High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, June 9, 2017

Pink Roses - The Last Page of Margaret Schneider's Long, Laudable Life Story

Pink Roses

Kathleen Mae 

"Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is only putting out the lamp
because the dawn has come."
- Rabindranath Tagore

"Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.
A legacy is etched in the minds of others
and the stories they tell about you."
- Shannon L. Alder

Funerals are always something I dread.
However, as sad and exhausted as I was
from my mother's passing, I eagerly
planned details of her service last week,
and actually looked forward to making
the event something that would not only
honor her amazing long life, but imprint
her legacy onto all who attended.

I should have known better! The friends
and family who came brought their own
recounting of the gifts Mother gave so freely
in the 105 years she walked this earth.

I think anyone who attended could truly say
that their memories, added to those gleaned
during the six-year-long blessing my sister and
I were given while caring for her in her home,
made Mother's funeral very special.

These highlights of the day illustrate why
honestly feel it was a celebration of her
life rather than a dark and melancholy
lament over her death.

For the cover of the memorial handouts
we picked this inviting window box scene
because it is reminiscent of Mother's
welcoming and accepting house, a place
where friends and strangers alike would
stop to admire her flower beds and
containers chockablock with
bright blooms.

Because Mother absolutely loved flowers,
and gave away large bouquets from her vast
garden, we placed a large basket of gladiolus
bulbs tied with ribbon in colorful tissue next to
the guest book for visitors to take with them to
plant in their gardens. When the bulbs bloom
this summer, and many summers after this one,
the bright gladioli will serve as a comforting
reminder of Mother's beautiful spirit of love
for everyone, as well as continue the
beauty she brought into our world.

Next to the basket of bulbs was a stack
of printed "Margaret-isms" to take along -
funny and wise things she said to us over
the years. A few examples: - After watching
me put new batteries in her blood pressure
monitor she said, "I need some new batteries
too." - I told Mother she didn't need to cut
out the weather report from the newspaper.
 (She had trouble seeing it.) I told her I can
call it up on my phone, to which she replied,
"Your phone doesn't always work."

There were beautiful bouquets of pink and
red roses, carnations and gerbera daisies
surrounding Mother. She would have been
very touched to know that a lovely basket
of lilies, daisies, roses and ferns was also
sent by her mailman, whose visits she
eagerly awaited every day.

There was an easel holding a photo collage
showing Mother at all stages of her life
and with the family she adored.

Across from it was a table holding mementos
of Mother's interests, hobbies and items
that were meaningful to her, and us.

The large portrait was photographed by
my late son, Christopher. We also included
other framed photos, her daily devotional
and calendar, a doll's dress she designed
and sewed for my sister, and a life cast
I made last year with her, of her hand
holding mine. I think this is the object
I treasure the most.

The service was simple, with brief
eulogies by the officiating minister,
my sister and myself, and Tom, who
sent a heartfelt tribute to Mother's
online obituary. The minister also
read the Margaret-isms to
much laughter.

There were readings from the Bible,
including such favorites of hers as Romans
8:28 ("All things work together for good...")
and 1 Corinthians 13:7 (Appropriately, the
"love" verse). Interspersed were the hymns
she favored and some of which she sang to
me as a child: "The Old Rugged Cross" and
"In the Garden", among others.

The prayers used were the three that my
sister and I said with Mother every night at
bedtime - the 23rd Psalm, the Lord's Prayer,
 and the blessing from Numbers 6:24 -
"The Lord bless thee and keep thee...".
She would always say to us, "Amen.
Thank you for everything" before
she went to sleep.

At the end of the service, three of Mother's
grandchildren led the guests in an a cappella
version of "Amazing Grace". Always a favorite
of Mother's, she enjoyed it even more when
I told her that it was written by a
former slave ship captain.

Hearing the voices of all those people who
knew and loved Mother, singing in unison
without instrumental accompaniment,
was incredibly moving and a perfect
way to end the service. It seemed like
Mother speaking to us from the other
side when the minister closed by
saying, "Go in peace. Be kind
to one another."

