Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saying Goodbye To Mother Part Two

 One of my very favorite pictures with my mom.  My ruffled socks and cute hair!  This little girl was loved.  We are on the sidewalk of Neiders Grocery Store that became Boyd's IGA in Tyhee, Idaho.   We've had lots of years together.

I've spent the last many years thinking and worrying about my mom and now with her gone, it feels wrong to not be worrying about her.    It's just a big transition for me. I love thinking about her with my dad and sister. That is a very tender thought, but still. Since everyone in her family has lived until they were well over ninety, I thought surely we would have our mom for a few more years. Her older sister, who is still alive, is going to be 96. I feel a little loss of purpose to not be worried about how Mom is doing.

Planning Mother's Funeral

As we were planning Mother's funeral in July, we wanted to make sure everything was just perfect for her and for us. It all felt so personal to me. Music, speakers, flowers, programs, pictures and on and on and on. We tried to plan everything that would be meaningful for us and for her family and friends.
We gathered in Pocatello, Idaho, our hometown, for the funeral. The evening of the viewing, we all met at FIVE GUYS. Mother had been at about 26 FIVE GUYS openings with my youngest brother Darryl, including the one in Pocatello. We all met there for dinner as a tribute to Mom. She really loved the FIVE GUYS openings and her FIVE GUYS costume. Darryl put a picture of her on the counter for all of us to see.
Here's Mom and one of the Boise Five Guys!

    Earlier that day I had gone to the funeral home to see Mother. I was so worried about how she would look. In the hospital she looked so awful so I had reason to worry. Her skin was so grey and her hands and arms were swollen. To my joy and relief, she looked beautiful. Her skin was beautiful again and her white white hair was perfect. She looked peaceful and lovely, even regal. He sister, Aunt June had given me a pair of her favorite earrings for Mom to be buried in and she was wearing her pearls with the crystal hat Dad had given her for their 50th anniversary. I thought I would feel her presence there, but I didn't, though I did feel peaceful and comforted. Two of my sisters-in-law, Margo and Anna Marie set up two tribute tables that had many fun pictures and examples of some of the activities in which Mother was involved.

    The evening viewing went very well. We were able to visit with extended family and dear friends who we hadn't seen for years. I did feel the genuine and heartfelt love expressed by those who came and this also carried over to the viewing before the funeral the next morning. I couldn't believe how happy it made me feel to honor Mom in this way.

    The funeral was held in the chapel that our family attended when Rich and I were married. Our wedding reception was in the cultural hall there. Lots of memories and sacred events in our lives happened in this chapel.

    Funeral Program

    Here is the front cover of Mom's program.. The picture is about 10 years ago..

    Here is the back cover of the program. The top picture is of two Donna Neiders. Mother and her youngest granddaughter, named for her. The picture of the Tyhee Church down the road from our home and an ad from Dad and Mom's IGA store that was just across the street from the church.

    This was the inside of the program with pictures from Mother's life.
    1. Mom and Dad as missionaries, 2. Favorite horse 3. Wedding pic, 3. Mom and granddaughters,
    4. Family pic 5. Five Guys pic, 6. Golden Wedding, 7 Christmas dinner 1955
    8. Family pic w/ Dad home from WWII, 9. Boyd and Donna just married, 10. Young Donna

    Family Prayer - Shawn Neider (grandson)

    The family gathered in one of the larger rooms before the service for another viewing (that morning) prior to the service and before closing the casket, Shawn, Mother's oldest grandson offered the Family Prayer. The funeral home attendant helped me arrange her temple clothes and through tears I removed the pearls and her wedding ring. I said tearful goodbye to Mom and the casket was closed. Matthew came from the back of the room to give me a big hug of support. The casket was then rolled into the chapel and the family followed. We were fortunate that my brother, Mark could conduct the service. He lives not too far from the chapel is is currently serving in the Stake Presidency of the area and was allowed to conduct. That made it very personal and Mother would have been so pleased. The entire program was Donna's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She would have loved that too and hopefully she was there enjoying the celebration.

    Mark welcomed all of the family and friends and said to them his mother loved everyone of them and that was true.

