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Monday, July 18, 2016

Michelle Hall's Funeral

My neighbor passed away recently and I had to break the news to Aspen while trying not to cry my eyes out myself. Michelle adopted my kids as her own grandkids. In the three years we've lived here, Michelle always made a point to holler to Aspen over the fence, asking her to meet her at the gate. When Aspen trotted over to our backyard gate, Michelle would slip a toy, treat or book through the fence to Aspen. After Linc was born, Michelle would make sure two goodies made it through the fence for Aspen to share with her brother.

Aspen spent many hours with Michelle, making cards with her and enjoying her craft hoard. She gave Aspen pages of stickers and scrapbook paper for art projects, and they also picked flowering chives so Aspen could bring plants home after their visits with one another. Whenever we had a rain storm, Michelle and I would send messages back and forth worrying about potential flooding, or asking how the dogs were doing with the flooding. She's also the neighbor I'd call on last-minute to sit in my house when Linc was napping and I needed to pick up Aspen from school.

Michelle's liver failed and she ended up spending a week in the hospital. After she was discharged, she only lasted a couple of days at home before she was admitted again. On the 4th I called the hospital trying to find her but they didn't have record of her in their system. Time got away from me and she died in the hospital a few days later, without me being able to visit her. I feel awful about it, and wish I'd been able to say goodbye. I know she wasn't very coherent, but it's difficult not having closure when someone passes away.
 
Michelle often told me I'm a good mom, even though I know she heard me yell at my kids in the backyard on more than one occasion. I know she heard them fighting with one another, and that she saw once saw Aspen hit Linc in the face with a shovel. But she always complimented me on their good qualities and just laughed off the hard stuff about parenting. She never made me feel like I wasn't doing a good job trying to keep these kids alive and well. She was always so encouraging and supportive and I appreciated it so much.

Her funeral was Saturday and I was asked to sing a hymn during the program. I broke down bawling the first time I practiced it on my own, but right up until the rehearsal with my accompanist I did fine. However, I only made it through one verse during the service before I lost it. Thankfully my talented pianist continued playing while I choked on my own voice. I was able to speak the words of the hymn as the music played, and hopefully it wasn't too distracting to the loved ones in attendance. I'm honored I was able to participate in some teeny tiny way to show others Michelle meant a lot to our family, and that we miss her.

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4 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear of her passing. I enjoyed reading about your special relationship with her. I'm sure the musical tribute was lovely. How are the kids handling it?

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    1. Aspen's been having a lot more meltdowns lately, and I've wondered if it's related. I keep asking her about the whole situation but she doesn't have much to say (WHICH IS SHOCKING).

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    2. Hmm. Yes shocking. Maybe that is her way of dealing with it. I think anyone would be lucky to be your neighbor. This experience of yours makes me want to connect more with my neighbors.

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    3. It can be hard, though! I hate to feel like I'm just barging into someone's life. Thankfully Michelle always said it was nice to borrow my kids since she never had grandchildren of her own.

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