Friday, May 16, 2014

Part Three: Picking the right memorial for your parent

When my Dad died five years ago my Mom decided to wait a few months before having a memorial gathering. She wanted to be able to appreciate the support and memories and not be so deep in grief that she couldn't be present for them. She did select the town historical society as the place for donations to be sent and that worked out.

This time my brother and I talked and decided that, since Mom had been very involved with her local library for the 30 years she lived in town,we would make that the focus of her memorial. We wanted to do something that would be lasting and speak to who she was. We talked to the librarian and some board members to find out what this very small town library had on their wish list.

Two things on the wish list were appealing to us: an upholstered chair for the children's room and restoration of a circa 1890 painting by a (at that time) well known local woman artist, Adelaide Palmer. The library owns two of her works and was hoping to have them restored and hung in time for the town's 250th anniversary celebration this August.

We were able to help with the chair situation by donating two from Mom's home. That didn't feel like a memorial though.

However, the painting awaiting restoration funding was perfect.
- By a woman artist - my Mom painted some.
- There is a companion photo of the artist painting this work - Mom's family owned a photography studio and retail store where she worked at various times.
- It is of mountain laurel in bloom - Mom loved flowers.
- It will be hung on the wall you see entering the library - Mom loved to walk into that space and talk with her friends including other volunteers and board members.

We decided that the painting would be restored in her memory. The library board will hang a plaque with her name, etc. under the painting.

I think we were lucky that the idea came together and was such a great fit for us as well as our budget. We were also able to say in her obituary that the library was the place for donations to be sent and I know some family members and friends have done so which is terrific. 

In the end we knew this was the right memorial because we felt such a glow after seeing the painting and making our decision. We know Mom would think it was perfect and that is what makes it right for us.

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