    Presiding and Conducting
    Mark Neider (son)

    Prelude - Isa Neider (great granddaughter)

    Prayer - Cole Neider (grandson)

    Musical Number
    You Raise Me Up
    Matthew Crowley with Whitley Sargent on the violin
    (Grandson) (Great granddaughter)

    Eulogy -- Andrea Neider Crowley (daughter) (me)

    Musical number
    God Bless America -- Quartet by Grandchildren
    Matthew Crowley, Andrew Crowley, Natalie Neider Carruth and Jeanine LaKouta Neider

    Granddaughter - Kristin Neider knapp

    Sons = Kenny, Mike, Darryl

    Remarks Mark Neider (son)

    Closing song
    Abide With Me Tis Eventide Rich Crowley (son-in-law)

    Prayer Mark Darryl Neider (grandson)

    Postlude Isa Hopkins

    Dedication of Grave Kenny Neider (son)

    Pallbearers (grandsons)

    Donevan Neider Cole Neider
    Brant Neider Ross Selders
    Mike Neider Jr Matthew Crowley
    Curtis Neider Gabe Selders
    Jeremy Crowley Andrew Crowley
    Ryan Neider Lewis Selders
    Mark Darryl Neider Shawn Neider

    I included the eulogy which is very similar to the obituary, but with lots more information and more personal. I tried to talk many others into giving the eulogy, but I was not successful -- everyone insisted it should be me.

    Mom's Eulogy
    (This is the eulogy I gave at the funeral. I've scattered a few tandom pictures in the text.)

    On thing I've discovered you are never too old to need your mom.

    She raised us up to be more than we could be!. Thanks Matt and Whitley. Grandma would be so pleased with the two of you and that beautiful song. She loved music especially the violin. She grew up listening to her Grandpa Hansen and her brother, Arvel play the violin

    It's a honor to pay tribu'te to our mom's memory today. She was our example of how to be. When I needed advice, I would call her or say to myself, "What would Mom do?"

    This tiny little woman has logged a lot miles. She raised six children has 28 grandchildren and now has 69 great grand children. So with our spouses our family is now 134.
    Mother has taught us all so much. Her influence will continue with us to all of her posterity.

    Darryl, Mark, Andrea, Kenny and Mike with Mother's casket before the service

    She is an accomplished writer, artist, and horse woman. She loves music and poetry and has written both. Above all she is fiercely loyal to family. She is the all- world Mother who loves life and people and taught her children to do the same. She didn't allow us to be lazy, bored or too tired. She is feisty! Especially when she wanted something done or something for her children or righting a wrong for her children. And mom had such a cute sense if humor.

    At our brother - sister reunion in September, Mother had an accident. We were sitting at the table at Darryl's having a beautiful dinner. Mom felt tired and asked to move to the couch to rest. We were still eating when we heard a big crash. Mom had dropped her tissue and reached down for it and fell off the couch. We quickly picked her up, but she had a big gash from hitting her head very near her eye on the glass table. It was awful. Darryl administered some first aide techniques and all seemed okay.
    Mom had been unable to walk for about a year and a half and when my brothers wheeled her back to her rehab facility that evening, the nurse said, "Donna, what happened?"

    She quickly replied, "Well, I'll tell you one thing. I'm never going to a bar with these three guys again!" Her sons, however, would never go into a bar.
    That was our mom and that was her sense of humor.

    I love this Shakespeare quote that very much applies to our mom.


    That was our mom too. She was a tiny little woman, but her influence was felt by so many.


    Mother was born in Newdale, Idaho just north of Rexburg and moved to a farm in the Blackfoot area when she was two.

    Mother described her childhood as wondrous and happy surrounded by her family. Her parents were Vern and Stella Hansen. She has one brother, Arvel Hansen, whom she adored, and three sisters. June and Helen are here today. Her oldest sister Vella and her brother Arvel preceded her in death. Mom's sisters all babied her because she was so little and even though June was five years younger, Donna was always the baby. She loved her early years growing up on the farm in Lavaside

    When Donna was15 her family moved to Tyhee. She loved Tyhee, Idaho all of her life. Mom noticed the really handsome Neider guy that worked at the Tyhee store that was owned by his uncle, Roy Neider. He finally asked her on a date. In 1940 after Boyd graduated from high school, they were anxious to get married. Mom was only16 - Dad was 18 when they eloped. They kept it a secret and thank goodness Mom was 17 before anyone found out. Mom still had her senior year to finish and did graduate in 1941 from Pocatello high school. Boyd and Donna moved to California where Boyd and his dad worked in central California at Muroc Dry Lakes running shovel.

    After Pearl Harbor was hit in December of that year, they were desperate for shovel operators and my dad and grandpa left for Hawaii for a year to help with the clean-up and fortification of Hawaii. Donna happily came back to Tyhee, Idaho while dad left for Hawaii and he was gone most of that year until November of 1942. While Boyd was away, In June of that year Kenny was born and they were a growning family. Boyd and Donna were very lonesome and Boyd was able to come home one month short of a year to meet his six month old little son.