I watched as the guests filed out of
the funeral, and again as I met with
many of them at a luncheon we provided
in a nearby café. How different we all are,
but how unified by the love she showed us
and the ways she touched each of our lives.

To some she was the neighbor they could
always count on, to others she was their
last aunt. Others, like her mailman, counted
themselves fortunate to have her as a friend
and, to one of her doctors, she was his oldest
patient. For us, she was just our beloved
mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and
great-grandmother - the center of our family.

Back home the day after the funeral,
this huge bouquet of pink roses appeared
from Tom. He knew that they were Mother's
favorite flowers and they brought
such comfort to me!

When we returned to Mother's now quiet
house, a kind of shrine formed from items
from the funeral and others in her home.
In her dining room, the decorations and
cards from Mother's Day that she asked us
to keep on display were now ironically
side by side with other mementos of her
life and items from her funeral.

In the center is the mailman's basket of flowers.

Here's a shadowbox I made about
Mother's courtship and marriage.

Last year, Mother and I took flowers to my
father's grave and, as she looked across from
it she said, "I'll be here soon with Ralph.
Isn't this just so peaceful?!" I took this
picture yesterday and she was right.

Here is the card that came with the
mailman's basket of flowers.

I think it says it all!

Margaret Elizabeth Schneider


  1. Kathleen, this is a wonderful tribute to your dear mother and I am grateful to you for putting it together while you are under the weather and still in mourning.

    I am sure you know how deeply I feel the loss of your mother and how much of your pain I share. The friendship that grew between Margaret and me over the last few years was one of the greatest of my life. It went beyond that. I loved Mother as if she was my own. I am a better person for having known her.

    I salute Margaret Schneider. I have never known a finer person. Margaret was one of the last survivors of an age of innocence that time and technology have long since passed by. Margaret was transparent, and what I saw in her, what everyone who knew her saw, was a good and decent soul, generous and compassionate. Unconditional love flowed like a river from Margaret's kind heart. Margaret's life was characterized by decades of hard work and sacrifice, devotion to family, a willingness to rise above petty conflicts, to persevere through hardship and an uncanny ability to bounce back from illness, injury and tragedy. We might think that Margaret was lucky to have lived more than 105 years, but we were the lucky ones, we the people who knew her, the people who were influenced by her and learned valuable life lessons from her.

    I will miss my dear friend Margaret, and the pain of losing her will surely linger, but I will remember, love and honor Margaret for the rest of my life including here on Shady Dell Music & Memories, and I will do my best to follow the shining example she set.

    God bless you and be with you, Margaret, and thank you once again, dear friend Kathleen, for taking time to write this amazing tribute to your mother.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 9, 2017 at 2:33 PM

      Tom, since I was with her so much, I saw how the last years of Mother's life were so enriched by your caring ways and love for her!

      What began as a chance encounter on the internet as I looked for information about her childhood home, grew into a very genuine relationship with her. We always talk about the "magic" of the Dell, but with you and Mother, there was a very special alignment of coincidences that brought you under one another's influence.

      She had the stories from the Shady Dell, and you had the technological skills and patience with the go-between (me!) to make them available to the world. What a partnership!

      You continued to honor her with your heartfelt eulogy after she was gone, sent a beautiful letter and card, and her favorite flowers to me to help bind up my wounds at losing her. She'd give you an 'A+' for that!

      We were and are willing 'pupils' of Mother's life, aren't we? What mattered to her has now become her legacy for us to continue. Her goodness is now part of us and our lives will bear witness to how well we've learned her lessons.

      My heart is quite simply full of gratitude for whatever it was that happened between you and Mother these past few years, for reasons we may never fully know this side of heaven's line.

      Thank you so much for giving her (and me!) so many reasons to be happy. Bless you!

  2. Wow. I have no words. So many wonderful things put together for your mother. For someone who obviously put a lot of herself into others. Giving out the bulbs was a nice touch. Now she will bloom everywhere.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 11, 2017 at 9:23 PM

      Hello, Alex,
      Mother was a giver, that is sure, so the bulbs were an extension of both her love of flowers and always wanting to say goodbye to visitors to her house with something from her garden. Hopefully the bulbs will bloom in a few weeks and remind those who planted them of her kindness.
      Thank you for your comment, Alex.

