We had the viewing from 9-10:30. Because I was feeling overwhelmed, I went through the line and stopped to talk to those I knew. I feel so guilty that I didn't talk to everyone, but I knew the line would be cut off and I didn't want to miss seeing my friends who had come to support me.
It was strange because last night I went home so sore. My body just ached, specifically my lower back, my shoulders and my neck. I thought I must be coming down with something, but then it occurred to me today... when you stand in line for four and a half hours and repeatedly lift your arms to hug people, you are bound to feel a little strain and soreness. Interesting.
We had the family come into the room to prepare for the Family Prayer. Governor Herbert and the First Lady came in to greet us. My dad asked the Governor to say a few words, which were very nice. Then the casket was opened for a final viewing. I am so glad my Aunt Leslie, Mom's friend, Kim, and Mom's brother, Jim and his family, were there to see her.
All the grandkids had written letters to Grandma. I will post some of them another day. They each tucked their letter inside the casket. My sweet husband also had a little card and put it in, too. It was sweet to see Mom surrounded by letters from her grandchildren when they closed her casket for the final time.
The funeral service was just perfect for Mom. I know she was pleased. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, her boss, took a few minutes. Then each of us five siblings spoke. The grandchildren sang, "I am a Child of God." Nathan, my brother, composed and performed a song called, "Dances." (Mom loved to dance!) Then the Bishop finished and we were done in an hour. It was such a great tribute to her and I enjoyed it so much.
We went to the cemetery and said our final goodbyes. On the way to the cemetery, the West Valley police officers escorted us. We passed the fire station and they had an American flag draped from their ladder. The firemen were standing out in front in their uniforms. It was so cool! I will post photos once we get them all. Then we enjoyed a lovely luncheon at the church. At 4 p.m., I crashed and had a much-needed nap.
Because we are such party-animals, we got together again at 5:30 at Mike's house to have dinner with the Jepsons before Jeff and Danielle left for the airport. I just can't believe they are all here. I keep saying, "Mom would've loved this." I know she did.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who came today and yesterday and to those sending cards, food, flowers and prayers. We appreciate it so much!
Below is the talk I gave at the funeral today:
We are here to honor a woman who left this world way too soon. Well, in our opinion it was too soon. Of course we are learning throughout this week that we are not in charge. We know there is a God who has a plan. His plan includes an opportunity for each one of us to come to earth, get a body, go through trials and difficulties to be tested, and then return to Him once again.
Luckily He has not left us alone in this assignment. We are born to loving families who help us, love us, and who we can be with forever - even after we pass through this life.
My mom taught me all of that. She taught me many other wonderful things, like how to tie my shoes, how to clean a house - and I’m talking REALLY clean, how to make Chicken Divan, how to organize, how to do hard-boiled eggs so the shell will easily peel off, that a string of pearls will dress up any outfit, and how to treat mankind. She taught me that it’s okay to be emotionally vulnerable. It’s okay for people to see me cry when something is touching. And it is especially okay to give out “I love you’s” every day.
Mom taught us to be grateful and to have manners. I remember getting dropped off at school and she insisted that we thank her for the ride. We started saying, “Bye, Mom. I love you. See you after school. Thanks for the ride.” It became almost a daily chant. Even the younger siblings continued the chant when they were in school - “Bye, Mom. I love you. See you after school. Thanks for the ride.”
Mom was a good listener. I remember coming home from school and plopping my back pack down at her feet. She would sit on the couch and then Mike and I would ramble on and on about our day, pulling out papers to share. If any of you know me and Mike well, you know we can talk. And talk. And talk. That is how patient my mother was.
Mom was organized. Even as we’ve been searching for things around the house the past few days, I’ve marveled at her organization. She used to do “budgeting by envelopes.” She would get cash from the bank and put the amount she had budgeted in envelopes labeled, “Piano lessons, groceries, gifts, etc.” Once the money was gone from the envelope, she knew she couldn’t spend any more. There was a sour cream container in one of our cupboards labeled, “Babysitting.” She filled it with dollars and quarters to pay babysitters. And we had babysitters. Mom and Dad were such good examples of going out on dates every weekend and to the temple once a month. They even left us home while they would go on weekend getaways together. They showed us how to have a successful marriage by putting each other as the priority over anything else.
Things I loved about my mom include her ability to forgive, her ability to look at others as equals, and her sweet spirit, that included her emotions.
My mom was a missionary. In fact, we kids had nicknamed her “Missionary Mom.” She earned this after many experiences - when she would sit next to someone on an airplane and share the gospel, or one time she was thrilled with a hotel worker and gave them a pass-along card as a gift. She was always talking to people and sharing the good news of the gospel. She always looked forward to an opportunity to go on a mission. We know she is on her mission and is teaching the gospel in heaven. She always took her call as a Visiting Teacher very seriously and served the best she could in any assignment.
Mom was our best cheerleader. When we needed a little pat on the back, we called Mom. You could always count on her to get super excited when we called to tell her something we were doing. In fact, the last conversation I had with her, as they drove to St. George, was to tell her about something exciting that had happened at work. We could always count on her to listen intently and be as excited, or more, then we were.
I am grateful Mom made me practice the piano. She made us do jobs every day - two jobs on week days and four on Saturdays. Boys would choose first on odd days, and girls first on even days. She taught us how to work. She was a hard worker and sometimes it was hard for us to get her to sit still. She was always doing.
Mom loved the temple. She started working at the Jordan River Temple with Dad on Thursday nights. She loved it! She knew that the gospel of Jesus Christ was on the earth. She knows, and I know, that we are here to be tested and that there is a God who loves us, is aware of us, and that through Christ’s Atonement we can have eternal life.
My mom looked like a movie star. My sister-in-law once told her husband, “You’ll have to see Aimee’s mom. She is gorgeous… like movie-star gorgeous.” One day in junior high I was standing outside with a group of boys. My mom walked through the parking lot of the school and the guys said, “Wow, that lady is HOT!” I said, “That lady is my mom.” When I would get dressed up for events as a teen, she would say, “It’s nice to be pretty on the outside, but it’s more important to be pretty on the inside.” And she was. She was beautiful on both the outside and the inside.
Mom was a go-getter. She was a stay-at-home mom for 30 years, but still stayed involved. Did you know that part of the reason Taylorsville is a city, is because my mom got mad about a cell phone tower? A cell tower was built and impeded her view of the mountains. She didn’t think it had gone through the proper processes. I don’t think in Salt Lake County history, anyone has ever been able to lobby hard enough to get a cell phone tower down. But my mom did. A year later Taylorsville had broken away from the County and became a city, as Mom co-chaired the incorporation effort.
I watched Mom run for the Legislature in January. She didn’t know the issues as well as some of the others, but was determined to learn. She loved meeting with delegates and listening to their concerns. She lost by one vote, but then found her passion working for Congressman Chaffetz’s office.
Here are some things my kids loved about their grandma - Camp Grandpa and Grandma at the cabin, birthday lunches, kisses and hugs, having grandma at their recitals, and playing Scrabble at Snowbird.
Mom, I’m not really sure what we will do without you. We have a huge hole in our hearts from losing you. I guess until we see you again in heaven... Bye, Mom. I love you. See you after school. Thanks for the ride.