Monday, July 23, 2007

A Celebration of Life

Words and even pictures cannot capture the beauty and blessing of this last weekend. Friday night friends, family, loved ones, students, gathered to remember and celebrate Lynne. Rather than call it a wake( which Lynne would have hated) I chose to call it greet and eat. I greeted and received so many hugs from folks that my arms are still tired but my heart is still full.

Lynne's celebration service was indeed a celebration. Through singing, reading poems, sharing, laughing, and crying Lynne's life was remembered and celebrated, her death was also sadly mourned. Below are pictures from both events that is a small way capture the wonder of the time.

Our friend July Medeiros created an amazing visual tribute to Lynne. Photos were contributed by good friend Kim Ramsdale.
Even the corners held images of Lynne's life. Here she is with the kids.
Our dear friend Maria looks at the photos of the first 40 years of Lynne's life.

Lynne's mom Eunice read the 23 Psalm and many joined along with her.

Lucy and friends Emily and Eli sing along.
The choir lifted their voices to "You Raise Me up"!!!
Lucy opened the service with one of Lynne's favorite poems by e.e.cummings.
Rob and Jessie played along with a singing a long of some of Lynne's favorite gospel songs.

Even I got in the mix singing "Draw Me Close"

Nathaniel found a smile (so did Lucy in the background). Many of their friends came, ran around with them outside, ate cookies with them, and a few even brought them special stuffed animals to help their sad heart.

After about an hour of the service Nathaniel climbed on my lap and asked if it was going to be over soon!
Over 600 strong gathered over the two days to celebrate and remember. Thanks to all of them, thanks to all of you!!!

Now what???

Much love, Patty

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Boston Globe Article

Hello Friends. So much to say, so little time. Life has been a blur these last few days grieving Lynne's death and preparing to celebrate her life today at the "greet and eat" and tomorrow and the Memorial Celebration. For those of you at a distance I will post pictures of the events. Until then... please check out the wonderful tribute in the Boston Globe today written byJ.M.Lawrence.

You can find it online at:

Your support and care has helped Lucy, Nathaniel and me through this transition and I trust will continue to do so.

Much love back at you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You can help!

As you might imagine it was not easy to share the news of Lynne's death with Lucy and Nathaniel. It is hard to believe that I just told them yesterday when they returned home from camp. It feels like weeks ago - my body exhausted yet my heart feels relief and a sort of peaceful sad feeling. Lynne went so peacefully, she was radiant, surrounded by such love and care.

About a month ago Lynne and I spoke about the possibility of her writing letters to the kids, sort of a final gift that they could keep and reread whenever they needed to. Her time went so quickly that she never got to write them. I know Lucy and Nathaniel have wonderful memories
of Lynne and these memories will sustain them... yet I had an idea (of course!) that though it won't replace letters from Lynne - it might help them remember her in the days, months and years to come.

You can help! I know all of you who write on the blog have been touched in many ways by Lynne, you may have stories or memories yourselves that sustain you. I am asking any of you who wish to write a letter to Lucy and Nathaniel about what Lynne meant to you- how you knew her, a story, a memory whatever feels right for you. I will put these letters in a book that in the future the kids can read them and be helped to remember not only how special Lynne was to them but how special Lynne was to so many of you. I so want the silly kids in the picture to find their smile again.

From the bottom of my heart... thanks.

Please post the letter on this blog, or email me at .

May your hearts be open to respond. In many ways it is a final gift you can give to Lynne for all that she has given to you.

Love to all,


Monday, July 16, 2007

She rests in peace...

June 18, 1947 - July 15, 2007

Our dear sweet Lynne left this life for her next adventure last night at about 7:45 PM. She was surrounded by love and song and prayers and tears. It was a peaceful passing. I will write more later for all of you but I just wanted to pass on this news and let you know than we will be celebrating her live with:

Visiting hours: Friday, July 20 from 5-8 PM

Memorial Celebration: Saturday, July 21 at 11:00 AM

North Congregational Church
United Church of Christ
38 Plymouth Street
Middleboro, MA 02346

So much gratitude to all of you for all your support, care and love these last months. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in Lynne's memory to the Memorial Fund of North Congregational Church.


Friday, July 13, 2007

A Sacred Sad Time (from Patty)

I had another blog ready to post with funny stories about these photos but instead I must tell you that in the last 24 hours Lynne has declined. Her nurse Mary (who we love and who has been such a blessing) said that she has days, maybe just one or two. Saturday I had "the talk" with Lucy, today I had "the talk" with Nathaniel. He said, "Maybe Mamma Lynne can bring a cell phone and call us and tell us what heaven is like."

We are sitting vigil. I played her some of our favorite songs, "So Lucky" by Lucie Blue Trembley and "You take my breath away" by Tuck and Patti. I tried to sing along but I have this big knot in my throat.

Those of you who have been with us through this, sit and remember all the gifts that Lynne has given you, say a little prayer of thanks and then go and give your child or spouse or partner a hug, a nice long one when you really stop and hold on long enough so that you can feel their heart beat on your chest and you can feel their breath on your neck - feel their life force beating with yours and say thanks - never take it for granted because ..... well ... do I need to say more?

Hold Lynne and all of us in light and love as she transitions to the next place.