  3. Have no words, friend Shady ... but one thing I know of very well is and wish to share is: If we put up a shrine for our dead loved ones, it will make your soul hurt again and again for a very long time ... and maybe even prevent their soul from coming to rest ... After Jenny died, I absolutely did not want to let go ... thus she came to me in dreams for the following 7 months, which helped me will to go one living ... then one night she said that she couldn't come back anymore ... Ya ... Don't know what else to say, friend ... Wishing you peace, friend Shady, okay? Love, cat.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 12, 2017 at 3:44 AM

      I appreciate your advice about shrines, Cat. In many cultures and religions, shrines are part and parcel of their worship rituals, as we witnessed in Japan in temples and in a family home where fruit and sweets were placed on the shrine daily for the departed ancestors and more recently deceased loved ones.

      I also am familiar, since my son's death 11 years ago, the importance of "letting them go" and not getting stuck in those early stages of grief. Mother certainly would not want that for us - or her.

      However, the assortment of items that ended up on Mother's dining room table wasn't deliberately designed or planned. It just happened. My niece and her mother went to the funeral home and picked up the things that were displayed on the table that can be seen in the photo above, and they unpacked everything. My niece said she couldn't just dump them in a heap, and felt compelled to arrange them neatly.

      As we began cleaning out Mother's house to prepare for its sale, other items ended up there, (like her well-worn Bible mended with duck tape!), and it gives us pause as we remember her through them. They are gradually dispersing as we decide who will keep each thing.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading our tribute to my mother and commenting.

  4. Kathryn AndersonJune 9, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    Dear Kathleen, I was out the door by the time Tom notified me that you had the post ready and running sooner than expected. I am writing this comment on my lunch break.

    This is a wonderful tribute— just beautiful— and so well written. In this special post you shared new information and stories about your mother that allow us to know her better than we ever did before— and to grasp how much she meant to you and your family and all those whose lives she touched.

    Margaret Schneider will surely be missed— but I am sure that you and Tom will keep memories of her alive here on the blog. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 12, 2017 at 5:09 AM

      Thank you for writing a comment on your lunch break. You must be really good at multi-tasking!

      Your compliments on the post are gratifying, Kathryn. I sometimes have a difficult time deciding just what details about Mother should be shared, because I'm not sure others will be interested. So I'm glad, as Mother certainly would be, that you didn't find my writing about her funeral too myopic.

      I do intend to keep Mother's memories alive here on SDM&M whenever Tom thinks it's appropriate, and also in the way I live my life. I will depend, as she did, on prayers. I'm doing my level best to trust in my own - and the ones you kindly offered - to get me through this huge sadness and change, and in discerning the very best ways to honor her.

      Thank you so much!

  5. What a beautiful celebration of life! I especially like the idea of giving away the flower bulbs.

    May you treasure and be comforted by all your lovely memories and thanks to Shady for sharing this with us.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 13, 2017 at 6:27 AM

      Hi, Kelly. It was hard finding flower bulbs that can still be planted in this climate zone to bloom by summer. The ones to be planted to bloom in fall haven't arrived in garden stores yet. So I was glad we could find some lovely gladioli bulbs to give to Mother's family members and friends that will remind them of her and add beauty to their gardens.

      I'm thankful that I do have many good memories of my wonderful mother to carry in my heart.

      Thank you for your comment.

  6. I'm in tears, what a beautiful tribute and such a beautiful celebration of life! Like Kelly, I also like the idea of giving away the flower bulbs.

    May you be comforted by all of your wonderful memories of your mother. I love the life cast you made last year. I wish I did that with my grandmother.

    And thank you, Shady, for sharing Margaret with us.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 13, 2017 at 8:06 PM

      The hand cast happened in spite of difficulties making it. No - actually it was successful because of the difficulties!

      I originally wanted a cast of just one of Mother's beautiful hands and found the materials to do it in a crafts store. The first and second tries, which involved plunging her hand into a liquid mold-making material that sets up very fast, were not successful. Mother separated her fingers accidentally both times and the movement resulted in an object that wasn't viable.

