Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
We attended a memorial service last weekend for a wonderful neighbor who's gone to be with Jesus. Losing Barbara Brewer was a poignant reminder to cherish the birthdays, indeed all the days, while we have them. Losing her was also a reminder to wear lipstick whenever you feel like it, not just when there may be cameras.
Barbara was virtual mom and grandma and visiting nurse to many. Organic farmers and ranchers before it was marketable, she and her husband Joe are legends in our rural community. They founded the volunteer fire station and hosted probably thousands of agricultural college students on their ranch. She taught Sunday school and called me and dozens of others with prayer chain notices. She played piano and had beautiful posture and a stunning family. She spent her last days encouraging others. The photos shared at her service showed a pretty girl growing into an amazing woman. Her life and death were inspirational in the true sense of the word, spirit breathed into life.
I can't tell you how many fun August afternoons the girls and I spent picking blueberries or grapes in Barbara's yard overlooking acres and acres of rolling hay fields. My littlest would always find a kitten and Barbara would always encourage us to take it home with the yummy fruit. Looking back I know the most important thing we took home with us was the memory of her hospitable way of life, her metaphorical and literal open arms and welcoming front porch.
Losing Barbara made me miss my grandmother all over again. It made me think about homemaking as an art again. It made me grateful (again) to have moved to the country, where neighbors can be your family too.
We celebrated three family birthdays this last week as well. My husband, myself, my mom. Joy and sorrow intertwine and a tapestry of life emerges.