Saturday, January 20, 2018


Next Saturday is the memorial party for my mother in law. We got this invitation from her husband via email:

You are invited to a party to celebrate the life of Edythe Smith Yates
at 4:00 pm on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at my house , (street address)
Raleigh, NC 27609.  Edythe requested a family only memorial party rather
than the usual memorial church service.

I am trying to invite all family members who knew Edythe, including
aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, children of cousins, our children and
grandchildren.  Spouses or special friends are also invited. This email
will go to those in my address book. Others will be contacted by phone.

I hope you will be inspired to share your stories and good feelings
about Edythe.  (Consider this an opportunity not a requirement.)  I will
try to get participation started by asking for your earliest memories of
Edythe.  I hope that Gailya (Edythe's sister) will tell about Edythe's early school years
and that Harold (Edythe's brother) will tell about her horsewomanship (or was it

Casual dress will be appropriate.  A finger food, paper plate on the
knees dinner will be provided.

Please reply with a yes, no, or maybe and how many by Saturday, January
20 if possible so that I will order enough food.

Phone or email if you have questions or suggestions.

Looking forward to seeing you all.

Louis Yates

When plans for the party were being discussed Lou suggested we drive up the day before to go through some of Edythe's things that we might want to keep. He's been sending out detailed lists of furniture, jewelry, keepsakes, etc to us and to my brother and sister in law. Gregg can't bear to even discuss going through her things. His sister (who lives in Raleigh) has been helping to sort through the stuff, including family pictures, so I plan to suggest that she puts aside anything she thinks we might want and we'll trust her judgement. Aside from a few small things and pictures, there's nothing in particular we feel very strongly about, certainly not strongly enough about to squabble over with the rest of the family. The very idea is distasteful to us both.

Edythe did give me a lovely keepsake and family heirloom several years ago when Gregg had just finished chemotherapy--the wedding ring his father had given her when they married. (Gregg's dad passed away years and years ago). She said she wanted me to have it after I took such good care of her son while he was sick. She also gave me some tiny rubies that had come from a pin his dad got as a retirement gift from the company he worked for (rubies were his birthstone) and a couple of small diamonds from jewelry he had given her. Gregg has suggested we take it all to a jeweler next summer and have something made for me with it all for our next wedding anniversary. I think that's such a sweet idea! I'm glad Edythe gave me those things long before she died. I wouldn't feel comfortable asking for them now, and honestly, it wouldn't even occur to me to ask. I loved her very much, we were great friends, but I would never presume to demand any special family heirlooms. She was wise to give us the things she particularly wanted us to have before she died. 

So we won't be going up to Raleigh the night before the party to go through her things. Instead, we're going up a couple of hours before and taking whatever things Gregg's sister has put aside for us. Then after the party, we'll either drive straight home or get a hotel room for night. We would be welcome to spend the night at Lou's house, and there's plenty of room, but now that Edythe is gone being there feels weird and sad.  We'll probably just come on home.


  1. A woman well love and it sounds like deservedly so. I hope and pray that this is how I go out, with the only bad feelings are of loss. Hugs to you and yours

  2. When someone leaves us, it's so very strange, isn't it, to think that their "things" are still here?
    I, too, am glad that she left you such sweet gifts before she died. That puts a true love into it and a true meaning.
    I hope the memorial is a joyful occasion, or as close as can be. I have been thinking about a similar situation we had here ten years ago when a friend died. It poured down rain, cold and nasty, and yet- so very many people showed up from so far away. I will never forget that. It was perfect in a way. Sadness and joy. Darkness and light. Cold and warmth. All of it together, like life and death.

  3. I think that's a great idea -- to make something from the jewels that Edythe gave you earlier. I found when my dad died that it felt important to stay with family for a while, for all of us to help the others adjust to his absence.

  4. I think it will be such a happy day, among people who loved Edythe. Follow your heart.

  5. That is a very special way to remember a loved one,a beautiful way.

  6. Lou's farewell plan is a good one. I hope there are many happy anecdotes surrounding Edythe's life and the memories she has left behind.

  7. I'm glad she gave you those mementos. She must have loved you a lot. I like the idea of giving things away before one dies. It makes the gifts more meaningful and significant.

  8. I got tears in my eyes when I read what she gave you and the reason behind them. Lovely.
    I hope you can find a few photos.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

  9. When my mom died we had people stand up and share but for people who were a little shy we we had index cards for them to write their memories for us to read later. It is so cool to read things about my mom that I never knew.
    I know you don’t think you deserved her jewelry but I think you did. You were obviously loved very much.

  10. Sadly this reminds me of when my dear mother died. The Vultures were out in force, grabbing everything they could in front of my eyes, and being totally disrespectful. It was a very revealing day, which I shall never forget.

  11. It sounds like it will be a loving tribute. I’m with you about staying out of the fray. My cousins have been circling my aunt’s apartment for years. Like vultures. No one dropped in for a visit until she died last month. They just circled. We saw her and talked to her when she was alive and are now staying away.