    After working for a year in the devastation of Pearl Harbor, Dad heard the patriots call and joined the Navy. He was in boot camp at Farragut and radio school at the University of Idaho. I was born there in Moscow and 4 days later my dad shipped out. Donna, Kenny, and baby Andrea, me, didn't see him again for almost two years. Because of their war experiences, Boyd and Donna were fervent patriots. They were the Greatest Generation.

    I was the only child of Boyd and Donna's that wasn't born in the St Anthony Hospital in Pocatello.

    Mike joined the family in 1948, mark in 1951, Julie in 1953 and Darryl in 1955. Boyd and Donna's family was complete.

    Growing up on Tyhee Road was an unique experience. The church was down the hill with Boyd's IGA right across the street and Tyhee elementary school was across the street from our home. We were one big happy family in Tyhee. In the Tyhee community, we all took care of and loved each other.

    My Mom loved and appreciated the families in Tyhee all of her life and credits our community in Tyhee with so much goodness of which our whole family was the recipient.

    These are some of the things my mom enjoyed
    1. All of her church callings - especially primary. She had the biggest primary closest ever. She loved the choir and planning programs with the Lemmon Family
    2. Her horses - The Silver Sage Riders Possee, Fair Fillies 4H club leader, and the trail rides
    3. Tyhee Literary Guild
    4. China Painting
    5. Attending all of her kids activities and then starting attending her grandchildren activities - also add her nieces and nephews to that. She attended everything she could.
    6. Visiting her sisters and brother with her kids or any family gathering
    7.She loved having a garden and canning stuff
    8. Quilts for all

    Let me just say, it was hard to keep up with all of her projects. After Mom and Dad sold the store in Tyhee, Mom worked for a time at the Wee Amble Inn for the Wards and then went to work at Garrett Freightlines.
    My Mother always worked hard to make sure our family had everything we needed. She always thought of others.

    A wreath of sweet peas for Mom. She always grew sweet peas at the side of the house on Tyhee Road

    Here are some of the other lessons from MOM.

    1. She always wanted me to put my best foot forward -- even if that foot hurt. I would say -- I can't do it and she would say - you can and you would be darling at it.

    2. She gave me the courage and confidence to be and try anything and everything. (Called Blackfoot - said she was me and got me the interview)

    3. She taught us always to honor our grandparents and father. She engendered in our family a fierce family loyalty and pride. I did get one spanking for sassing Grandma Hansen. I even had to pick my own switch. She didn't want me to forget that lesson.

    4, She always told me that my brothers and sister would always be my best friends.

    They are..........

    She really loved her kids

    There are so many other lessons I've learned from my mom. She has always been a great example to me. I can see her in my minds eye kneeling at her bedside in prayer. I caught her praying so many times.
    She loves the Lord and honors her covenants. She made sure her kids were in church every week. She involved her kids in church in every way. We all still remember her coercing us into a fashion show when she was in charge of the grand opening of the new DI in Pocatello. We got to keep one item which we all found hilarious. How can you beat that?How did she talk us into so many things? She was good!

    After the family moved to Chubbuck, Mom really missed her Tyhee Family, but soon found a new group of friends in Chubbuck to love. Rich and I had moved to the East and I always heard about the adventures that Mom and Carol Stoddard had. I'm surprised they weren't arrested
    Mom loved the friends of the 33rd Ward and after Dad was made bishop of that ward, soon they were her family too.

    Mom and Dad had a very full life in Chubbuck. They were active in the community and received the Citizens of the Year in
    1990. It was during this time that they started spending their winters in St George, Utah, but did interrupt that time to serve a LDS mission at the LDS Employment Center in Pocatello.
    So many have been Touched by Donna -- Glenn Mcminn said she was the very best Sunday School teacher he ever had.

    She loved her nieces and nephews. She thought they were her own kids.
    When Craig Farmer began working in the Mt. Timpanogas Temple in Utah, Mother kept telling me how beautiful he was in his white suit. I finally told her I didn't want to hear about how beautiful Craig Farmer was. The last time I went to the temple with her, it was at the Mt. Timpanogas Temple and she was right. Craig was there and he was beautiful .

    Kristian McClellan, one of Mom's neices (Ann Lewis) sons she changed his life by helping him complete his high school diploma. She was such an amazing woman.

    She was also crazy about her great grand kids. All throughout her life she tracked all of her grand kids and great grand kids. She made all of her grand kids quilts in their school colors and I have one of her great grand kids that has a thread bare quilt he still loves.

