Be sweet. That's what my mom always said when she got off the phone with me. And that was also the defining quality of my mother -- sweetness. Jane Ellan Lively, my mother and Sophie's grandmother, passed away on Wednesday morning after battling lung cancer (then brain cancer, then radio necrosis, then a return of cancer in her spinal fluid) for many months. She was diagnosed when Sophie was only 25 days old. My brothers and I were there with her, and we told her it was okay to go. It seems so fast, I know. She was doing so well, and now she's gone. But I saw my mother in pain for one day, and that was long enough. It is such a blessing that she is no longer in pain and that all of our memories of her are of the vibrant, funny, sweet person that she was. There are so many amazing stories to tell about her and about the time we spent together this week remembering her. This is my favorite one from this week, and this is what brings some peace to my heart right now:
My mother always wanted a roomful of balloons. My older brother, Jeff, coordinated a special project for his boys on the day of the funeral. Back at the farm, the boys (and Jordan and Ashley and Claudia and other friends) prepared a gigantic bunch of balloons and tied a card with my mom's name to the strings. We counted down and released the balloons and watched them float away over the farm and disappear from our sight. About an hour later, my younger brother Jordan was down at the pond with his friends and I heard his girlfriend yell up the hill, "Stacy, look at the rainbow!" I searched the skies for an arch, then Ashley yelled, "right above the house!" And there it was. A small, horizontal rainbow stretching right over the farm. Jeff saw it, and my sister-in-law Claudia yelled for Joel to come look. As soon as we had all seen it, the rainbow faded away and disappeared. I know Momma was telling Jeff "thank you for the balloons." I know she is still here, all around me. I know that, even though Sophie will not remember her Nana Jane, I have the awesome responsibility of telling her all the stories and teaching her all the lessons that my mother taught me.
Sophie and her Grandpa Joel.