Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Memory... All is Well

Death is never easy, whether it's a sudden passing or a lingering, pain-filled easy, gentle cessation of life or a labored, struggling passing...but the hardest part is what those who are left behind struggle to accept - and that is the thought of finality. This past Sunday, our family lost a friend and an extended member when our daughter-in-law's mom, Vicki, passed away as pancreatic cancer ended her earthly life way too soon.

Victoria Austin Piekarski

Vicki will be missed, and remembered, by many, many people - and despite that, I think the thing that my son and daughter-in-law are struggling with the most, is that their boys will never really have had the chance to spend cherished time and make memories with Grandma V as everyone would have hoped. Caden, my four year old grandson, will probably have some vague memories of his other grandmother, but Connor, at barely 9 months, most likely will not. But that doesn't mean that they won't have a chance to get to know of her.

My husband Al often tells people about the three deaths that a person endures. The first is what most people consider death - when a person's body ceases to function. The second is when the body reaches it's final physical resting place. The third, and perhaps the most final, is when the last person who remembers you and speaks your name, dies. I hope that the little bits and pieces of her life that Vicki has left behind - photos of her with family and friends, greeting cards she gave, the Christmas ornaments she would make each year, her yearbooks, her folders full of jokes and handwritten recipes, perhaps a special toy or gift she gave the boys.. I hope that all of these will help the boys to know Vicki and also help her children and possibly yet to be born grandchildren know that she is still just around the corner... and that all is well with her...

Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effort, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant, it is the same as it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near - just around the corner.

All is well.

Canon Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)

I'm sure that Vicki is still around and that she will be there in some way, smiling as her grandsons grow up - watching those school plays, attending those little league games, cheering proudly as they receive their diplomas, and blessing them as they marry and begin their own families. That's what grandmas do... and nothing as small as death will ever stop them.

I know my daughter-in-law Kristen and my son Mike are trying to come up with ways to help the boys know and remember Grandma V, and would welcome any suggestions that anyone might have to help them in doing that. So if anyone would care to share a family tradition or belief that they use to keep a family member from meeting their third death, please do share here. The family respected Vicki's wish to donate her body to research in the field of pancreatic cancer, so while any graveside practices may not fit the family's situation, please share them anyway for anyone who comes across this post looking for similar help :)

In Vicki's honor and in remembrance of all of the people I know whose lives have been touched by cancer, I'll be donating a portion of all of my sales to the research to find a cure for this disease that takes way too many lives way too soon and devastates so many others. Please see my shops for details beginning tomorrow.

With love and remembrance of a wonderful woman... Vicki, if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever...


Leta Porter said...

So young to go~~ A nice tribute Karen

Michael said...

Thank you karen for posting this web site.....its amazing

JudysDesigns said...

This heartfelt tribute is amazing. I am deeply touched.

laurelsbylaurie said...

I am truly sorry for your loss Karen. Your tribute to her is amazing. I was okay until the last line....My tears are for your dear friend, you and your family and friends. My sons' father died of cancer 12 years ago and today his youngest son is moving out for the first time and then on to the Air Force. His father would be so proud of he and his brother. Please take care, Karen.....Laurie in Reno, Nevada.

pj clarke said...

Dear Karen
I am so sorry for your loss. What a true good friend you are. Your heartfelt tribute to your dear friend left me with tears for your aching heart.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear of your loss. Your tribute is so beautiful, and your Al sounds like a very wise man. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your DIL and her family.

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