      So I told her for the next try I would put my hand into the mixture with her. She should just focus on holding my hand so I could keep it steady and immobile while the material set up. Then she would know from our practice cast what to do on the "real" one.

      Well, we never got to make another cast, but I think this one is very representative of our close bonds as mother and daughter. In our shared 70+ years she held onto me and I to her!

      So this was one "mistake" that ended up better than the original plan. Without trying, I have a symbolic treasure that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

      I'm glad you like it too, Jessica Marie, that you spent some time reading the post and kindly commented.

      It's good to feel the caring of others at such a sad time as this. I am grateful!

  7. Dear Kathleen, I am so sorry for your loss, and, touched by the wonderful tribute you gave of your mother. The arrangements you and your family made, not only honor your mother, but, offer wonderful memories of love and beauty to family and friends who attended!

    I have enjoyed your writings, Kathleen, and I am grateful that you and your mother were able to share the best moments of life with our dear friend, Shady. God bless you, Kathleen and Margaret!

    Thank you, dear friend Shady.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 13, 2017 at 8:22 PM

      Thank you for your condolences, Suzanne, and the compliment about my writing. I appreciate both very much.

      I was up all night the night before Mother's funeral making sure the things I felt were important would be included in the service. There was very little time to plan but I think Mother would have been pleased.

      I just replied to Jessica Marie (above) explaining how the hand cast came to be. Although it is intensely personal, I'm happy that I shared it on the blog and that it is something others can enjoy too.

      Generally, I write what's in my heart, and like the hand cast, it's gratifying to me that it strikes a common chord with you. Thank you for reading the post and responding to its message of love.

    2. Dear Kathleen, I am grateful that you shared the life cast of your hand and your mother's on Shady's blog. It is the most wonderful and beautiful mistake, isn't it! I don't believe anything was left out of the celebration of your mother's life that day, and I salute you for the love and devotion that guides you.

      In the days to come, I am sure you will experience so many emotions and feelings of loss. And, even though the hurt remains, the happy memories will rush in like a flood to turn sadness into joy. This is how you know, your mother is okay, and she is still there for you. Take care, Kathleen. I am sending prayers for peace and rest...and hugs!

    3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 16, 2017 at 1:31 PM

      Hi again, Suzanne. Thank you for your return visit and comment.

      When visitors came into Mother's house and asked her the standard "How are you?", she invariably replied, "I'm STILL here." (Said with a kind of "Would-you-believe-it? tone). At other times, privately, she said (with a different emphasis,) "I'm still HERE!", nearly stomping her foot in frustration that God had not yet come for her.

      The pain I feel now is already somewhat mitigated by many of the happy memories you mention. I spent so much time with Mother the last six years and knew her so well that I perhaps have more closure with her death than most.

      We were together when I took my first breath, and 70 plus years later when she took her last one. That's a long, beautiful history that I shall always treasure. In a figurative sense our hands were always intertwined, like the cast.

      Right now though, other memories can still hurt because I know there will be no more new ones made in which I can delight. I mourn Mother's death because I'm grieving for myself - I will no longer have her physically in my life. I helped her as much as I could. I protected her fiercely, bathed her gently, supported her as she walked and fed her a spoonful at a time, when she could no longer do those things on her own. Most importantly, I told her several times daily that I loved her, and she did the same - the one thing she never lost her ability to do! So the gap I sense is wide and deep.

      It is an increasingly familiar feeling as I grow older, having lost my father, my son, myriad friends and family members, and a long list of pets. I feel like a walking embodiment of the Gullah phrase "I been in sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots."

      However, I learned from watching Mother over the years handle the deaths of those close to her, and her words and actions ring true now. She always said two things about her loved ones who died: "They are at peace.", and "I don't wish any of them back." She felt that those of us left behind were the ones bearing the heavy loads of life's problems, not the departed because "They are with God now in a beautiful place."

      That was a sufficient philosophy and fuel for her to keep going, continuing to do good things, always loving and forgiving with no bitterness and self-pity about her losses. She waited patiently until it was her turn to be taken "home".

