Monday, March 24, 2008


We knew my brother would be performing the service and that my 9-year-old nephew wanted to say something (he did great!!!), but none of us knew my sister closest in age to me was going to speak.
What she said was amazing, and her delivery was unbelievable; especially considering the level of emotion in the room.
Here's her tribute to our mother, and it couldn't have been said any better! Well done Kerry!!!

Our mother, like most mothers, was a very special person. She was warm and loving and funny. You often hear people say how those that have passed will leave a hole or a void. The absence of my mother will leave an abyss. Or at least, that’s how it feels.

Our mother was a big presence in our lives. For us, she was truly the tie that binds. Over the past few days, I’ve found myself wondering how we will carry on without her. I know, of course, that we will, but the idea of it seemed inconceivable.

But as I thought about having to face life without my mother, without my best friend, I realized how, because of her, we will certainly get through this terrible time together.

My mother taught us many things, as most parents do. But three things we learned from her are perhaps the most important lessons for dealing with life.

Naturally, she, along with our father’s help, taught us right from wrong. Through her example, we not only learned the typical rights and wrongs, but we learned the right way to be a good friend, the right way to care about others and the right way to treat the people that are important to you. And she taught us that it is right that family takes care of family. More than once my mother told me what a great comfort it was to her that if ever any of her children were in trouble or in need that we could turn to any of the other 4 and we would be a help and support one another.

Another thing we learned from our mother was to love one another and to do so openly. More than a few people have commented over the years how affectionate my family is to one another. We always great each other with hugs and kisses and do the same again when we part. Well – ok – maybe Eddie and Mark don’t hug and kiss each other – but there is certainly brotherly affection. When we speak to one another on the phone, conversations almost always end with “I love you”, and “I love you too”. We tell our children and our nieces and nephews all the time how much we love them and how special they are to us. Something we learned from our mother.

The last of the three important lessons learned from Mom, was to laugh at life – even if it’s at your own expense – which, in her case, it often was. Mom loved a good laugh. All of the Rockwood family loves a good laugh and we are never together that we don’t laugh a great deal. We learned not to take ourselves so seriously that we couldn't laugh at ourselves – something my mother excelled at. In fact, if she did something funny and there was no one to witness it, she wouldn’t keep her goofs to herself – she’d tell everybody, which is funny in itself.

So, as I think of these things, I realize, though the void is sizable and though the coming weeks, months and even times throughout the years will find us mourning our dearly loved mother, we will as a family, get through it together.

We will stand by one another. We will love one another. And we will laugh together. And in doing so, we will keep our mother’s spirit with us always.

I hope that some of you will learn from my mother, especially to tell the people you love that you love them – and tell them often. Not because life is precarious and you never know how much time you will have together. Not even because it’s what people who love one another should do. Tell them simply because you DO love them.

I know that we will pass these lessons on to our own children and grandchildren: To stand by your family and love and support them; To tell them often how much you love them and to laugh at life – even if it’s at your own expense. Oh – and to never, ever tell a child you have eyes in the back of your head.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My mother, 'Mum', died a week ago tomorrow. I still can't really believe it, even after all of the activity of the week.

I can't write about my Mum too much right now - still way too hard!!!

I would however, like to touch upon a particular subject. Actually, I do believe I am in need of a reeeaaaallllly good venting!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What NOT to say to a grieving family member!

