Friday, March 30, 2007

Lisa's Memorial, more rosaries

Lisa's Memorial

I'm here at home today, taking a day off to honor Lisa's Memorial, as a way of saying goodbye because I can't be in Australia with Lisa's family. I plan to go on a nice hike later on today, as a way of saying goodbye. I did the same when we lost Aunt Jan and it's feels like a necessary release. My heart still goes out to her father, sister and brother and all of their families. They've been through so much this year and its hard to see them go through more. If you're reading this today, please take a moment to close your eyes and reflect on her memory.

Mary's Rosary

In the mayhem that's transpired in the last couple of weeks, I've neglected to put up a picture of the rosary that I made for Aunt Mary. I sent it out the same time I sent out the rosaries for all of Aunt Jan's family. I had made this specific rosary just to make one. Then Aunt Mary called and asked if she could have one, and this one felt like a perfect fit:

I found these lovely grey glass beads at one of my favorite bead stores awhile back. They just seemed tailor-made for a rosary. When Aunt Mary called, I knew this rosary was for her. I augmented the centerpiece with some of Aunt Jan's freshwater pearls, so now she has a little token of her sister and her mother with her.

Aunt Mary sent me a lovely thank you note that I thought I'd share:
I received the Rosary, I'm thrilled. It's so beautiful and lovingly made. Thank you so much. It has been blessed by my favourite hermit priest, Sr. Ronan. I love the beads and shall treasure it.

Can you believe it? A rosary I made was actually blessed by a priest. I was actually kind of blown away by that fact. I'm not sure why. Just kind of humbled I guess. I just feel really lucky to be doing this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More on Lisa

Cyndi sent me the following note that she wants forwarded on to the rest of the family. I thought I'd share it here as well.

Lisa had a wonderful 12 months of life after her diagnosis. She fought hard to keep the cancer at bay and to live with energy and love. She called me Friday to tell me she felt fantastic and had heaps of energy and was hoping that she was getting better and was going to get rid of the tumour. On Saturday we went to a musical. On Sunday she woke up and was vomiting blood. She was admitted to hospital emergency 12.30 on Sunday lunch time and died at 10.50am 26.3.2007.

The tumour had encroached on a major blood vessel and there was no way we could stop the bleeding. They gave me two choices, one was to operate but the likely hood of her dying on the operating table was very high. Or she could just stop the blood transfusions and die peacefully. We all talked about it and she made the decision to stop the blood transfusions. She told me she was tired and she was ready to go. She was resigned to that and we spent the next 24 hours with her. We talked to her and she continued to give cheek back to us right up until 4.00 am that morning.

Her son Trent was informed and he made a phone call to her before she lost the power of speech. It was a wonderful conversation for her. He also sent a photo of himself but by the time we got the photo she was unable to open her eyes, although she did nod to me that she saw the photo, so maybe she had a peak.

The story of the rosary beads continue. I was in Brisbane when I got the call that Lisa was in the emergency room. So I went straight there, not really knowing the facts. Howard and the kids came down later that night to say good bye to Lisa and Fran had noticed that my rosary beads were in the bathroom, she picked them up and brought them to me. I put the beads on Lisa, which she wore for the last 12 hours of her life, and she will be cremated with those beads. My sister was my best friend, she was my confidant, she was the person that I turned to for advice on life and living, she was an amazing person with amazing knowledge and insight, I will miss her so much.

She is being cremated on Thursday at 9.00am. On Friday at 6.00pm we are having a celebration of her life. She was not a traditionalist so we will not be having a traditional funeral, just a great party. People are coming from far and wide. The head of the New Zealand School of Chiropractic called and told me he was coming, people from all over Australia respected her as a Chiropractor and a friend and are coming to celebrate a brilliant life.

Please put this on the blog if you think it is appropriate. The rosary beads have been a blessing and when Fran brought them to me I knew exactly what they were made for. They were a symbol of three great ladies, three generations now together watching over us, Grandma, Mum and my sister Lisa. My beads given to Lisa as she was dying was the part of me which has gone with her that can never be recovered. I will miss her greatly.

Can you also send this on to all the family, so that they know that Lisa died so very beautifully and peacefully.

As my mother so eloquently put it after I read this to her, there are no words. Or, perhaps there are three. Thank You Cyndi. You've been through so much lately, but the bond that we've forged together through the rosaries has been utterly priceless as is the fact that you've been willing to share these stories with us and with me . Thank you.

We'll miss you Lisa

I've been trying for a full day now to put into words a decent enough post trying to honor my cousin Lisa. It's been difficult because I've been bombarded with a diluge of other emotions that have been keeping me from it. We lost my cousin Lisa over the weekend. I just want to tell all of Lisa's family that I love them and I'm sending my thoughts and prayers their way.