      Once when I asked her how she kept from crying all these years since my father died, she kept peeling a carrot she was preparing for canning and said simply, "I mow the lawn." Tough, tough woman, my mother!

      Mother and I made a kind of pact several years ago, and it's comforting me now. We agreed that whomever died first would make a concerted effort (if possible - we didn't know how!) to let the remaining one know we are okay and in good hands.

      Well, I've had a number of "coincidences" since May 26th that I choose to believe is proof that Mother is keeping up her end of the bargain. They are small things that others would neither see nor understand - a paragraph that jumps out at me from her devotional, something exquisitely PINK, a bluebird mama feeding her young in the back yard - or more often than not, an opportunity presenting itself to show kindness to a stranger or make them smile.

      When that happens, and admittedly I am on high alert for these "events", I hear her in my mind once again, saying, "I'm STILL here!!"

      Thank you again, Suzanne, for your caring words, prayers and hugs. Who knows? It would be just like Mother to use you to comfort me too if she could!!

  8. Dear Kathleen, I also want to say how beautiful the life cast of your hand and your mother's is. It is truly a lifetime memory.

  9. Dear Kathleen, I also want to say how beautiful the life cast of your hand and your mother's is. It is truly a lifetime memory.

  10. Wow, the tears are really flowing over here! Kathleen, what an absolutely beautiful tribute to your dear sweet Mother. I have loved getting to know Margaret through Tom's blog and I'm just sorry that I couldn't have known her in real life. I know we would've been amazing friends. She indeed touched oh so many lives. What a legacy!

    Everything that you put together was beyond wonderful. The flowers, the momentoes, the keepsakes, the bulbs, the "Margaret-isms"... and all the love that was being shared to honor an obviously incredible woman -- Oh, your Mom was so very alive with you all in that celebration of her life!

    May you always feel her spirit around you, her loving touch caressing your face and her heart beating in yours. She was a true blessing to you all.

    I LOVE the life-cast that you had made of the two of you holding hands. I have never seen anything so touching. My Mom is moving down here within the next month or so and I'm definitely going to see about having that done for us. What a treasure.

    Tom and Kathleen, Thank you for sharing Margaret with us. She has definitely touched my heart. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 13, 2017 at 9:07 PM

      Michele, I am very moved by what you wrote, and my tears flowed too!

      I also wish you could have met Mother in real life. She was unassuming and humble - very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of woman whose authenticity and love for everyone shone brightly to all who met her. She even managed to have one of her doctors cry when she answered his questions on her longevity. That last one on her list about forgiveness got to just about everybody!

      It's an old saying that love never dies, and I'm getting more experience to prove it as I get older! I definitely feel Mother's spirit with me, and her humor keeps things from getting too dark. As the youngest of her three children, I was very aware that Mother clung the tightest to the last one 'out of the nest' when I left home and went off to school. However, she told my sister Betty several years ago, "When I die, make sure you take care of Kathy. She's going to be a real mess!"

      Now that's not much of a vote of confidence I realize, but at the same time, I'm comforted by her plain speaking humor. She knew me better than anyone else on earth,and could make me laugh without even trying.

      I was holding her hand and talking to her at the moment she breathed her last. That was such a sacred time! Now I consider it an honor and a privilege to carry the best of my Mother into the future. She will always be part of who I am, genetically and otherwise.

      Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. The more the better, because I have tough sailing ahead for a few weeks as we clean out her house and put it up for sale. I'm so sentimental!

      Your comment is wonderful, Michele. Thank you so much!

    2. Oh Kathleen, you've made me cry again! :)
      I can truly feel the depth of your loss. I'm incredibly close to my Mom too and when the time comes that she leaves, I'm going to be more than devastated. I guess we just have to hold on tight to all those times that we shared and to all that unconditional love that only a mother a can deliver.

      What a blessing that you were holding her hand at the moment that she passed: the hand cast is even more meaningful now I'm sure.

      As much as you have been blessed to have such an incredible mother, she was indeed blessed to have you, an incredible daughter.

