Yesterday we celebrated the life of Rachel Macy. It was perfect, one of those times you just wish the one being remembered could be there to feel all of the love expressed and to witness the broad impact of her life. Still, this had to be the capsule version, a mere representation of Rachel’s 41 years.
Longtime family friend and Rachel’s “mom friend” Debbie Rickey came from Arizona to host the celebration. She told Rachel’s story in three parts—Big House in the Small Town; Small House in the Big City; Coming Home—separated by time for those gathered to either write or tell a story or memory of Rachel. Then we got to see the slide show (linked at the end) that John Macy prepared from pictures shared from many sources. Debbie closed our time together by reading a prayer sent by the pastor of Rachel’s church in Philadelphia.
It was perfect.
Then . . .
. . . we talked to each other . . .
. . . and snacked on some of Rachel’s favorite sweet treats.
The Anderson kids replenished the cookie offerings of local friends.
Subtle references to the Carlson side of our blended family always make me smile.
Thanks to many ready hands, clean-up at the Chehalem Cultural Center was a snap, and off we went to a smaller space to enjoy some more time together as a family. The kids could run off their reserve of energy while we introverts could talk or not talk, whichever suited the moment.
Some had driven quite a distance to the service and had the same distance to return by day’s end. Stacey bids Mauri farewell before driving back to Seattle.
You aren’t misreading the joy on my face. Bookended by Carlson sons—an event too rare to not savor.
I’d give my eye teeth (or maybe not) for a matching picture of these two boyhood buds. Poring through the Macy family albums, this was as close as I could come.
Jon Rickey is the reason we call John Macy John Macy. Two John/Jons who were together more than they were apart needed differentiation.
What a blessing to have Jon and his mom play important roles in Rachel’s celebration!
John Williams (yes, two Johns in the family) reconnected with his dad. This is an “up” side of any “funeral,” giving family members a reason to come together.
Speaking of families coming together . . .
Ours now faces the new reality of posing a family picture with missing faces.
Beth’s face is missing because she had a pregnancy scare and was forced on bed rest. She’ll be in the next family photo, probably holding her son. Linsey will probably be holding her son. This is the way it’s supposed to be. But Rachel will be missing from our family photos from now on, and this is hard to accept. Once again I learn the futility of expectation. Therefore, I will embrace what I have today. “We are not singled out for loss; it’s an experience common to all of us.” A friend of Mauri shared this one thought not long before Margaret-Rose died. We will embrace each day as a gift from God and trust him to fill the missing spaces with joyful memories of our loved ones.
Debbie shared this true “saying” (unattributed) in Rachel’s service:
“Grief never ends . . . . but it changes.
It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith . . .
It is the price of love . . .”
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The promised link to the video slide show. CLICK HERE.
Coming soon: A representation of the audio portion.