When I found out about Lisa's passing yesterday, I felt unanchored, floating. I couldn't connect with anything. I talked with my husband to try and figure out my emotions. He said something striking. He said I wasn't just mourning Lisa's passing, but I was mourning them, everyone we've lost all over again. I think that's true.

Every time we lose someone in the family, my thoughts not only pause on that person but on all the others we've lost too. Since Lisa's passing yesterday, I've thought about Aunt Jan, and my grandmother, about cousin Randy, and of course all the brothers, all my uncles, their wives, their children. I can't help but sift through a catalogue of the lost. I keep running through memory after memory of each member that we've lost over the years.

It seems so unfair to face what we've faced as a family, to face what we've faced as individuals. I'm not sure that I can talk about all of this right now. It doesn't seem like the right time for me. I'll let John Carlson's articles say it for me.

As for Cousin Lisa, I'll say this. I remember one summer, before any of the uncles got too sick, we had all gathered in Iowa. A bunch of us decided to "float the river". It was a perfect summer day. I was in a canoe with Lisa and my mom, sitting in the middle, splashing the water around and getting splashed in return. Lisa and my mom didn't have the greatest of canoe skills and at one point, when we were about to dock for shore, they flipped the canoe over. Everything got soaked. Towels, our packed lunches, ourselves, we all took a plunge in the river. We laughed and joked about it. It was a sweet moment and I want to thank Lisa for giving it to me.

We'll all miss you.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rosaries for Aunt Jan's family

I have several pictures of recent rosaries I created, but before I do that, I want to wish Lisa all the very best. I just got word from a relative that she's in the hospital and I want to send all my love and well wishes her way and also out to all her family. They've been through so much in the past year and I can't imagine how difficult this is for them now. I love you all and I'm wishing and praying for the best.

The following are pictures of all the rosaries and rosary bracelets I made using Aunt Jan's jewelry. I made each one completely different and unique from each other. There are eight in all, one for Uncle Dave, cousin Marcus, Cyndi, Lisa, and one for each of Aunt Jan's grandchildren, Fran, Brogan, Casie and Tarnia.

I made these two rosary bracelets for Jan's two daughters, Cyndi and Lisa.

Both use the cultured pearls from Aunt Jan's collection along with the pearl centerpiece from my grandmother's pearl necklace. One uses hematine accents while the other uses blue pearl accents. I believe Cyndi took the blue pearl bracelet while Lisa was given the pearl and hematine bracelet. I hope having both grandma and Jan's pearl's is a comfort and strength for her during this time.

I made two full length rosaries for both Uncle Dave and Marcus, each using a different piece of Aunt Jan's jewelry.

For Dave's rosary, I used the green stone beads from Aunt Jan's necklace along with some silver accents. I hope he thinks of Aunt Jan when he sees it because it reminds me of her.

For Marcus's, I kind of broke the mold and went a bit away from the traditional rosary look and feel.

I used the blue and bone beads from Aunt Jan's choker to represent the hail mary's and glory be's of a traditional rosary but used accent beadsalong with it, so its look isn't the same aesthetic as a rosary but it still has the same form and function.

For Aunt Jan's four grandchildren, I created four rosary bracelets, that also play with the look and feel of a normal rosary.

For Brogan, I used the same color scheme and ideas I used for Marcus's Rosary, playing on the bone and hematine. I also made the centerpiece of the rosary dettachable, so if he wanted to wear the bracelet by itself, he could.

Cyndi tells me Brogan really liked this bracelet and put it on almost immediately.

For Fran, I created a mixed rosary bracelet, using beads from two of Aunt Jan's necklaces.

I used a combination of the green stones that I also used for Dave's rosary and the cultured pearls I used for Cyndi and Lisa's bracelets. I think the two bead types combined quite well. Cyndi told me she was thinking of taking this one instead of the blue pearl bracelet instead, she liked it so much.

For Casie Ann and Tarnie I actually used the seed beads from Aunt Jan's green stone necklace to do things a bit differently.

In one, I used the small glass beads to form loops and in the other, I used the glass beads to create tiny little rosettes. In the one above, each loop represents a hail mary and in other, each small beaded flower represents one hail mary.

I'm really amazed how differently they've all turned out. I hope I've created something each person in the family likes. As always, if anyone would like me to change something, let me know and I'll be happy to change it.

Again, I'm sending my love and my thoughts to Lisa and all her family, hoping that she recovers from this harrowing experience. This is an awefully tough time for all the family involved, and I'm giving everyone my best.

Good Luck and lots of love.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Many Thanks to John Carlson

There's been a lot I've wanted to say about my grandmother and my family and the struggles and heartbreak that we've gone through and the heartache that my grandmother went through, but every time I try or even think about trying, everything gets jumbled up.