      Blessings to you always. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I'll look forward to hopefully more conversations with you here at Tom's magical gathering of friends.

    3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 15, 2017 at 4:42 PM

      Well, Michele, I don't know if we are capable of it, but perhaps we can find another way in the future to communicate without making each other cry! :)

      I really appreciate your validation of me as a daughter. Some folks close to our family thought I did too much and should have just sent my mama to a facility, especially when my own health was at stake.

      However, I think the good Lord in His infinitely perfect timing took her at just the right time, before my sister and I fell apart. We are sad at her death, but just so glad we were given the strength to keep her in her home until the end.

      You know, when I sat holding Mother's hands after she had fallen into a coma, I looked at her nails and remembered her delight just a few days earlier when I painted her favorite pale pink polish on them for the last time. I thought of all the things those wonderful hands did over the course of her long life. They washed and fed us as babies, planted flowers and harvested vegetables and fruit. They sewed doll clothes for me. They put a cool cloth on my forehead when I was feverish from measles. They cooked meals, canned produce, wrote letters, and addressed birthday and anniversary cards to loved ones. She never forgot those special days.

      Her hands did remarkably simple and loving things I'll never forget, such as spread peanut butter on crackers, put them in a little can and mail them to me for a snack when I was studying for finals in college!

      The amazing thing is that Mother's hands never shook, as is common with the very old. They remained steady and productive up until the day before she passed away. On that morning she was disappointed that the nurse told her she must stay in bed. She said, "I need to get up because I have so much to do!"

      I hope many blessings fill your life too Michele, as you spend time with your mother. I advise you to keep your camera handy and record even commonplace things. The unposed pictures and videos I took of Mother are the most comforting to me now.

      One video was recorded on my birthday, when she expressed sadness at not having a present for me. I told her she could give me a wonderful gift if she just told me something about the day 70 years ago when I was born. She smiled and without hesitation said, "A beautiful baby girl." It is the best present I've ever gotten!

      I also look forward to future conversations with you here on the blog. This is a special place to be sure - it brings people like us together! Thank you for returning to "talk" and for your prayers!

  11. This is truly beautiful and so very, very touching. She really has been a success because of ll the love that she has shown because I see the love that has been returned to her. An amazing woman and an amazing life. I love the shadow box that you made and all the pictures showcasing what a truly wonderful life she had. She is still with you even if you can't touch her and if you have had dreams about her, I believe this is her way of visiting you and telling you she is aok. She is with her husband whom she obviously adored and that cemetery is perfect...reminds me of the one my dad is in. Many blessing to you and all who loved her.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 15, 2017 at 12:27 PM

      You are right, Birgit. Mother's success in life certainly can't be measured in the ways that many people would define success.

      Mother didn't achieve any special honorary degrees. (She didn't even get past 5th grade in school!) She never had a lot of money or went on a cruise. She didn't live in a prestigious neighborhood or have a big, fancy house. She didn't own a computer or cell phone.

      What she did have was her husband for 45 years who loved her and was her partner for life. She had the sun and rain that nourished her garden enough to grow vegetables to feed her family and to give away to others, and the house my father built for her where she raised a family and where she lived for the rest of her life.

      What she did accomplish in her century plus five years was a family that loved her, friends that held her in great esteem and affection, and a legacy of love that goes on after her death. She had NO enemies!

      Her only "fame" came from her longevity (that surprised her as much as the rest of us!) in articles in the newspaper. Most surprising to her was her appearance here and the honor she gathered from this blog, where Tom made sure the world knew about her and where she made many friends who never met her in person.

      She planted seeds of kindness and authenticity that she certainly saw come to fruition in her lifetime, but will continue to grow in ways she won't see. So in her own gentle and humble way she achieved a kind of immortality that the rest of us can only strive to emulate.

      I see her signs everywhere, even when I am fully awake, and I know she is now in God's loving arms and at peace. As she taught me, He is with her, and with us now, as ever He has been.

      It was good to read your thoughtful and kind comment, Birgit. Thank you!

  12. So beautiful and fitting for a wonderful woman who was so loved by all, even me who never met her. What a touching and also uplifting post. Hugs to you and your family. This truly brought tears to my eyes.