    Her reputation with those grand kids is also legend. She had visited the Air and Space Museum in Virginia with Jeremy's family one year. The next year I was with them at the museum. Tanner and I were standing near the Enola Gay, the airplane that dropped the bomb in Japan. He asked me where the bomb hatch was and I said I didn't know. He looked up at me and said, "I bet Grandma Donna knows." I called her up and she did. She remembered everything. Her mind was always sharp. After Julie (my sister) died mother moved from Idaho to Salt Lake City to be near and help with Julie's young sons who were six and eight. She volunteered at their elementary school until they both went to junior high. She received the Volunteer of the Year award from the school district.
    During this time Mother lived with Mike and Rosy and then bought a place of her own. Mike and Rosy were so good to Mom.

    Mother was always so thrilled to go with Mike to church related events when he was in the Young Men's General Presidency. Sometimes she was a little too enthusiastic. That was our mom.

    When Kenny and Margo left for their mission to New Zealand, she couldn't have been prouder.

    Kenny and Margo

    Mike and Rosy left at that same time to serve as the president of the Las Vegas mission. Again, she couldn't have been prouder. This was in 2011. In fact she would have gone with them if she could.
    Mike and Rosy

    About half of the Neider Family Reunion in Blackfoot, Idaho 2012

    Mom's health started to fail while Kenny and Mike were gone and it was a difficult transition for all of us. Darryl, her baby, devotedly cared for her and continued to involve her in all of the FIVE GUYS openings. She loved Five Guys! She went to about 26 openings and Darryl said she was one of his best assets. We all had dinner in her honor at FivE GUYS last night.

    For the last two years she has resided in Draper, Utah in an assisted living center. She picked the heme-like setting with only about 10 residents and grew to love the staff and care-givers. She especially loved Chef Don and he loved her right back. He prepared a wonderful lunch for Mom and her two sisters, June and Helen just last month. Cousins Doreen and Diana joined us for a fun luncheon with chocolate dipped twinkies for dessert. Mom really loved her sisters and they her. The Hansen girls were always close.

    Darryl was able to take her to his home most Sundays where she able to interact with his two grandsons. She loved all of her great grandchildren and loved being part of their Sunday afternoons.

    These last years have been such a special time for me to spend with Mom. She was an amazing woman her entire life. No matter how ill or fragile she became, she never lost her joy of life. Writing her history, I learned what an incredible woman she is. She never gave up on herself. She continued to fight. What a great example.

    She always worried about her kids. I've always said that age didn't bother me so much because my mom still thinks I'm a kid. I think she will always think that about us and worry about how we are doing.

    It has a privilege and an honor to help my sweet little mother who always cared for me and would do anything for me. Above all mother was devoted to her children. Wherever we were, she wanted to be. We will carry that love and devotion in our hearts along with her strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and everything else she taught us. Love you, Mom. In the name of Jesus Christ ...

    Mother's Burial
    Mom is buried beside Dad in the Grove City Cemetery in Blackfoot, Idaho. There are many Neider relatives there along with Mom's dad and mom. We all gathered for the dedication prayer of the grave given by my brother, Kenny. Before the prayer we sang "You are My Sunshine" and "Families Can Be Together Forever". We all had small American flags to wave while we were singing. Some of the little children planted their flags beside Mom's headstone.
    Some of the pictures from the cemetery

    Here is Chase Jeremy Crowley planting his flag. Mother was a true patriot!

    Darryl, Mark, Andrea, Kenny and Mike
    From the left
    Andrea, Aunt Helen, Aunt June, Aunt Carolee, Renee and Rosy

    Mom's beautiful grandsons all lined up and ready to take her to her final resting place.

    After placing the coffin at the grave, each of the grandsons put his boutonniere on Mom's coffin. It was a very tender gesture.

    Some of the Crowley girls
    Melanie, Shelly, Lauren and Emery

    I wanted to include a story that I meant to tell iat the funeral that Julie, my sister who died in 2000 would have told. We've all had Mom defend us and this is Julie's pre-defend story.

    When Julie was in the third grade her teacher was Mrs. Magelby (all six of us had Mrs. Magelby) at Tyhee Grade School. Mother told Julie the first week of school if they tried to move her to another class that she was not to go. Sure enough Mrs. Magelby's class was too full and the principal came and ask two rows of students to please stand and follow him to anaother classroom All of the students complied except Julie. She gripped her desk tightly and would not budge. When she was told to get up she said that her mother wouldn't let her leave Mrs Magelgy's class. The principal let her stay. Our family loved the story that Juiie was more afraid of her mother than the principal. The principal was probably afraid of Mom too.

