Posted by Nicole
While I think it’s kind of taboo to blog about a funeral, there were a lot of great family moments that took place this past weekend. Many family members read the blog and writing about the events will create a recorded memory to look back on.
On Saturday, we hung out at the lake house, unpacked, and then headed to Pizza Man for a late family lunch. Afterwards, we went to my Uncle Tony’s house for a little while. I had a great time pushing my little twin cousins on the swing, even when they threatened “I’m gonna try and kick you!!!” while mid-air.
A bit later, we went over to my Aunt Carol’s house to assemble some photo collages. We enjoyed a wonderful spread of food and blackberry wine from a Missouri winery, appropriate because my Grandma loved to pick blackberries and bake blackberry cobbler. Each of the 15 children decorated half a photo board with family photos of special moments with Grandma. We also went through some of Grandma’s belongings, specifically her quilts, harmonicas, decorations from her room at the nursing home, and her jewelry. The night ended with storytelling and memory sharing.
We woke up early and went to the 9:15 mass at the beautiful St. Anthony Church. Our mom, all of her siblings, and many of our cousins went to school at St. Anthony, so the church is a special part of the Bloemer family.
After mass, we went to the Hilton for a family brunch. The Keller family, one of the largest families in the town, donated a brunch to our family as a celebration of Grandma Marie’s life. The brunch even included cinnamon rolls, one of ourgrandma’s favorite treats to bake. The fact that so many people in the town were affected by her passing really shows how special of a woman, friend, sister, cousin, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother she was.
With full bellies and hearts, Lauren and I headed out for a run, while my mom went with her siblings to set up for the viewing back at St. Anthony’s. We got to the church a bit after 4, and were amazed at how many people were already there to pay their respects.
Each of the collages from Saturday night were displayed on top of one of Grandma’s handmade quilts. She was extremely talented at quilting; I had a quilt on my bed until age 15, and Lauren had one until age 18! (And now, Lauren adds on her “wedding quilt” during the winter.) Not only did my Grandma make quilts for people in our large family, she also made and donated them to the yearly church picnic fundraiser.
At 7 PM there was a wake service led by the priest. During this time, our mom got up and shared some touching words about her mother. At the end of the wake, the priest had all of us get on our feet to sing “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain.” It was uncustomary, but totally fitting as it was one of our Grandma’s favorite songs. The line of visitors continued to weave in and out of the pews post-wake and there was a constant stream of people until 9 PM.
On Monday morning, our family met early to take some family photos at the St. Anthony Parish Center. It’s not often that all 15 children, 32 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren are in one place.
The three of us
Grandma Marie’s 15 children
Each of the children and their spouses
The grandchildren and great-grandchildren
After posing and a last viewing, we all went into church for a funeral mass. The oldest grandsons carried in the casket and the oldest granddaughters did the readings and the offertory procession. The offertory gifts were a quilt that Grandma made, a cinnamon roll, and her harmonica. Our Aunt Cindy read an excerpt from the “Mother of the Year” submission she wrote in 3rd grade, which landed Marie the well-deserved title.
When the mass ended, we drove over to the grave site for the final burial. The sun was shining down on us all, and it was obvious that God was there with us for the ceremony.
After the funeral, we went back to the Parish Center for a family lunch. Everyone enjoyed the food, but dessert stole the show. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, blackberry pie, coconut cream pie, carrot cake, and chocolate brownie cake… only the best for our sugar-loving family! We must have inherited the love of sweets from our sweet Grandma.
Although it was a sad few days, the love within our family truly came to life this weekend. Having everyone together showed Marie’s work- she raised a wonderful family with great values, respect for one another, and genuine care for all people.
Rest In Peace, Grandma Marie. We love you and you will always be in our memories.
5 comments on “Our Sweet Grandma”
Leave a Reply Cancel reply