Mama Tuesday (by me June 16, 2015)

We went to daddy’s as quickly as we could, so late morning.  We started going over the arrangements for mama’s viewing and memorial service.  We had found out last night that mama and daddy had wanted the six children to sing amazing grace at the service.  All of us except Holly, decidedly could not get through it and did not want to make a spectacle of ourselves.  So at some point Tammy talked it over with papa and he decided it would be okay to just have an intermediate hymn instead.
I wrote this on Tuesday:
Katie and I were invited to join Tammy and three sisters, to dress her in her Temple clothes at 11:00am at the funeral home.  I have never done this before.  I was quite nervous that I would have a hard time with it.  We were escorted to the sterile room she was in.  Her body was on a stainless steel bed with wheels, and it was covered with a white sheet.  Her head rested on a hard block of some kind, and a  cover in a white cloth.  She did not look like my Mama.  I was a bit taken back at first.  Then felt the Spirit immediately calm me, telling me that this was just her body, but she was no longer here.  Tammy broke down when we entered the room, patted mama’s head and said “that’s my mama.”  After looking at her for a few moments, I was able to recognize her better.  The hair was the same, it doesn’t change at all.  It looks the same and feels the same, but the skin is cold and clammy and feels like leather.  Her hands, bruised from the IV’s were laid across her belly, but this is the other part that was recognizable.  They were her dainty hands with her long piano fingers.  She had painted her nails clear for Church on Sunday and they were still shiny and beautiful.  She was very stiff and cold.  The three women from church who assisted us asked if we were ready and we said that we were.  When they seemed confused about how to go about putting things on her, I mentioned that mama had told me that they typically cut the clothing up the middle back so that they could just tuck the garments under and we decided to do this.  One of the ladies had a small pair of nail scissors that we used, and Katie cut all the garments while one of the ladies and I held each piece for her.  We would cut the clothing, then dress her in each piece before cutting the next.  Tammy had brought mama’s white mock turtle neck that she always wore in the Temple under her dress because she was always so cold.  Tammy asked the leading sister if it was okay to put it on her, and she said it was fine.  When we got the shirt on mama, Tammy said “now there’s my mama.  that’s how she always looked.  she had to have her turtle neck on!”  I did not feel that her spirit entered the room necessarily.  Only that when we started putting her Temple Robes on (none of the Temple robes were cut by the way), she seemed to hover, and peek in, feel grateful that we were doing it, but was gone quickly after we were done, because she is very busy in the Spirit World and simply doesn’t have time to be showing up for every little thing.  Besides we don’t know how that all works anyway.  Mama is the kind of woman that was always quite matter of fact about what needed to be, and was one to “just get to work already.”  Katie had the same impression when we spoke of it later.  After we were finished dressing her, and before the funeral director brought in April, Holly, Amanda, and Taylor to do hair and makeup, each of the assisting sisters told us a memory about her.  We were all tearful as they left.  I did break down a few times during the dressing, but was able to quickly feel the peace of the Gospel and the knowledge of where mama was.  Mama always told me that dressing the deceased in their Temple clothes was one of her favorite things to do as it is a very spiritual experience.   I have not felt her presence since she left me the night she died.  But I continue to feel her feelings, and her desires as far as wanting me to try to bridge the discord between siblings like she always did when she was alive.  I don’t think this is a direct communication from her, only that I am aware of her feelings, as we have been told the loved ones who pass on are aware of our feelings even though they are busy working in the Spirit World and not attending to us personally.   I was able to ask Tammy to invite Amanda, Meghan, and Taylor to join April and Holly in putting on her makeup and doing her hair, and she was happy to do so.  Meghan declined the invitation, she wasn’t ready for that.  This experience was pivotal.  The discord and hard feelings, and division between siblings here in NC, seemed to melt away.  I felt Mama’s gratitude that feelings and hearts were softened.  I felt her joy that all her girls were with her body together.  Since this experience, the feelings in Daddy’s home have been much more gentle and happy.  This has helped my Daddy relax, and I have felt my Mama’s great joy.
Afterwards, most of us went back to Grandpa’s for lunch and visiting the rest of the day and with the rest of the family.  April, Katie, Taylor and I went to Target to get a few things.  We wanted to get a nice fluffy white blanket for the viewing.  Because she is being cremated, they will not put her in a coffin, and she looks cold on the steel table.  The funeral home put a white sheet under mama to cover the table and it fell to the floor.  We wanted a blanket to tuck around her to make her look like she was lying in a pillow or a cloud.  We will also get flowers to put around her for the viewing.  Afterwards, we went to Grandpa’s.  I shared a few things from the dressing with papa, and he was grateful and smiled.
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