    I have no idea when I will be able to put away the sadness I feel about losing Mom. It is just here and comes flooding in when I am not expecting it. I am not a person who is usually so maudlin, but I do feel a huge loss in my life. I have had her for all of my 70 years. I love what Darryl said in his tribute to her and want to close with the quote.
    "My mother was with me when I took my first breath in this life and I have no doubt she will be with me when I take my first step into the next life."
    I'm sorry Mom for all of the times I was mad at you or wasn't patient enough as a daughter. You gave me so much and sometimes I wasn't deserving. Thanks for being such a good Mom. I love and miss you.

    Monday, September 29, 2014

    Saying Goodbye to Mother! Part One

    This picture is about four years ago taken in Mom's back yard.

    This is a very long blog about saying goodbye to my mother who died on July 15, 2014 at age 90. I wanted to record my feelings and memories before they are lost.  These next two blogs are about my Mom, but really for me. 

    I have made many trips to the West over the years to be with my Mom.   My  dad died in 1998 and after that Mom also  made many more trips to Virginia. We've had some fun times, some great trips together and some filled with a little stress.  In the last five years, I have spent lots more time visiting Mom.  Often we could never decide who was in charge, but wow, what I have learned about heir in the last couple of years while writing her history, is what an amazing woman she is.  A month before she died, I was able to visit her and finally read her life history to her that I had also recently finished.  It was so fun and exciting for Mom.  Mom's sisters, June and Helen came for a special lunch and also admired her completed history.  She was so thrilled and between the two of us we thought of a couple of other events to add to the history.   She was quite frail, but was always ready to go where her kids were.  Mom was  able to attend Lauren's graduation party.   (Thanks, Darryl for getting her there.)

    And, she talked me into a field trip with the assisted living residents on their bus to an ice cream parlor.  She wouldn't go unless I went with them.  She said, "Oh come on.  You'll have fun."  And I did.  It was our last hot fudge sundae together. 

    Looking back I feel so fortunate to have spent time with her in June.  Our plan was to have a fun birthday celebration in August, but she didn't make it to August. 

    I received a call in the middle of the night on a Thursday in July from Mom's assisted living facility in Draper, Utah . The nurse felt like she wasn't going to make it through the night and they couldn't get in touch with anyone in Utah. I told them to call 911 and told them one of my brothers would meet her at the hospital. I was able to get a hold of my brother, Mike who went straight to the hospital.  He was exhausted having just returned from the hospital for 21 hours straight with his wife.  His wife and mother were in the same hospital.  Mom was diagnosed with pneumonia and a bad infection. By the weekend Mom was still on a ventilator off and on. I bought a ticket on Monday to go to the West and by that evening she needed the ventilator constantly. I landed at 1:06 pm the next day and my brother, Kenny picked me up and we drove straight to the hospital.

    Mom was so little, fragile, and helpless. Her heart kept beating erratically but then would beat normally. We all knew she was barely clinging to life. I stroked her cheek and held her hand. Through tears Margo and I sang the Poky fight song to her. She loved that song. We also sang 'You Are My Sunshine." We love her so much and couldn't do much so we sang.  She was really struggling.  Surrounded by her family,  my brothers and their wives, and Darryl's children, Natalie and Mark, Mom's heart stopped at 4:13 pm.    I had been there only three hours.  It seemed like my own  heart quit beating too. It felt completely unreal.    She had come back from the edge so many times, but this time, it was not to be.   I knew when I left her in June, she was so weak, I had left part of me there with her. Now she was gone. Just before she died, she opened her eyes one last time and I told her I loved her.

    Boy, it was all so final.  After a while everyone left.  They had been with Mom for a few days, but I had trouble leaving there in the hospital so Kenny stayed with me and I was able to stay a few more hours. I couldn't believe she was really gone. I knew this was coming, but I thought we had more time. Even as I write this now, I can't believe how sad I feel about saying goodbye.  The hospital staff kept coming in and we would ask to stay just a bit longer.  Then it was time to go and Kenny and I left and yes stopped for a diet coke in Mom's honor!  She would have loved that idea.

    The next day we set about making arrangements for Mom's funeral service. We (my brothers and I)  decided to take her back home to Idaho for her funeral even though she had been in Utah for fourteen years and it turned out to be a very good decision. It all felt right to have her home and for us to be home to honor our mother and celebrate her life.

    Mother's obituary
                          This is Mother at age 17.  What a cutie!

