunting a prom gown. The dress they found was hot pink, floor length, with spaghetti straps, and decorated with swirls of beads and sequins. Had this been chosen for a normal event, the dress would need to be shortened by more than a foot, for Margret was only four feet eight inches tall. In this instance, in the creative hands of our funeral director, the excess length became long sleeves, and the beaded portion filled in between the top of the dress and the sleeves.

We planned bright colored flowers and had balloons in pink, orange and yellow that echoed the flower colors. For background music I made a cd including her favorite artists, Hanna Montana, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ricky Martin, Maná. Her youngest sister requested tracks by the Marshall Family; Dad asked for Livin' La Vida Loca, because it every time he heard it, it reminded him of her and how she was so willing to dance. I picked Eres Mi Religión by Maná, and Ángel by Cristian Castro, among others, because she so enjoyed listening when I played music of that sort on the Latin Beat. Sisters B and C each picked a song that brought her to their minds.

As part of the service, attendees were encouraged to come forward and share their unique memories of Margret with the rest of us. Seventeen people overcame their reluctance to speak off the cuff, and shared. An astounding number!

C lent her video camera to Margret's oldest niece, so there would be a record of the celebration to share with family members who could not join us. She did a fine job.

Although C arranged for me to watch the tape, I could not bring myself to do so for weeks. I watched the video, finally, a couple nights ago. I experienced relief, and a deep appreciation for everyone who braved the discomfort of speaking in front of a group. I transcribed one of the memories that moved me most to share with you, only leaving out some 'and's, and a bit that I could not hear well.

F speaks on Margret

My last memory of Margret was at B's Octoberfest. She gave me a hard time because she thought I was flirting with C. She in no uncertain terms told that that was HER sister and I was not allowed to have her. I think she was teasing me. She also ribbed my brother about it and he was very confused. She had a funny sense of humor that way.

I've known C since I was 5 . . .

I've known the M family, all encompassing, as it has changed throughout the years, and I always remember Margret,

and if the M family is like a light house showing love, no matter what situation happened there was always love, Margret was the beacon, at the top.

She was the bright light that you always gravitated to; you always felt good around her.

I can think back to even when I was a child, hanging with C (when she wasn't being bad),
she was there, and she was smiling, and she was laughing, and always joking around, wanting to do something and be involved.

I think we should take from that as a lesson on how to live - a lot of times we let the stressors of our life take us over,

I think sometimes we should stop and think about Margret and how she enjoyed every moment , no matter what it was, . . . she made something positive out of it, and it made everyone
around them feel that much better, and so LOVE's the word.
it will carry on through each and every person who she has touched because you can't have a memory of her and not think happiness and not think love.

So, in the words of Jonathan Larsen, "Live like there is no day but today."

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