Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Celebration of Life

As you most likely know, my Mama Tutu passed away last month.  I headed down to Florida as soon as possible in order to attend her memorial service.  I stayed at my aunt Dolores' house along with Clarissa, my Dad and Laura, and a gaggle of my cousins.  

The morning after we arrived was the service.  Here we are getting ready to go.  My cousin Lydia has identical twin girls that are so cute.  Here is either Genevieve or Gabriela, not sure. 

Dad and Laura ready to head out.

Clarissa and the twins play.

At our house Clarissa is so tiny, but she seemed so giant next to Lydia's girls!

Heading to the church.  I was quite anxious on the way there.  It felt very hard to be going to my Mama Tutu's farewell.

I was very thankful for my Dad this day.  He was there with me the whole time.  He helped with Clarissa and gave me lots of hugs, which were much needed.  Thanks Dad!  I love you!

Aunt Dolores who is like a second mother to me.  Summers as a kid were spent with a lot of Aunt Dolores time.  She is always there for me.  I love her.

The service was at my grandparent's church.  They had the nursery set up for the small kids so they didn't have to be quite and sit still during the actual memorial.  After that was over we all retrieved our young-ins and headed to the gathering hall for food and celebration of the wonderful woman we all had to say goodbye to.  

Riley Marie
Riley's Daddy, my cousin Greg
Uncle Scott and Aunt Zenita in the receiving line.

Clarissa took this one of my cousins Brooke and Jonathan.

More by Clarissa, Amanda and... Gabriela? 

Clarissa kept high-jacking my camera which brought smiles to everyone's faces.

My cousin Lydia
My cousin Corinna
My cousin Melissa
Gregory, Riley and Aunt Dolores

My sweet bug

Aunt Dolores asked me to look through some old photos of Mama Tutu and put them in these frames.  One thing that stuck out so vividly to me was that in every picture Mama Tutu has a huge, genuine happy grin on her face.  She was such a loving and happy person who truly loved her family with all her heart.  
 Grandma Laura and Clarissa
 Aunt Lisa with one of her grand babies.  Scary thing is that Aunt Lisa is only eight years older than me and she's a grandma.  Oh!   Aunt Lisa is a super fun aunt and was really there for me in the weeks leading up to and surrounding Mama Tutu's death.  I'm very thankful for her.

 My Great Aunt Hannah, Mama Tutu's sister.

 Laura, like many women, wore a hat this day in memory of Mama Tutu.  Mama Tutu (known to everyone else as Barbara Martinez) loved hats and wore them all the time.
 My cousin Jason's girls.

 My cousin Cynthia's youngest.

 Corinna and Tristan.
 My Papa Tutu.  I was so glad to see him and hug him and cry with him.  He is just as much a part of me as Mama Tutu has always been.  He is an amazing, loving grandfather.  I was happy to see him doing so well.

 Greg and Toni
 My Aunt Zenita who I was mistaken for on more than one occasion this day.  I look more like her than anyone else on earth.  She has always made a huge effort to keep in touch and I love that about her.  She is an awesome aunt!
 Cousin Melissa

 Uncle Tom and his granddaughter, Riley
 My cousin David's kids, Christopher, Clayton and Brooke.  I've been loving facebook for keeping in touch with these smelly kids!  Gotta love 'em!

 My Dad
 Aunt Z & Uncle Scott
Aunt Lisa and her two youngest

 My Dad and his three sisters, lined up by birth order.  Dolores, Mike, Zenita, Lisa.  Of course they were being very solemn and subdued.  NOT!

 Papa Tutu and his four kids

 Clarissa ran and snuck in the picture!

Honestly, after the memorial was over I felt better than I had in weeks.  The time leading up to Mama Tutu's death and then the days waiting to go to Florida were very hard on me.  I was very very sad.  After getting together with my family and feeling the love that has been passed along, I felt much more at peace and able to say goodbye.


Timbra said...

lots of smiles, looks like it was a healing day for people to remember good times and enjoy one another, instead of dwelling on sadness and loss, though that's always there and always will be, your gma is a little part of who each of you are!

Rachel Ellis said...

So glad you had all off that lovely family support. It really is hard to say goodbye, but it looks like you made it a wonderful celebration of her life- and what a beautiful legacy she left behind! Hugs to you, Renee, and rest in peace Mama Tutu!