Missing

The beginning of August is always a little bumpy for me, Michael’s birthday is today August 9, my mom passed on August 11, and now August 3 will be a little rough as that is the day my brother Jesse passed.
As most of you know I am adopted, everyone should really know that by now as it is, for better or worse, part of my identity.
Jesse was the youngest of my siblings, he was 20 years older than I. Even at that, he was a really great big brother in my teenage years. Jesse always had a mischievous glint in his eyes, even as an adult, you could tell there was something there, just under the surface, waiting to come out. A funny joke, a stinging comeback (for which we are all famous for) or comforting words.
He was equal parts funny, sarcastic, caring and a good son to my parents.
There is one time in particular that always comes to mind:
One day I was sitting in the den watching television and Jesse walked in. He didn’t say a word he just sat down next to me. He sighed heavily instigating the tell me what’s wrong conversation.
He looked at me and said you know Angie I told my kids that they shouldn’t even try to think of anything ornery to do because I’ve done it all. There is nothing you can think of that I have not done.
He was right about that, he was a really ornery child according to my parents. The original Dennis the Menace, please note, in my family orneriness is a gift.
I looked at him and said you’re stupid, you didn’t give your kids a warning, you issued a challenge.
He looked at me and said I realize that now. He went on to say those kids of mine thought of things I would never have thought to do.
I laughed for a solid five minutes because I knew that was true.
All three of his children were true Testerman’s, funny, smart and mischievous in nature. All of those traits are considered positive in my family.
This world will miss his humor, the glint in his eyes, the smile that made you wonder what he was up to and when the other shoe would drop.
I am completely grateful my daughter, Elizabeth Anne, traveled to Owasso with me to say goodbye. There are many things I will never talk about here, just know, that girl is my rock star, my hero, my protector when needed.
As usual, any complaints, comments or just to tell me how awesome I am can be left here or sent to angie@angieworld.com

Almetta

Today I had to say goodbye to someone I was not ready to say goodbye to. My dear friend Sandi’s mother passed away on New Years day. Today we all gathered to say not goodbye, but see you later. I have no doubt I will see Al again someday.
I was completely floored when I was asked to say a few words at her memorial service. I cannot fully express what a true honor it was.
Her daughter Sandi was not only my friend, she was my mentor, my confidant, my sister in Christ, saying see you later to her was so hard, having her mother gone now brings it all back to the forefront. I will miss both of those ladies like crazy now. The world is just a little bit dimmer without Al in it. So here is my farewell to her:
There are many words that come to mind when speaking about Almetta McQuarters.
Kind, generous, welcoming, a great dancer, anyone who has been to a Mary Kay function with Al can tell you that she was the first one on the dance floor when the music started. Fashion icon, loving, joyous and, I save the best for last, a woman of God.
To be in Al’s presence meant you felt welcomed, it is a rare trait, to be able to make anyone in your presence feel like they belonged. She made it look easy, she always had a word for anyone that she came into contact with. It truly was an amazing thing to watch.
It is no mystery why, year after year, she won the highest honor there is in Mary Kay. Miss Go-Give, it simply means that she was always quick to jump in and do whatever was needed. Greeting guests, making them feel welcome, helping set up and helping clean up afterwards.
I have a story that I would like to share, to me it optimizes exactly who Al was.
After Sandi passed, some of us formed a group we called the ladies that lunch. Once a month we gather, either at a restaurant or someone’s home.
Roughly 6 to 7 months after Sandi passed away Al said she would like to host the gathering in her home.
So, on the designated day we all gathered in Almetta’s home, there was good food, great fellowship. We told stories about Sandi, we laughed, we cried and just had a good time.
Al said she had chosen some mementos of Sandi she had gathered and she wanted to share them with us.
We could each choose one. She took us into her guest room where she had lovingly laid out the things she wanted us to choose from.
This was not done in a haphazard way; you could feel how much thought had gone into the activity of choosing what she wanted to share.
As we went in, she began to guide us towards what she thought we would love the best.
She was right, what she had guided me towards was a perfect token of Sandi’s memory for me. It was a book of poetry that she would read when she came to visit with Al.
Al told me they would sit on the patio and Sandi would read to her.
She put such time and attention into taking care of each of us. In her grief, she found strength in helping others get through theirs.
That she could do this says what kind of person she was, she was strong.
She is everything Proverbs 39 talks about.
She was a woman of noble character whose worth was above rubies and we are all better for having had the privilege of knowing her.