    1. Karhleen Mae SchneiderJune 15, 2017 at 12:42 PM

      Writing this post, I tried to not make it too sad, but since it described a funeral, it was hard to not write some tear-producing words. I am glad you found it uplifting and meaningful in spite of that.

      Ironically, since Mother's death there is in me a heightened awareness of life. I so appreciate those hugs you gave to me and my family. They are part of a vitality and closeness I feel to others who knew about Mother's life, and are an important part of my healing. Thank you for reading (and tearing up!) Yaya. It shows you have a good heart. We need more of that in our world.

  13. How true it is that people are with us in our hearts and in our minds as long as we want them to be. I'm sure Margaret will be with you and others throughout their lives.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 15, 2017 at 12:48 PM

      For those of us who knew and loved her, it is impossible to not have Mother in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives, because she had a wonderful way of affecting others in so
      many ways.

      Thank you for honoring her with your comment.

  14. As sad as the occasion is, I truly genuinely enjoyed reading about all the sweet details and the love behind the funeral. I have marveled and enjoyed the birthday posts that Shady ( Tom) would post for her. Kathleen, you are a wonderful writer. I felt the compassion and love in your words. I consider myself blessed to know of Margaret and I send my sincerest condolences on the loss of your mother Kathleen and your dear friend to Shady. Big hugs!!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 15, 2017 at 1:20 PM

      It is encouraging to hear you enjoy my writing, Holli. I hope to return to doing more of it when the aftermath of Mother's death subsides. I consider these last six years spent taking care of Mother to be an incomparable blessing. However, as she grew more frail and required more time-and energy-intensive help, writing became very difficult. At 70, I had to prioritize to survive.

      Thank you as well for your kind expression of sympathy to me and Tom. Though miles away from York, he was close to his "second mother". He has a tender heart that feels the sting of her death acutely, and is grieving too.

      Mother would tell us both not to "dwell" on her passing, but the depth of our sadness is proportional to our love for her. Slowly we will incorporate this mourning into our lives and wrap ourselves in memories that eventually comfort. Keeping her story alive here on the blog will be instrumental to our healing. It will just take time and "big hugs" from friends like you.

      Thank you, Holli!

  15. Dude, I saw your loss over at Holli's. Please accept my sincere condolences. We have all lost far too much lately.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 15, 2017 at 2:11 PM

      Thank you for your comment, Chris. I do accept and appreciate your condolences, as I'm sure Tom does as well. We both are glad we could work together to share Mother's story with readers like you, and now that she is gone, we are equally glad for your kind note of sympathy.

      I agree that "we have lost far too much lately" in our human family. Mother would say that we should then do whatever we can to prop each other up, and 'circle the wagons' against the hatred and unkindness in our world. She lived every one of her 105 years that way - a friend to all, forgiving those who had wronged her, and treating everyone with kindness. She told me she shortly before she died that she had no regrets about her life. Would that we all could say the same when we come to the end of our own journeys!

  16. Kathleen, how beautiful! I'm so grateful for Tom's using his blog platform to introduce your mother. You'll never know how much she touched my heart and the joy in knowing that she was not only loved deeply but cared for equally so. I know how heavy your heart is and all those who knew Margaret best but it sounds like you're handling things well in celebrating her life. That's a wonderful way to cope with your loss and it keeps your mother's presence alive. You, your family, and extended family are in my prayers. May God bless!

  17. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJune 15, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    I appreciate your kind comment, Cathy. I join you in gratitude for Shady Dell Music and Memories as a vehicle to tell Mother's story. She was always glad when she could do something good for others, and if her story brightened a life, it had the same effect on hers. Tom has been wonderful devoting so many posts to her. It was one of the best ways to make her feel valued and loved.

    After defining myself as one of her primary caregivers for six years, I'm a little foggy as to where I go from here, and my heart is definitely heavy right now. I do know that in whatever direction I choose to go, I will carry her lessons with me as a beacon to show the way.

    Thank you for your prayers too, Cathy. I know they definitely help!


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