Thursday, November 15, 2007

Remembering Joyce Birdsall

B's grandmother, Joyce Birdsall, died recently after a five year battle with cancer. She and her husband Bill, B's grandpa, had been married for 60+ years and had been a couple for 65 years. This is them in the picture above, probably they're still in high school. He was a football player and she was a cheerleader. They married after she graduated and had four daughters. When she died she had 6 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

We drove down to Corvallis to go to the funeral last Thursday night. The funeral was on Saturday, so we spent Friday just hanging out with the family. The picture above is the picture that was passed out to family members, and it's the picture that Grandpa spent sometimes an hour staring at while sitting in his easy chair the days before funeral, most of the time his eyes filled with tears. Next to him was another matching easy chair which is now vacant, because his partner of 65 years is gone.

The funeral was very traditional with an elegant white casket, full service, hearse, and funeral procession of cars to the burial. It was amazing to realize, looking around the room that these people were here because of Grandma and Grandpa. This was their legacy. B and I and our children are part of their legacy too. During the service it was shared that Joyce was an amazing hostess who loved saying hello and hated saying good bye, which reminded me so much of B. She was a wonderful God fearing woman who lived a great life and left a great legacy.

After the service we drove to the burial which was on a beautiful plot out in Sweet Home, where other family members are buried. B served as one of the casket bearers. Watching the burial was so sad. As I looked at all the family members, I thought "this was momma bear, she started all this and here we are laying her in the ground." At the same time, it seemed like her time to go, and it was nice to know she wasn't in pain anymore and she was sharing eternity with her creator.

The hardest part was Grandpa. While staring at his wife's casket, Grandpa looked shocked like he didn't see it coming, even though she had been dying of cancer for years. Out at the cemetery, it was absolutely beautiful, and it was supposed to rain.

Here's some pics of the burial. Notice that this is in November and look at the scenery.

Carrying the casket
Great granddaughter and daughter

Son in law, daughter, and Grandpa Birdsall
Grandpa Birdsall's last goodbye
Grandson B, and great granddaughter lil' b


tricia said...

mixed emotions reading this. obviously sad to have someone leave, even though you've known it was coming. but the joy of knowing that they were together for 65 years. i want to do that! and all this love that is so apparent. sad situation, but joy is there too.

chelsealynne said...

I just bawled reading this. To me it is heartwrenchingly sweet and sad. Oh geez I am still crying. I don't even know them. I know its normal and it has to happen, but to lose you partner after so long... I just get so sad when I think of adorable old men missing their love.
On a happier note I love what you said about 'mamabear' and marriage being about creating a family.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Paris.