I NEEDED to write this... but I don't want to offened anyone by it... so I'm blanking out my venting.. I know all meant well, even when what was said was far more upsetting than helpful.1. Do not speak as though you know the situation, when you don't. Don't say, 'well she lived a happy long life and at least she didn't suffer.' Mum was only 68... do you really think that's long? And 'she didn't suffer'??? I'll grant you, there are some poor souls out there who suffer far longer, but my poor Mum did suffer. And a 'happy life'... my Mum had a tough life. Yes, she did of course have some happy times - but her life was not easy! My mother did pray with my brother the day before she died and said "yeah" when asked if she'd like to trust Jesus. As a Christian, this of course makes me very happy!! However, if I had one more fellow/sister believer come and tell me that I should be rejoicing at her death, or something similarly unfeeling, I was going to hit someone!!!! People, it's my mother in that casket!!!! I'm glad she suffers no more and is in heaven with God, absolutely!!! But I'd rather have her hear, thank you! It is incredibly cold to say 'you should be rejoicing!', or 'I'm celebrating with you', or 'your mother's prayer and death were such a great encouragement to my prayer life' .... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????????????? I understand what was meant.... I understand that it was some peoples way of trying to encourage me I guess... but she had only been dead a few days.3. 'Are you doing better?'..... Better?... Oh yes, it's been 5 days, I'm totally over it, thank you! "Every day you'll feel better and better." Ok., and you know this because of when you lost one of your parents? Oh, no?... Well then how the heck do you know??!!!! Again, people trying to be encouraging, but forgetting to use that lump in their heads before they speak.Ok - so it's hard to know what to say, right? I've been there - it is extremely hard!!!

Let me share a few things people said that were very comforting, or at least, appropriate.1. There's the old stand by that says it all "I'm so sorry for you loss". Tried and true, it works!! Falls under the KISS (keep it simple stupid).2. "I have no idea what to say, so I'll just say I'm so sorry." Says it all doesn't it? Honesty is the best policy.3. "I wish I could do something to make it better - but I know I can't, so can I just give you a hug?" Again, honest, heartfelt, as comforting as one can be.4. Offering help. The truth is, when someone is hurting, we like to try to fix it. But in situations like these, it can't be fixed. But to do something tangible, still makes us feel like we are showing our love and support. We have been INCREDIBLY BLESSED with wonderful friends who have expressed their love and support in beautiful and helpful ways

  • Babysitting. Because of the help from some amazing ladies, I was able to be at the hospital the whole time with my Mum, right up until the end. Then these great ladies came back to watch the kids during the wake and funeral. It was such a blessing to know our kids were being taken care of by such loving, great ladies!!!!!
  • Plants/Flowers: Friends have sent such lovely plants and flowers to brighten our home during this difficult time. They are lovely!!!
  • Meals: It has been so nice to not have to think about preparing a meal for the family. We have been brought delicious dishes such as chicken, pasta, breakfast platters, deserts, etc... So very thoughtful!!
  • Cards: Beautiful cards, some even home made, with simple - yet comforting wishes.Ok - I warned you this would be my time to vent. And it was.. and I feel a tiny bit better for having done it.

To those who may read this and say 'oh - I said that' - I'm not angry and don't want to make anyone feel bad, I am thankful that you wanted to be there for me - but please do think next time your are speaking to someone who is grieving. And to those who read this and think, I brought a dish, or a plant, etc.. I am so very grateful for your kindness!!!!!thanks for letting me vent!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sign of Hope

Feeling down today.

She's not well, another trip to the hospital.

Isn't it amazing how the Lord can give us hope - the kind that touches us as only that from the hand of Christ can, in small but powerful ways?!

Here's what greeted me when I pulled into the driveway this afternoon.

My prayer today ~
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9: 1-2)
Lord ~ Give her comfort as only you can. Soften her heart to you. I pray that she would know your peace. Though her body may hurt her and may be failing, do an amazing work in her heart that she may have an inner joy! That her soul will be not only at peace but rejoice in knowing you!! I love her Lord, wrap your arms around her in such a special way!!

I praise you Jesus!!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Things You Never Thought You'd Say

Welcome friends to my first edition of:
"Things You Never Thought You'd Say.... And then you became a parent!"

Here are my top five quotes for this first installment. Things I never would have imagined myself having to say....

5. 'Get your feet off of your brother's head!'

4. 'Stop shoving your hot dog in your ear - it's dinner, not a toy.' (not that a toy belongs in the ear any more than a hot dog...)

3. 'Shhh. Stop telling that man that he's very very old. Quiet, we'll talk about it at home.'

2. 'Stop using the toilet bowl brush as a light saber!'

1. 'No. My bum isn't so huge because it's filled with poop.' (if only it were that easy to correct)

Have you found yourself saying things you never would have imagined now that you're a parent?