Weddings and Funerals

I have often said I like funerals better than weddings, it’s not because I am morbid or have a particular interest in the macabre. It is due to the fact that I was exposed to funerals way before I ever attended a wedding.
I was raised not only by old people, but I was surrounded by them as well. I was born the youngest in a family that was well established and had an inordinate amount of members that were born in the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s.
My parents pre-payed and planned their funerals in the early 1970’s. Every funeral we went to my mom would say oh don’t do that at mine or oh that’s a really good idea, I want that.
I fully admit I inherited that trait, I have been planning my funeral way before I planned a wedding for myself. To me a funeral is for the living, a way to say goodbye, to honor a life well lived. It is typically when someone is older and has had a full life. I have only been to two who were not old and I felt it was way before their time to go.
Yesterday was for one of those people, it was a shocking piece of news. Hearing that someone we had just spent time with two days prior had passed away.
He was young, my age, and to our knowledge had no health issues. So to get the news that he was gone was indeed jarring.
I admit I didn’t know him well, I met him and his wife through the Irishman. He was a big sports fan and was a fan of the soccer team the Irishman loves. They have a huge fan club here in North Texas and that is where they met and formed a friendship.
I would come to know them as just really good people, nice, funny, caring and sweet. They were very much in love with each other, devoted to each other. He was very simply a really nice man, that is the highest compliment I can give someone, he was genuinely nice. Kind of quiet, I could tell he was one of those people who has a gentle soul. His wife, definitely complimented his personality as she is outgoing, friendly and devoted to him and her family.
I was privileged to attend the wedding of this man and his wife, not even a year ago. It was a wedding I have often said was the perfect wedding. In a beautiful, older church, the minister was sweet, funny and spoke eloquently and knew the couple. Then the reception was punch, cake and a few appetizers. All done by the couple’s families.
The funeral was as perfect as the wedding, the song Layla by Eric Clapton, the live version, was played. I had to smile as it struck me that I wish I had known him better. This is something I often plan, my funeral, with not typical songs played.
People spoke, my original assessment of him was not changed, kind, genuine, funny, devoted to his family and friends were words that were said often.
My heart breaks for his wife; this was a funeral I truly wish had never happened.
I will be praying for his wife, mother, daughters and step-sons in the coming days, weeks, months and years they have to spend apart from this man.
I wish I had known him better, I am sorry that everyone had to say goodbye for a little while to this man. I am grateful to have had the privilege of attending their wedding and his send-off.
As usual you can send any feed-back to angie@angieworld.com

Funeral Planning

Am I really the only one that wonders what people will say at their funeral? I wonder that a lot, what words will be spoken when I am gone? What stories will be told of my life?

I asked the Irishman last night what he would say at my funeral, he said he would not be able to speak at all, as he would be too upset. Then he said he didn’t want to talk about it, he doesn’t like to think about death. I think about it all the time, one of my hobbies is planning my funeral. You have to prepare for these things, I have been to a lot of funerals and you cannot leave things to the living.

If you want something done, then you have to do it yourself, why would you leave your final act up to someone else to plan? I would not do that; you never know what people are going to do with you.

I am not one of those people that say things like oh just put me in a pine box and throw me in a ditch. Yes, I have actually heard people say that, horrifying, why would you want that? A funeral is actually for the people left, a chance for them to have closure, to say goodbye and see you later. It is their opportunity to reflect and be happy that you’re free, free of earthly constraints, free of aches and pains, free of heartache. You have made it, you are going home, this is a celebration!

I do wonder though, what will my children say about me? What will Tessa say? Will Elizabeth tell stories of my clumsiness? Will Jeffrey tell about the time I took him to a Rangers game? Will Alex talk about our lunches? Will Tess tell about the times I took her to the park or Old McDonalds? Will they know how much I loved them? That they were my entire world?

A funeral is not for the empty shell left behind, so plan well my friends, this is your last opportunity to plan a great party that will allow the people you leave behind an opportunity to say goodbye. To begin their life without you in it, a pine box and a ditch is not comforting. It is ridiculous to say things like that, and thoughtless to the ones left planning it, do your own planning.

If you plan your own funeral it takes all of the guess work out of it for the ones left, they don’t have to make decisions, they can just reflect, smile, laugh and cry without the stress of picking out a casket, songs they think you would like and a service. If you do this for them you lift a burden from their shoulders, it is your final gift to the ones left behind.

It is not only my hobby planning my own funeral; it is my final gift to my children and granddaughter. I am taking everything out of their hands so they are stress free and can actually begin their grieving process unburdened by decision-making.

So, what would you say about me at my funeral?

Jibberish

I have writers block, I am hoping by writing that I have writers block it will help dissipate it. So far no, still blocked, you would think I would have a lot to write about since I have been gone for a while, however there are things I’m not sure I have permission to write about.
Hmmm, what do I think I can tell, well you all know I was in Oklahoma for my Aunt’s funeral, I don’t feel as if I have permission to write about the actual funeral as that is intensely personal and I do not want to be disrespectful to my cousins or Uncle.
I can tell you it was wonderful seeing my cousins in spite of the circumstances, had a wonderful conversation with my cousins Paula and Cindy. Seeing my Aunt Estelle was icing on the cake, she looks amazing, she will be 100 in July and still has her mind in tact, which is wonderful. Longevity runs in our family, especially for the women, I cannot wait to be 100, I am going to insist everyone wait on me hand and foot. I plan on being incredibly eccentric, insisting everything around me be painted purple, or red, I have yet to decide, maybe one week red, the next purple. I want people to look and me and say wow that old woman is a pistol.
I think my cousin was a little shocked I travel with my own coffee maker, but seriously I cannot leave my coffee to chance, I need coffee in the mornings. It is not even a want or desire it is a NEED, I need the caffeine in order to start my day off correctly. Nothing else works like coffee, it is comforting, awaking to the aroma of coffee brewing, I don’t think I will ever give it up.
Well that is all I feel like writing for now, maybe later I will write about the story my uncle told at the funeral, it was just fantastic and showed exactly how they were with each other.