Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Funeral

Sarah with her boys a few weeks before she passed away.

It has been over a month since Sarah passed away.  I've been wanting to write about the funeral but my emotions were still too raw.  I hope now I am able to express myself and only cry a little while writing this.

I wrote a blog at the beginning of January about Sarah but I was angry when I wrote it and it was basically just a recap of the past two years of her illness and I never did publish it.

This time I'd like to write about the celebration of Sarah's life that my family and her friends enjoyed last month.
I know these pictures aren't in focus, but they're still readable.

I thought I had pushed 'record' on my iphone at the beginning of services but when I went to stop the recording at the end, I realized I had not recorded anything!  It was very frustrating.  You'll have to rely on my poor memory for this recap.

Dad began by welcoming everyone to the services and inviting everybody to stay afterwards for finger foods and to watch the slideshow.  He talked about how the burial had been done privately earlier in the week with only relatives attending.

Mom started things off with talking about how smart and sassy Sarah was and what a good mother she was.  She did a great job.  She stayed sitting up on the stand with Dad, very stoic throughout the rest of the program.

I spoke next.  I had only written a few notes to go off of and I'm afraid I rambled a bit.  I began by asking everyone who had know Sarah for more than five years to raise their hand (I think everyone did), I told them to keep their hands up if they had know her at least 10, then 15, then 20.  It showed what a loyal friend Sarah had always been.
She had at least five friends that had flown in from out-of-state for the occasion, and at least three others that had driven in from California to attend.  My dad's three brothers that live in Utah had all driven down together to be there as well.  I saw three ex-boyfriends there who she had remained friends with and a guy friend she'd never dated but had remained friends with since 7th grade, had also showed up with his wife.
I talked about how the birth of Sarah's sons was the highlight of her life.  I talked about what a great mother, friend, and sister she was.  I talked about how she fell in love easily and gave her whole heart to those she loved.  I talked about what a great artist she was, both in drawing and in scrapbooking.  I talked about what a good reader she was and how smart she was.  I told about how she was such a thoughtful gift-giver and note writer.
Lastly I talked about how I knew that she was in the spirit world, somewhere closeby, resting from all her earthly cares and sorrows.  I know that she is now working to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who didn't hear of it when they were alive.  I know she is still learning in spirit paradise and that she is anxiously waiting to be reunited with her loved ones and to rise in a perfected body at the time of the Messiah's second coming.

After that I was privileged to sing with my three remaining sisters and my two sister-in-laws.  Lauren and Amber are very talented musically, but we Brimley girls at least have strong, pretty voices.  Claire has an exceptionally beautiful voice.  I recorded one of our practices and I'll let you watch it even if it is rather embarrassing and even though the lovely Amber is never in the shot.  (The only way I know how to do this is thru YouTube, so if someone knows how to upload a MVI to blogger, please let me know).

It is a song about Christ that I've loved since I was a child.  Mom & Adam picked it for the funeral.

Gabe got up to talk and made everyone in the room cry.  He talked about how much fun his mom was and how she made sure that he and his brothers always were having fun.  He said he loved his annual road trips to California and Mexico and just spending hours in the front seat talking to his mom.

Dad spoke last.  He is the bishop of his congregation.  He talked a lot about how Sarah had made a lot of mistakes in her life but that she eventually learned the power of repentance and how Jesus could wipe away her sins.  He also mentioned how using drugs, including marijuana were part of her treatment and basically how they were acceptable for medical use (correct me if I'm wrong, Dad).  He talked about how she wanted to be a good example to her boys and how she had gone back to church and thru the temple in the past few years.  It was a really great talk.

Lastly, my parents' stake president spoke, as an official ecclesiastical leader at an LDS funeral service.  I was annoyed at first because he didn't know Sarah but his talk was beautiful.  I loved how he said that The Church is a temporary, earthly organization but the family is eternal.

My brother-in-law Trent finished with a tearful prayer that made me sob.  He is usually very unemotional but he is a daddy through and through and his heart aches for his sweet nephews.

I loved seeing old family friends like Scott Malone, the Harpers, and the Allens afterwards.  We had a beautiful display of tons of photos, scrapbooks, etc.  And we played this slideshow over and over for everyone to see while they visited and snacked.

This slideshow isn't exactly all in chronilogical order and the music cuts off at the end, but I was up until 1:00 am the night before making it and I still love it, though it's far from perfect.  I went thru over a thousand photos to choose about 150 of the very best to remember Sarah at her most vibrant and beautiful.  She was a gorgeous woman inside and out.


Yesterday I left Jonah on the neighbors trampoline with three first-grader neighbor kids.  When I went to find him and bring him home for dinner 30 minutes later, I found him there with just one girl, who I'd never seen before.  She said her name was Reagan.

On the way home I asked Jonah if she was five too.
Jonah: Yes, and she lost a tooth.  And she's not five and a half, just five.  Not five and a quarters, not five and a pennies, just five.

When we went inside, I told Brandon that Jonah had made a new friend.
Jonah:  She's my girl friend and she's five.
Brandon: Oh, really.  What does she look like?
Jonah: She has dots on her nose and right here (pointing to his cheeks).
Brandon: Oh, freckles.
Jonah: What are they?
Me: They're angel kisses.
Me: They're sun spots.
Jonah: What do they do?
Me: Just make people look cute.
Brandon: What color is her hair?
Me: Is it like Vivian's?
Jonah: Yah!
Me: That's called blond.
Jonah: Yah, it's blond, only lighter.  It's lighter and soft.  I touched it and she didn't know.  It was so soft.  Soft and light.  Soft like a cat's.  I need to go back to her house and play with her cause she is all alone.
Me: She's probably inside eating her dinner.
Jonah: No, she already had dinner when were in Rylee's house and when I came over she was bored.  She was all alone just sitting on her trampoline.  She's lonely, I need to go over there.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I got a package in the mail today.  I didn't know what it was.  When I saw who had sent it, I welled up with emotion.  She lost her father not long ago and I knew she understood.  I knew she really felt with her whole heart the grief that has swallowed me up these past two months.  When I opened the package the gift was wrapped.  Another unnecessary kindness, thoughtfulness.  It was wrapped in pink and green leopard print tissue paper.  So Victoria.  The book is called In Loving Memory.  I knew it would be perfect.  I started to thumb through the first few pages and the tears came tumbling out.  She didn't know that I love books of quotes but somehow she knew it was just what I needed.  Thank you, Victoria.  You are a rare and beautiful treasure of a friend.

I have been surrounded by kind gifts and gestures and words of love and cards of comfort for the past three weeks.  I have the best friends.

A girl I go to church with but don't really know that well brought me cookies, flowers, and a card.  Neighbors have all stopped by to tell me how sorry they are and ask if there is anything they can do.  Hugs.  So many good hugs.  Phone calls.  Bread, pie, cake.  Babysitting.  Kisses.

My best friend had a painting of my sister commissioned and sent it to my parents.

My friend Angela came over today so our kids could play and we could all have lunch together.  She brought me a beautiful potted plant.  She said she was going to get me a green plant but after watching my slideshow/video/photo tribute to my sister she decided she needed something more colorful.  It is an African violet, sun-loving and beautiful.  She never met Sarah but she said just from the photos she could tell that suited her more and she wanted me to think of Sarah whenever I looked at the plant.  My sister was colorful and beautiful and sun-loving.
Thank you.

Thanks to all of you who have extended your love in such meaningful ways to me and my family recently.  We are so blessed to have friends like you.