We celebrated the amazing life of my 97 years young at heart mother in love this week. What a treasure she was to all who knew her. Let me introduce you!
Heaven gained another angel this month when my sweet mother in law came knocking. She was 97 years young at heart. Alzheimer’s diminished her physical abilities over the last several years but it never conquered her loving spirit. She was curious, loved life and embraced everything natural and beautiful about our world. She loved the beach and passed that love on to her family. She loved children and taught elementary school for 15 years. She was an “encourage r” always cheering you on in whatever endeavors you were doing. She loved music, dancing and traveling and she was crazy about her husband of 66 years. She loved chocolate and ice cream and ate both daily. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, Aunt and friend and the absolute best Mother in Love a girl could ask for. We will miss everything about her kind soul.
What she WAS NOT was an equestrian. Despite what the top photo may imply, as far as we know horseback riding was something she only did while living in California as a newlywed while my father in law was in the Navy, stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. What I love about it is that it shows her thirst for adventure and new experiences. And she kinda looks like a movie star!
She was a beautiful person inside and out. I’m almost certain she would have been an ” influence r ” on Instagram if it had existed back in the day. On second thought, she was much too humble a person to be taking selfies every other second. She would have much rather listened to what adventures you might have been up to.
She had style and she loved clothes! However, she wasn’t a big spender, except for one time when she splurged on a $200.00 fur coat! ( see above) She loved a good Talbot’s sale or a nice deal at her favorite consignment store.
She was lucky in love and in life! After only a short time dating my father in law asked her to marry him which she brushed off initially but finally came to her senses after some positive reinforcement from her family. She always readily admitted she was crazy about him too, but she wasn’t sure if she was ready to settle down. That story always made me chuckle.
They lived a full life together in one home for nearly 65 years before my father in law passed away ten years ago. Her health began to decline due to Alzheimer’s shortly after his death.
They were blessed with a real and true love for one another, three children and work that they both loved. My mother in law went back to college in her early 40’s ( the mid 70’s) to get her Bachelors in Education and her Library of Science degree. She loved children and taught 4th grade until she retired.
Together, Kim and Hank worked in Town politics and belonged to many different organizations including their local Farmers Club. And were longstanding members of their church.
They saw all three of their children marry, have children and enjoyed their grandchildren immensely. In their retirement years, they flew south to Florida for the winter months and returned home every year just in time for our New England beach season.
My mother in law saw the beauty and wonder in everything. She loved the natural world and enjoyed beach life, gardens, art, reading and music. She saw the beauty and wonder in people, too and made sure those in her circle know how she felt about them, always.
If it wasn’t for her love of the beach ( and cranberries ) I would have never become the Beach Farmgirl Blogger. My mother in law worked for Ocean Spray Cranberries with a woman who introduced her to her beloved Saquish Beach. I wrote about that here. The timing couldn’t be more perfect to revisit that post because it’s cranberry season in New England right now!
( Barbara and mum in front pictured below )
I have fond memories of the two of us doing dishes by hand in her cottage kitchen when my handsome Yankee and I would visit from out west for our annual vacation to the beach. That’s how we got to know each other and how I learned all those juicy tidbits about my husband in his youth. I’m most grateful for having been her daughter for 30 plus years. Our relationship has been a huge blessing in my life and I know she’ll continue to be with us all from heaven.
And, she loved my handsome Yankee! As she did all of her children and grandchildren.
I found this poem in the days following her death and thought it was so fitting for her and the way she lapped up life.
When Death Comes
~ Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Until our next shoreline visit~ Count your blessings.
If you look at life the way she did, they’re everywhere. Right, Mum?
Beach Blessings and Much Love,
The Beach Farmgirl