This final week before spring break is full to the brim and the weather that goes with it excites me. Spring is clearly trying to poke its head through.

When Dean brought the pussy willow in my bouquet, it reminded that life does go on, spring has sprung and the beauty that was quiet is once again beautiful. I’m not letting a day pass without recognizing that, even for a moment.

There were so many things about the celebration that left me in wonder and helped heal. The room was so beautifully decorated, round tables with gray table cloths all with a mason jar full of flowers, her urn and a single picture radiating her beautiful smile, a table full of flowers brought by those she loved. The people, there were so many people, close to 500. They kept having to add chairs and still people stood. I did not see them all but as we stood on stage to speak, I looked out to the crowd in awe and was amazed at the lives she had impacted.

As the family walked in I sent them silent strength, I felt their loss and admired their bond and love. As they approached the front, leaving tokens of their life, a purple heart, flowers, a tree of life necklace, they stood united, the way Kathleen would want. Seeing Dean hand a single white rose to Kathleen’s mom was so beautiful and highlighted the admiration, respect and love Dean had for her.

The celebrant spoke do eloquently and compassionately. Sharing a poem about waves that I recall hearing after my dad passed away. No truer words spoke.

The words shared were from the heart. As her work family spoke, it was clear how much they loved her, the light that she brought and the impact she left behind. She spent almost 30 years there and we know she could leave an impact in mere minutes.

As Rebecca and I spoke I felt her strength surround us and knew I could get through, I believed in Rebecca too. I loved looking out to the crowd as I spoke and the laughter that was heard at the funny parts. It was a good blend and captured Kathleen beautifully.

The sound of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace rang out as a time of reflection. I used that time to recall all of the best parts of her, every part was the best part.

Her eulogy given by her sister Beth was delivered with such poise, such grace and do much heart. I learned so much about her and was reminded of all the precious things I knew. A skydiver, how did I not know this! That’s Kathleen, she did not talk of herself. She jumped out of a perfectly good plane, only to hold on to some cord and thin material floated her down, similar to her walk to her passing she handled with courage, bravery, strength and grace. I loved that her sister was greeted by a deer looking up at her bedroom window at 3am the night before. Beth shared that her and Kathleen had talked about death and how they would communicate and Kathleen assured her she would find a way and she did. Did you know your spirit animal chooses you?

The symbolism of the deer

  • Ability to move through life and obstacles with grace
  • Gentle, peaceful nature
  • Innocence, purity
  • Being sensitive and intuitive
  • A strong connection to the natural world
  • Vigilance, ability to change directions quickly
  • Magical ability to regenerate, heal yourself
  • Spiritual guidance

The deer symbolism is strongly connected to nature and its rhythms. This animal’s demeanor is gentle and nurturing, yet it is also agile and swift. By observing the deer spirit animal, we can learn to live in harmony with ourselves and the world around us. The wisdom it teaches speaks of grace and balance — qualities we can all learn from and cultivate.

To end the formal part of the celebration, What a wonderful world was played, a request from Kathleen. Another beautiful reminder of the person she was.

As we gathered after we hugged, shared more stories, there were tears, laughter and connection. Just what Kathleen would want. It was perfect.

I loved my text from Justys ‘You spoke beautifully mama❤️.’ I felt their strength and knew the importance of speaking clearly. I wanted to have strength for Rebecca and I did not want to let Kathleen down. Colton struggled throughout the celebration and allowed his tears to flow. Dalton felt sadness as he heard my voice shake. When Colton approached Ryan to give his condolences, Ryan shared that ‘I don’t know what it was about you three boyz but out of everyone, you three were her favorite.’ I was not surprised to hear that because that’s how she always made me feel. She loved our boyz and made every effort to celebrate them. They loved her right back.

As we wrapped up the day, my heart, although forever changed, felt peace, content, happiness. It felt her grace and it felt present.

Kathleen taught me grace, kindness, truth and the joy in living. Even through her walk to death, she lived each day with purpose, with poise and with passion. I wrote each day that I would not have any regrets because we never left one thing unsaid.

What I learned from Kathleen’s final days, is to take the reigns and live your life, create something beautiful and don’t get caught up in making a living, that’s not where the ‘good stuff’ lives!

Live like Kathleen. 💜

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