For all of you ... I say thanks!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Final Gifts (from Patty)

My father once said, "Don't wait until I am dead to send me flowers!" His comment has always stayed with me and on occasion I have remembered and sent him flowers for a birthday or for father's day. They have always been appreciated. The sad thing about our culture is that often we wait until a person has died to lavish them (or their caskets) with flowers, to speak eloquently about them at the funeral or memorial service, to appreciate all the love and joy we received from them. Yet we miss (or don't take) the opportunities to appreciate our loved ones, to offer them our gifts before they die, while they are alive.

I have been thinking a bit about "Final Gifts" these days. For one, because a friend Jamie gave me a book by that title (Final Gifts - understanding the special awareness, needs, and communications of the dying by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley) and it is giving me a lot to chew on and second, because of the way all of you in our home community and out there in blog land have been showering Lynne with gifts both tangible and intangible. Your words are like flowers and our rooms and hearts are filled overflowing. (I know that sounds kind of corny but that is the sort of mood I am in!)

I am still reeling (in a good way) from a gift we received this weekend. The church choir of North Congregational Church (the church where I am pastor) came by and sang to Lynne in our living room. Twenty voices strong sang "You raise me up" by Josh Groban. It was wonderful! For the seven years we have been in Middleboro Lynne and I have sang alto in the choir together. Lynne always said that when she sang with the choir, she would feel the presence of God, the spirit of worship. And so the choir sang and sang and sang. After the song was finished the choir said nervously that they were sorry about the mistakes and in a week or so they would really get it down. With tears in her eyes Lynne responded, "I didn't hear any mistakes ... I only heard the voices of angels." What a gift the choir gave to Lynne.

Some day at a memorial service all our eyes will be filled with tears as the choir sings "Your raise me up!" What a day it will be to celebrate a woman whose life has touched us so deeply. Yet until that day I want to offer Lynne all the gifts I can - companionship, a hand to hold on a stormy night, an ear to listen, a laugh, a reassurance that I will take good care of our kids and I will promise to make sure they floss! Like my dad said, "don't wait to offer your final gifts" - not just to Lynne but to to anyone who has touched you, helped mold you, nurtured you, loved you.

As I write Lynne is resting. The hospital bed will come tomorrow and we will set it up in a downstairs room. She is getting too weak to make the trek up and down the stairs. Home health aides will start coming tomorrow as well. Friends and folks from the church are scheduling time to be here to help and so I can get out and get the kids where they need to go. Her body is slowing down but her smile seems to be getting bigger and brighter. She is filled with grace and peace (most of the time). She will still laugh at my feeble attempts at humor and just for laughs, if you ask her who is the president she will say, "Hmmmm ... Geraldine Ferraro?"

I hope Lynne feels well enough to post soon, if not I will keep you up to date. Keep the prayers, good thoughts and kind words coming. There are no words that can express the depth of our appreciation for all that you have done. Love and bunches of flowers to you all!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Post from Patty (still in Ptown)

A couple of days ago I was talking to Lucy on the beach about Lynne and the ever changing state of her disease. Lucy replied, "Mom, the only constant thing is change." I told her she was right and asked where had she heard that? She said her Karate teacher Sensi Joe had taught them that. With the gentle Cape Cod breezes I offered up a prayer of thanksgiving for all the "teachers" in our "village" who are helping raise Lucy and Nathaniel.

I am glad for Lucy that she has some ability to roll with change because Lynne's state continues to change, on a daily and sometimes an hourly basis. Since her last post, we have remained in Ptown, we moved to a wonderful cottage looking out on the bay in North Truro. Since Lynne's challenge with pain at the end of last week we have been able to get it under some control. The on-call nurse Ginny (old friend, long story) came out to the Cape over the weekend to see Lynne, get her pain under control, ease our anxiety, etc. It was good and Lynne felt more relaxed and able to just enjoy being here. Mostly Lynne is resting/sleeping these last days. Some because of meds, some because of her liver starting to be unable to process the toxins in her system. Ginny said, "Lynne has really moved into the next phase of this process."

With all this we have had some wonderful moments. Lynne got me up in the middle of the night to watch passing storm outside the huge sliding doors. It was awesome to see the power of nature, the lightning, hear the thunder yet feel the safety of this little cottage, holding Lynne's hand. She wakes up to watch the moon, see the stars most every night. She says this place makes her feel happy, at peace. (Thank you sooooo much Brian and Marianne.)

Our friend "Aunt" Bev has been with us this week which makes it easier to keep the kids busy and enjoying this place. They have been to a ranger program at the National Seashore, have learned new painting technique from Donna (old friend, long story), picked up shells at the beach, ate ice cream at Ben and Jerry's and lots more stuff. With Lynne their hugs are more tender, their voices are more quiet, their hearts are more open. We are all aware that these moments together are precious.

Today, some of us will go see the Forth of July parade here in Ptown (we will be thinking of all our friends serving hot dogs and watching the Middleboro parade today as well!) Lynne is planning on conserving here energy so she can stay up till 9:00 PM to see the fireworks right outside our little cottage overlooking the bay.

Thanks for checking in. Lynne sends love and gentle hugs. I know she wishes she could write some (perhaps soon) but now she just needs to rest. Blessings to all.