    Donna Hansen Neider passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on July 15, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was born in a little farmhouse in Newdale, Idaho on December 15, 1923 to Antone Vernstine Hansen and Stella Butler Hansen. When Donna was two, her family moved to Lavaside, Idaho just outside Blackfoot. Donna was 15 when her family moved to Tyhee, Idaho. Soon after, she met Boyd Neider in Tyhee and a year later they eloped in 1940. The Tyhee farming community became the most important part of life for the Neider family. Together Boyd and Donna raised their six children in Tyhee: Kenneth Boyd (Margo Yates) of Idaho Falls, Idaho; Andrea Leona Neider Crowley (Rich Crowley) of Culpeper, VA; Michael Antone (Rosemary Curtis ) of Draper, Utah; Mark Lee (Renee Hobson) of Pocatello, Idaho; Julie Neider Selders (deceased) (Jack Selders) of Murray, Utah; and, Darryl Leroy (Anna Marie Hunt) of Granite, Utah. Boyd and Donna and their children were later sealed in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.

    Boyd and Donna owned and ran the IGA store in Tyhee for many years which further connected their family to the Tyhee and Fort Hall communities. When the store was sold, Donna went to work for Garrett Freightlines until she retired.

    Donna's entire life centered around her family, faith, and friends. She was generous and never met a stranger. She loved everyone. She was knowledgeable and proud of her pioneer and American heritage and was always interested in the politics of the day. She was very patriotic and loved her red white and blue.

    She had many hobbies which she enjoyed throughout her life. She loved reading and writing and music, and was often called upon for musical and theatrical productions in the church community. One of her favorite activities was participating in the Tyhee Literary Guild with her dear friends. She also loved oil painting, mainly Southern Utah landscapes, and China painting. She also enjoyed history and was an accomplished horse woman who rode with the Silver Sage Riders (a women's drill posse) for many years. She was a prolific quilter (like her mom and sisters) and made quilts for her children and for each grandchild in their high school's colors when they graduated.

    Boyd served as the Bishop of the 33rd Ward in Pocatello with Donna right by his side supporting and loving each and every ward member (or pushing from behind). She was famous for her German chocolate cakes. Boyd and Donna started spending winters in St. George, Utah, but interrupted their snow-bird time to serve a mission at the LDS Employment Center in Pocatello.
    When Donna's daughter, Julie, died in 2000, Donna moved to the Salt Lake City area to be near Julie's young sons to help out. She volunteered at their elementary school everyday until they moved into junior high. She was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award from the school district during this time. Donna loved working on the computer well into her 80's and kept herself and others busily engaged in her many projects. Over the past six years, she was also a key attraction at the opening of one of her son's 26 Five Guys restaurants in California, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Utah where everyone loved her Five Guys "costume" and enjoyed her enthusiastic interaction. More recently, Donna lived at Assisted Living of Draper, Utah where she loved her care center family who loved and treated her so well. A special thanks to all of her caregivers, especially Don, Hannah, Casey, Leslie, Marcia and Susan.

    Donna was preceded in death by her husband Boyd; daughter, Julie; three grandchildren, Brant, Thomas Boyd and Jennifer; her parents; a brother Arvel Hansen; and a sister Vella Mecham. She is survived by two sisters, June and Helen five of her children, 28 grandchildren, and 69 great grandchildren.

                                          Here's Mother on her 89th birthday with her happy smile. 

    It was a bitter/sweet task to write Mother's obituary.  I wrote it from memory as I had just finished writing her history over the last year and a half.  I think when someone dies, it is helpful for your brain and emotions to switch to auto pilot to be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done.  It is such a labor of love.   Darryl added a few things to the obituary and then we sent it to the paper.  It was so hard to see it in print.  Everything we did made it more real.   I had wondered what it would feel like when Mom was gone, you just can't imagine this type of reality.

    My brothers and I had to plan Mother's funeral and we wanted every detail to be perfect for her.  We remembered planning Dad's funeral, but the difference was, Mom was there with her input.  We thought about what her input would be and worked toward that end. 

    As I was looking for pictures for her funeral program, I ran onto this picture from the '80s.  Three of the people I love with all my heart all gone from me, but they are together and I imagine they are smiling, just like in this picture.

                                       Andrea, Julie, Donna and Boyd on the breezeway making a pancake breakfast for our reunion.  We made aprons for everyone!  What fun memories.  Look how happy we are.  I'm so happy to know that families are forever and that I will be with them again.

    Mother's funeral and other memories in Part Two to follow when I get it finished.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    My 10 BookChallenge

    My Favorite Mary Cassett portrait!

    I pulled this from Facebook to expand the reasons I love the books from my 10 book challenge on my blog!

