Sunday, February 23, 2014

Remembering Robert Steven Mays

For the children, Valentine's day was tied to tradition. They ate pink pancakes, attended class parties, delved into a new batch of Valentine sweets and enjoyed a special weekend sleeping at Nanna and Bubba's house.

As for Andrew and me, our Valentine weekend was unique and different. Yes, there were flowers. They weren't mine, however. Instead, they'd been sent to comfort a young widow and her daughters. Having worked as a florist, I could appreciate the beautiful detail knowing hours were spent carefully creating an arrangement in an attempt to honor someone incredibly special. The same could be said for his actual funeral. In preparation, hours were likewise spent recording their memories, framing priceless photos and arranging a million other, behind the scene, details.

My Aunt Lyn, my Dad's older sister, beautifully detailed Rob's growing up years. I could see how Rob's family hung onto each beloved tidbit that she offered. And then in turn, each of Rob's daughters took the stand to offer their personal tribute to their Father. We laughed and cried, depending on the story. Remarkable to me was the way they used that opportunity to bear powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and of our Father in Heaven's plan of salvation. That, I think, would have made Rob so happy as he was missionary minded throughout his life. The music was likewise beautiful.

My beloved Grandma Marie has been gone 30 years now. Having passed while my Mom was expecting me, I didn't have the chance to know her here. While we ache for the loss of my Uncle, it was comforting to know that he will rest next to his Mother, whom he loved so deeply.

Amidst the sadness, were moments of tender reunion with family I don't often see. I was able to attend Rob's viewing sans children. Thank you Nanna Teresa and Bubba for watching the kids as it provided me the opportunity to visit and grieve with my family uninterrupted. The day of the funeral I met my Grandma's older sister. The emotion I felt when I saw her surprised me. Just looking at "Aunt Betty" made me well up with tears as I considered the connection she shares with my Grandmother. I hope my Dad and I take that trip to see her soon!

Valentine's day itself was spent in the temple. Walking into the House of the Lord was like coming home; the feelings were sweet, sustaining and familiar. As a nursing Mother, it's been months since I've attended a session. The reason behind this gathering was to be there as my Dad stood proxy for my Grandfather whose temple work was finally completed. This was something my Uncle Rob pushed for following my Grandfather's passing in 2012. With the urging of Rob's daughters and a few miracles along the way, my Grandpa's work was done followed by the crowning event of having my Dad's parent's sealed to each other and then to their children.

These events are sacred to me and I fear that my over use of words will detract from it in some way. But it did transpire and it was special. The sealer was wonderful. He took the time to learn our family's story and shared faith inspired counsel. It was a memorable event. Days later, I'd personally feel of my Grandmother's gratitude that the work for her family was finally done.

Andrew and I spent so much of the weekend, President's Day included, together. We haven't enjoyed that much time together, without the kids, in a very long time. There wasn't anything traditional about it but will definitely be one for the books. I love you, Andrew. Thank you for taking the day off of work to be there with me. 

Why Mormons Build temples, click here: 
Here's a link to Rob's obituary and a few misc. photos.

A teenage Rob, Rob's glasses and my Grandma Marie
 He loved nature. 
 My Grandparents: Daniel Straup Mays and Darlene Marie Ford Mays with Rob
They are now a forever family. :)

 Eternal companions: Rob and Laurie Mays
My Dad introduced them. 
Laurie was my Dad's seminary student and he lined them up.
 My Mom, Aunt Laurie, Rob and an unknown (to me) body of water
This is how I'll remember him. 
Friendly disposition, easy smile, joking with my brother Mark.

And finally, here are a few photos from the burial. 
My Grandpa's second wife, Katie Mays
and my Dad serving a pallbearer to his younger brother.

 My sweet Aunt Laurie

1 comment:

Cannonball said...

Your Aunt Betty is my sweet Grandma. I get teary eyed when I see her too! You Ali look just like your grandma! I had the privilege of knowing Aunt ReRe as we called her. Growing families makes it hard to see extended family. What a powerful connection family is. If I've ever met you I sally don't remember but I feel like I know you! Betty turns 90 this summer and she and Jim will celebrate 70 years of marriage this May... why do I mention this? There is going to be a big party so you should come!!!