Monday, April 20, 2009

It Was A Beautiful Spring Day

Merrilee's nana was laid to rest on Friday, April 19, 2009.

It was a beautiful spring day. So many people came to visit and support the family. Nana had many wonderful flowers and plants. Rev. Mark Waddell from Catonsville United Methodist Church officiated and did a terrific job.

Merrilee's daddy wrote a eulogy for his mom. Merrilee wanted to share it with you:

Mom was a simple woman.

The things she valued and loved the most could have been in a Norman Rockwell painting.

She loved the many nights spent with family and friends playing penny poker.

She was more comfortable picking steamed crabs or eating a shrimp salad sandwich than sitting at a table covered with a white tablecloth.

She valued the friendliness of her neighbors and enjoyed chatting with them over the fence.

She loved a beautiful spring day like this one, and she always looked forward to the fall and the changing colors of the leaves. She loved to go out for day trips and rides in the car. As she so often said to us “I could just ride, ride, ride, ride, ride….”

Mealtime was family time for the Millers and until the last few years she loved to cook and have the family together, especially for the holidays.

She was proud that before she became a wife and mother, she was a civilian employee of the Army. She often told us about taking depositions from former U.S. POW’s following World War II. She especially talked of the tales of those who had survived the Bataan death march and the atrocities committed against them. She had great empathy for them and she felt their pain as they told their stories in preparation for possible war crime trials. She was proud of all of those who served in the military, including her brothers, and Glenn, and Beth.

She taught us to adore our grandfather Lowman, who worked as a policeman and retired from the Baltimore City Police Department. During the tough economic years of the depression, many members of the extended family lived with mom’s family when she was growing up, since her father had a government job and steady paycheck. We were raised to believe that families take care of each other. That it was the family’s responsibility – not the government’s – to care for each other.

Mom’s family was a combination of two families – the Lowmans and the Keysers. But we never looked at it that way. There was no such thing as “half-brother” or “half-sister.” We were just family, and we are just family, and that is the way we like it.

But we think her life really began when she met her husband, and our father, Bill. Bill was everything to her. She was especially lucky that Bill’s younger brother married her younger sister. And, they lived next door to each other for many years. In fact, at one point, there were four brothers and sisters living within one block of each other.

After Bill came her boys, Glenn (yes, named after the band leader) and myself, Mark (named after the apostle.) Even after we had grown to adulthood and become parents ourselves, she still called us “my Glenn” and “my Mark.”

Douglas and Heather were the first grandchildren, and Alma was convinced for a long, long time they were going to be her only grandchildren. It is no secret that she was not a big supporter of our decision to adopt a child from China. We think it was generational. It wasn’t just that we were adopting – it was that we were adopting from a foreign country, and China no less. But the first moment she saw Merrilee, she became Merrilee’s biggest fan. There was never a conversation afterward that didn’t include her asking “How’s stink pot?” or “How’s squirt.” The last time Merrilee saw her Nana, she helped her grandmother fold clothes, and then she played with her grandmother’s flashlight, That was her favorite toy, and her grandmother didn’t seem to mind at all – as long as were kept her supplied with batteries.

But Jordan was the true light of her life. He was the only great-grandchild she would ever know. Despite the many challenges Jordan faced as a little boy, he was always a loving and compassionate child…and they shared a special bond. They shared a love for Bob Barker and “The Price is Right,” and for “The Golden Girls.” She looked forward to his phone calls, she enjoyed his visits, and she even cherished his mischievous side. And even when Jordan wanted to hear “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” for the thousandth time, she still looked forward to 1,001.

Mom loved to dance and loved music that spanned decades. From Glenn Miller and “Moonlight Serenade” to Patsy Cline singing “Sweet Dreams,” to any song by Elvis, she just fully enjoyed anything with a good melody, and meaningful lyrics. We never got tired of hearing the stories about her riding streetcars, going to dances with girlfriends, and even Uncle Ollie barging into the drug store with a gun to chase away a suspicious man who was following her.
One of the things we will miss the most is that verbal history of the Lowmans, the Keysers, and the Millers.

When dad died 22 years ago, a piece of mom died with him. She was never quite the same. They truly loved each other. She never had any interest in anyone else – ever. While she went through the motions of living, we all knew how much she missed him, even up until the stroke that took her life. If there is any comfort in mom’s passing, it’s that we know they are, at this very moment, together again, and together forever.

From this day forward, we will we remember so much more about mom. Her generosity, her kindness, her love, and yes, even her stubbornness. There are many parts of her in all of us. Now, she will expect us to depend on each other, and to take care of each other. And by doing that, we will be giving her the greatest gift.

One day Merrilee will ask about her grandmother, and we know Jordan will tell her how kind and loving she was. And we will do the same with Merrilee. And that’s why Alma’s love for family will continue for many more generations, and years to come.

She would want to thank you all for being here today. And, she would want to thank you for being a part of her life, and for making her life so rich, and so full, for 84 wonderful years.


marty metten said...

So sorry to hear about Merrilee's nana.We will keep your family in our prayers.Thanks for sharing Merrilee's pics. I love looking at her and Kassidy's pics. It is almost as good as being there.

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing for what your mother stood for and helping us remember the best of what families are. And sounds like it was a late lesson in life, but one of the best, when she realized that Merrilee was family too.

Comfort to you all.

Karen, Dave and Olivia