Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Good Bye Celebration

Yesterday was Minerva Drury's memorial service at church. Minerva was a wonderfully sweet, funny lady who was part of our congregation. She passed away on May 1st while in rehab after falling and breaking a couple of ribs. She was 94 years old. Her son Skip was her faithful caregiver for the last twelve years; he retired early to move in and take care of his mother after his father's death. Minerva was a fixture at church, always sitting in the same spot during worship in her wheelchair. She faithfully attended Crafters, and she and Skip always took a regular weekly shift during Pumpkin Patch. In the last four years Minerva had been in rehab five times for different things and Mommy always had the pleasure of visiting with her and her son; great conversations, lots of fun! Last month, Minerva was thrilled to get to hold Wesley on her lap after church for a while; she couldn't remember the last time she'd held someone so little!

The service started off pretty normal. We had the cremains up front on the altar and a table of pictures, plus some samples of Minerva's handwork (quilts and afghans) draped over the altar rail. We sang some of Minerva's favorite hymns (Old Rugged Cross, Amazing Grace) and one of Skip's favorite hymns (Morning Has Broken). We read Psalm 23, John 14:1-3 (in my Father's house are many rooms) and II Tim. 4:6-8 (I have fought the good fight and finished the race). But it was unusual in that the prelude music was Elvis singing gospel on cd and that Skip sat up front with Mommy. He is the last surviving member of his family and didn't want to sit in some "family" pew by himself. And then Skip gave a eulogy - which went on for over half an hour and ended up being more like a roast as he had people raise their hands who'd helped him with mom and then told stories on them (rehab nurses, waitresses at their favorite restaurants, church people, neighbors and others). He also shared two favorite memories of his Minerva, one about Elvis music which also included an audience participation segment - you just had to be there!

Here's Wesley hanging out with his "girlfriend" Emma Reveron on the pew after the memorial service. She's four months older than Wesley and he's only able to sit up here because he's got one hand wrapped around the strap of her dress.

Getting out of our parking lot at church isn't easy (blind spot on a curve) especially with 200 people leaving at 5pm. So Skip hired 2 deputies to direct traffic and after the 75 minute funeral, everyone was invited for dinner at Sam's On the Beach, this outdoor deck restaurant right on Hudson Beach along the Gulf. It was Skip's treat and 119 people showed up from the funeral. It was great food and great fun together. Skip brought his mom's ashes, riding in on her wheelchair with her laprobe, softball team shirt and famous yellow hat. The memorial officially closed out with a champagne toast around sunset (8pm) next to the water.

Here's the boys hanging out watching the mullet jump close to shore.

We had sat with the Reverons for dinner and afterwards the two families hung out talking while Aydenn and Parker played in the sand and inside this cool playground boat they have next to the water. We didn't leave the beach until 9:15. Then it was off to Wal-Mart to grab some formula and a few other things - who did we run into? The Reverons again! Because that's the errand every family of four has to do on the way home - a last minute Wal-Mart run.....

And these were taken by Parker of him and Wesley with Mommy's cellphone:

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