I found this picture while looking for photos of Hubs's sister who has ALS. We are up against it this year, there is no doubt about it. I'm raising my fist to the heavens saying, "I'm strong enough. I don't need any more of 'that which doesn't kill you' nonsense." But even so, I was grateful to find this beautiful photo of just the two of us. "'Tis an ill wind that blows no good."
I am here to find a poem about grief to read at Hubs's mother's funeral service tomorrow. But I've been meaning to post this for oh eight or ten weeks now. As I write this, I lost my mom almost ten weeks ago. You might as well have ripped my heart out of my chest. To feel grief in every cell of your body -- to actually feel it in your cells -- the pain is indescribable. I had 58 years with her. But it is never enough.
And now...my other mom. My son has lost both his grandmothers in the space of nine weeks. To the day. Almost to the minute. He's only 11. He will spend the rest of his life without a grandma. The reality of that blows me away.
We knew that Mom had limited time. At one point, knowing how much she hated the obituary the newspaper had written when Dad passed away, I asked her if she was going to write her own. "No," she said, "You're going to write it."
Word of advice: if ever anyone says that to you, immediately grab a pad of paper and start writing down the important details. Like, oh, their college major and what town they lived in after college and where they worked then and whether their degrees with "of arts" or "of science." Because we always think we have time....until we don't.
I wrote this as a final gift to her. At $4.43 per line, it cost a fortune. She never would have let me write something that cost as much to publish as this did. But, she wasn't here to have the final say. So here is mine:
Lauser, Rachel L. (Whitman) GLENVILLE Rachel L. (Whitman) Lauser passed away suddenly at her home, Tuesday, September 12, 2017, age 84, after living courageously and determinedly for many years with COPD and pulmonary fibrosis. She was preceded in death in 1998 by her husband and love of her life, Douglas L. Lauser, with whom she would have celebrated 61 years of marriage in June of this year.
Rachel found joy in spending time with her family, the company of her companion dogs and cats, listening to classical music, attending concerts and plays, and traveling. She was an avid reader, rarely missed doing her daily crossword puzzle and Cryptoquote, and was a formidable opponent in cribbage and Scrabble.
Her favorite place was the ocean at both Cape Cod and Cape Ann, Mass., and even as her disease limited her mobility, she would get to the water’s edge with the help of family to spend hours sitting with her feet in the water and laughing when splashed by waves.
As a teacher of court-placed children, she never gave up on her students. She taught the “will never learn how to read” students how to read and encouraged children, whom the rest of society had given up on, to earn their high school diplomas and overcome their disadvantages to make good lives for themselves and their future families.
Rachel was born in 1932 in Boston, Mass., the daughter of the late Marion F. (Clapp) and Ira H. Whitman. She grew up in Pittsfield, Mass., graduating from Pittsfield High School in 1950 and North Adams State Teachers College, now MCLA, with a B.S. in elementary education and counseling in 1954.
She began her life’s work as a teacher in Trumbull, Conn. until her marriage in 1956. She then moved back to Pittsfield and worked as a substitute teacher in the Pittsfield School district while also raising her family.
Beginning in 1970, Rachel lived briefly in Erie and then Grove City, Pa., before moving to Glenville in 1972, as her husband took the family on a whirlwind tour of General Electric locations. She obtained her M.S. in special education from Russell Sage College in 1977. She began working at Northeast Parent & Child Society in 1978, where she served in the capacities of elementary school teacher, interim vice principal, middle school teacher, and high school English teacher, retiring in 1997 to care for her husband, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Rachel is survived by her beloved children, [all were named]; seven grandchildren, [all were named]; and one great-granddaughter due to arrive in February.
She is also survived by her cherished nieces and nephews, [all were named], as well as several great-nieces and nephews.
Finally, she is survived by three dear companion cats, Lady Katherine, Pippin, and Katze.
The family will receive guests from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, September 23 at the Bekkering Funeral Home, 1 Mohawk Ave., Scotia, N.Y. A brief memorial service will take place at 1:00 p.m. All are welcome back to the family home for a reception following.
A graveside service will be held Sunday, September 24 at Evergreen Cemetery in Stoughton, Mass., at 1:00 p.m., where Rachel will be laid to rest with her husband, parents, and maternal grandparents.