Luckily for me, there's John Carlson. He put pen to paper and wrote about our family in ways I only wished I could. Everything that we went through, he painstakingly documented. He's written a number or articles for his paper, The Des Moines Register, some regarding our family history and some regarding our grandmother. He even wrote an endearing and yet heartbreaking obituary when we lost our grandmother. Everything he has written has meant so much to me and to the family because he wrote what I wanted to write, said what I thought our family so desperately needed to say.

I just recently got in contact with Mr. Carlson, asking him if I could have electronic versions of everything that he wrote. I finally got to talk to him today and his answer was a resounding yes. Within hours he had handed me the most recent articles he wrote concerning my grandmother and the article he wrote concerning my uncle Loris with the promise of sending me the long article he wrote regarding the entire family.

I can not thank the man enough for his generosity and also for his passion. I'll attach the articles to the website soon so that they are readily available to read and reread. It's a special gift to have everything he's written in one place and I'm so happy I get share it with the rest of the family.

Again, thanks so much John Carlson, for the friendship you've had with my family over the years and also for this unique opportunity. I really appreciate it.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Aunt Jan's beads

As stated before, I've gotten the opportunity to work with and use Aunt Jan's beads in rosaries. I've utterly enjoyed the process because I think it's what she would've wanted. I thought I'd go into a little detail about the jewelry I received. Keep in mind that the pictures probably aren't the greatest (They were taken by me and not by the lovely and talented Teena Marie. You get what you pay for.)

My cousin Cyndi gave me two strands of Aunt Jan's pearls.

The first set is a strand of freshwater pearls. The second is a strand of cultured pearls. I love the set of cultured pearls and the clasp is really stunning and beautiful. I'm hoping to reuse it for something because it's not meant to sit in a box forever.

The next necklace was a blue and silver choker Jan wore often.

I actually remember this piece on Aunt Jan, which makes having it all the more special.

The next piece was a green stone and seed bead necklace.

I could see Aunt Jan wearing this with a nice summer dress, enjoying a nice summer day at the beach. I really enjoyed these beads. I used all the stones from this necklace and most of the seed beads.

The next was an interesting three-strand choker made out of bone and shell.

I really like this piece and have already used a lot of the beads in rosaries for Marcus and Brogan. I haven't quite figured out if I can use the long shell pieces in rosaries or not, but I've already gotten a lot of use out of this necklace so far.

Below is a montage of the rest of the necklaces I received but so far haven't used.

I'd like to thank Cyndi for the opportunity once again and also for her graciousness. I recieved a nice note with the package of beads from Cyndi that I'd like to share:

Here are the beades that no one claimed for their use. I've put the pearls in
because they were precious to Mum and I want everyone to have some of them. The silver necklace with the blue beads is a necklace Mum wore alot. I remember each
piece of jewelry on her. Enjoy and spread around to all family members.

Thanks Cyndi! I'll do just that.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Big Announcement

I’ve promised for weeks that there would be a big announcement and I’ve finally gotten to a point that I can make that big announcement now.

Aunt Jan was an amazing person and an integral piece of the family. That probably goes without saying. She was also a lovely person that we’re all going to miss a lot. That also goes without saying. The thing that I haven’t had the opportunity to say, at least until now, is that I’ve gotten the chance to honor her memory along with my Grandmother’s by placing their beads together in rosaries. And Cyndi has allowed me the opportunity to use Jan’s beads to incorporate them into the rosaries for not only her family, but the rest of the extended family as well.

My cousin Cyndi sent me a handful of Jan’s beaded necklaces that she loved to wear. I’ve created rosaries and rosary bracelets for Uncle Dave, and my cousins Marcus, Lisa and Cyndi. I've also made rosary bracelets for Jan’s four grandchildren. I’ve kept it a surprise until now. Cyndi wanted to keep it between us until I finished them and sent them out. I’ve sent them out to Cyndi and she’ll distribute them to the rest of the family shortly.

Cousin Cyndi has been gracious and generous enough to give me the rest of the beads so that I can incorporate Jan’s beads with Grandma’s beads into all the rest of the rosaries. I’ve really enjoyed this process and have found that it has been a fitting and loving way to remember and honor Jan. As I was making one of the rosaries, I teared up a little bit, thinking of Jan.
I’ll post pictures of all the jewelry I received as well as the pictures of the rosaries I made in return (but in a later post). Hopefully soon I’ll post that video from Jan’s funeral I’ve been promising. I want to thank Cyndi for all of help and giving me this opportunity. I hope everyone enjoys them!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Wishing Lisa Well

I'm just dropping a brief word here to wish my Cousin Lisa well. She's had some health problems lately that, along with dealing with the loss of her mother Jan, have been a lot to deal with. She's coping and fighting but it sounds like she still has a ways to go. I just want to let her know that my thoughts are with her and that all the family hopes that she gets well and stays healthy.

We love you Lisa. Take care.