    I have been nominated by Susan Mull to the 10 book challenge. I have so many favorites, I could have the top 1000. I have favorite authors rather than books. If I like someone, I will read everything they have written -- sometimes twice. The following books all broadened my thinking. Thanks Susan Mull. This made me think about why I love reading so much. I challenge Patty Zeugschmidt, Maurine Proctor, Rosemary Curtis Neider and Corinn Seely.
    I especially love books that have great character development. I love a good mystery or a really wonderful story.  I am an English major so I do look at books a little differently, but I love identifying with  one of the characters and determining if I would make the same decisions.  I use to love to ask my students that same question.  Whatever the reason, I love to read.

    So here we go

    1. Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy by Sigrid Undset- an historical account of life in 14th century Norway - I read this book many many years ago and it remains one of my favorites.  The author is a Nobel prize award winner for literature and a wonderful writer.  This book is said to be grammatically perfect. Who knows?  I read the translation.

    2. Mila 18 by Leon Uris - one of Uris' most powerful and heartfelt works about a determined band of Warsaw Jews in a bunker under Mila 18 Street and their resistance to the Nazi occupiers. Such a good read.

    3. Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet - who wouldn't love Tom Builder and the story of building the cathedrals in Europe. What rich history this book brings.  I also loved the follow-up books.

    4. Unbroken: A World War II story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand -- this inspiring story of Louie Gambrini gripped me from page one. Hillenbrand is a wonderful writer who pulls you into this man's life and you feel like you are right there experiencing the awfulness of war. He truly was unbroken in his will to survive. Might be my favorite book of all time.

    5. Kite Runner by Kaled Hosseini - a truly educational and eye opening account of the political turmoil in Afghanistan. Interesting that two on my list are about Afghanistan. This is about boys and their dads, betrayals and lies, and their heartbreaking struggles and emotional triumphs. A book that stays with you long after you have finished it. Excellent character development.

    6. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls - a book I read to my young sons. I loved this classic adventure of a young lad and his coon hounds. Who could ever forget Old Dan and Little Ann and the Indian legend of the Red Fern. I attended a lecture about the book by Wilson Rawls and loved him too. He is a great story teller.

    7. Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan -- probably not my favorite of Amy Tan, but such a wonderful glimpse into lives that had a huge impact on me. I went to the movie before I read the book and was mostly lost. Then I read the book and bought the movie. This book made me view the Chinese culture in a different light for the fight time. It's an emotional look at mothers and daughters and their relationships. The story about the piano lesson is in one of the high school anthologies. Excellent book! My favorite quote, "You have best quality heart." 

    8. Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn - I read this book so long ago I had to look up the author. It was published in the turbulent civil rights time during the '60s. It is an excellent look at life and love between an African American man and a Caucasian woman. The five smooth stones are indeed a reference to the five stones that David uses against Goliath. David, the hero faces significant struggles but has such warmth you fall in love with him. It is a classic well worth reading.

    9. Caravans by James Michner - I remember picking this book to read for a literary club review. I wanted a Michner book, but they were all so long and then I found Caravans. It's about half the length the other Michner works. He is such a great writer and I loved every page. It's about a girl who mysteriously disappears in Afghanistan and the person sent to find her. It has lots of cultural history that is fascinating to read.

    10. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom - Here is an amazing story of a real-life super hero. Corrie was a survivor of one of Hitler's concentration camps. This book will touch your heart and soul. The story is what is great about this book. Very memorable and life changing.

    Other books I have loved:  Sally Hemmings, Gone With the Wind, Huckleberry Finn or anything by Mark Twain.  I've read everything that Nelson DeMille has written except one.  I like Lee Childs, Berry, Grisham, Baldacchi, and several other modern day spy writers.  The classics are always favorites:  Jane Eyre, Of Mice and Men, Ivan Denisovich, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Old Man and the Sea, anything Shakespeare, A Separate Peace, The Secret Garden, Ethan Frome.  My list goes on and on!

     Another book I love is the Book of Mormon and try to read these scriptures every day as well as the other scriptures.  This book has shaped my life in every way. Well, I am a Mormon! So that makes sense doesn't it?   It gives me the strength and faith I need to survive unbroken.

    Since I have vision issues with my macular degeneration, I do all of my reading on my iPad.  I love the magic of using my iPad.  Love you Steve Jobs!  Happy Reading to all!

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Two Weeks in July

    Rich and I had a few days to regroup after getting home from Utah  before Jeremy and Shelly's family flew in from San Francisco. Audrey and Jocelyn came for a sleepover. We love having the girls for sleepovers and spoiling them!

    We went to the flower store to buy flowers for the yard.  The girls were so cute buying flowers to take home to plant in their yard.  Then we came home and worked hard getting all of the flowers in pots and in the ground.  We were late with our planting having been gone most of June so we were Glad to have these darling helpers!

    I'm losing track of days, but it seems like Shelly came with the kids on June 30 and Jeremy came on July 4th. And boy oh boy did we pack a ton of fun in to the two weeks they were in Virginia.
    So let's just show all of the pictures. Did I mention that I have the cutest grand kids on the planet???

    Our List of Activities from June 30 to July 13
    Not in any particular order
    1.  Slip and Slide
    2.  Tire Swing
    3.  Hot dog roast at Lenn Park
    4.  Build a Bear
    5.  Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks
    6.  Sight Seeing in DC
    7.  Last minute dinner with the Maryland Crowleys
    8.  Lunch at Carlos O Kellys in Fredericksburg
    9.  Making homemade cream soda
    10.  Gabe and Shelly take the little kids to the lake
    11.  Shopping
    12.  Basketball tournament
    13.  Sleepovers for the girls

    And MORE...

    Shelly was exhausted by the time she flew in from San Francisco with the four kids.  Plus she gets up every morning and runs about 6-10 miles.  She deserves to be tired.  She probably won't like this picture!  Okay, nevermind, I took the picture off.  (It was that picture of you asleep on the couch, Shelly.)
    Emery's Birthday
    Our first big event was getting Emery her birthday present.  She wanted to go to Build A Bear and was very excited.  Charlotte was also very excited and wanted to come along to find a new dress for her newest kitty - Precious!

    Here's Emery with her new sparkly bear with the sparkly dress.  She was pretty tickled.
    Charlotte with a new nightgown and slippers for Precious. 

    Look at these two cute cousins walking hand in hand out the door!

     This is a busy bunch!
    Charlotte, Emery, Audrey, Jocelyn
     Here's their sleepover.  They are all in that tangle of blanket somewhere.

    Fourth of July 
     The Crowley Gang at the 4th of July Parade in Culpeper!  Andrew, Andrea and Harper in the back.
    After the parade we came home to a cookout and wait for dark for the fireworks.   
    Hot Dog Roast!
    Cookout at Lenn Park!  Grandpa Crowley and Chase in front of the fire pit.

     Thanks, Shelly for looking at me while I  a take a picture.

     Jeremy and two of his boys, Carsen and Tanner.  Tanner is goofing off in almost every picture

    Charlotte, Emery, Nathan and Chase w/ Grandpa Crowley 
     Then it was on to the playground.  Matthew gave them a pretty fast and furious  ride!

     Grandpa Rich and the Tire Swing
    Rich decided to put up a tire swing for the grand kids. 
     So how many Crowley men does it take to put up a tire swing?  Well, four!
     You see the briar patch behind them.  Rich cleaned out a very large area and planted grass.  Everyone told him grass wouldn't grow there, but look how nice and healthy it is!  Good work Rich.

     Audrey and Emery waiting for another turn.  Cousin Shannon holding Nathan.

     Jeremy and Shelly took their two oldest boys to DC to sight see and on the way back they drove by our old home in Fairfax and Jeremy was very lonesome for Carlos.  SO...The next day we drove to Fredericksburg to, you gessed it!  CARLOS
     Jeremy was very happy to be having his favorite meal!  The rest of us too.  We love Carlos!
     Lest I forget I was there, Rich took my pic with Andrew!

     Darling picture of Jeremy and Shelly in the back yard.
     This is Chase down in Grandpa's studio!

     Harper very worried about events at the tire swing.
     Jeremy and Chase

       We had a last minute get together with Rich's brother's family.  They have a lake house at Lake Anna and were on there way home.  Kara, sitting down and very pregnant,  has since had another girl, Annie.  She is named for Annie Crowley, Rich's mother.
    Kara, Ken, and Tricia

     Tanner said he was the King of the basketball tournament!
     Crowley Cousins
    Shannon Crowley, Kara Crowley Hurley (missing Jordan Crowley)
    Andrew, Matthew and Jeremy
     Rich had the boys and Ken had the girls!  Nice balance.

    All of the Crowley Grand kids!

     And last but not least -- Carsen tending the homemade Cream Soda!  It was so good!

     We said goodbye to the Fresno Crowleys who flew home to San Francisco.  They stayed the night with Andrew and Melanie who live closer to the airport in Virginia.  They left early the next morning and were in San Fran by 10:30.  Then they drove home to Fresno.  Those two weeks flew by. Phew!Such a great family time with all of our kids.  Rich and I are so proud of all of them.  They are KEEPERS.  Love those Crowley Men and their families!

    Two days after the Fresnos left, I headed back to Utah to a little Mother who was clinging to life.