Friday, November 2, 2018

Beverly Jane Gunther: May 25, 1928-August 10, 2018

I never expected to lose my mother before my father. He had a stroke in the summer of 2016 and overnight he lost his memory. Three weeks later we had to place him in a memory care home because he could not be left alone.

It was hard on my father--he didn't understand why he wasn't at home. But it was very hard on my mother, living alone. By January of 2017, she decided she didn't  want to live alone any longer. Then came the dilemma of making the best decisions for their future. She really wanted to "have at least one more year of living with Dad." Ultimately, we moved both of them to Palm Village, in the memory care unit. They downsized from a three-bedroom home to a single room. A single room! That was not an easy transition. My mother did not have memory issues. Yet she was living in a memory care facility.

She did not complain. And I know it was a difficult transition for her. I think one of the hardest days was the day when her grand piano was picked up to be sold. She lived a life full of music. She taught piano lessons until she was 89. Her students loved her. Many of them started in second grade--she liked her students to be able to read and for their hands to be able to span an octave. And many stayed with her until they graduated from high school.

Her biggest joy, one that came toward the end of her piano teaching career, was teaching her two great grandchildren, Charlotte and Levi, how to play the piano. She made an exception for them, starting them earlier than second grade.
Our daughter-in-law, Christa, wrote this on an Instagram post in 2017, and it makes me teary-eyed every time I read it.
She was so very proud of these two. She loved them completely and deeply.

My father used to say that my mother "came alive" when a student came for a piano lesson, and I believe that.

Later, I found that she had saved every membership card from every music association she had joined, no matter that the membership had lapsed.
Looking back over the summer, I don't think she felt well for several months. But when her health started to deteriorate, it went quickly. I'm glad about that.

Her service was held on Wednesday, August 22. There was a short graveside service.

A memorial service was held shortly thereafter. It was a celebration of her life.

My brother, Jeff, delivered the eulogy.
Aaron read some scripture from the New Testament.
Mark read some scripture from the Old Testament.
My cousin, Bud, sang the songs requested by my mother.
Christa played a beautiful piano solo, an arrangement of a very special family hymn, "It is Well With My Soul."
It was a lovely service. My mother would have enjoyed it.
My mother was an only child; my father had 10 siblings. He and his 94-year-old sister, Rubena, are the only ones remaining.
Our sister-in-law, Gracie, and Aunt Rubena

This is kind of a heart-wrenching photo--my father misses her so very much. They were married just one month over 70 years.
Mark and I received some lovely flower bouquets.

But by far my favorite thing was this note written by a piano student. This student, Roberta, was in her 50s or 60s, and developed a very close friendship with my mother. I think this little note says it all.  I now carry it in my wallet.
My mother lived her life with grace and style. She loved her family deeply and they loved her. She is missed.


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Charlotte said... #

I'm so sorry for your loss xx

Karee said... #

Peace be with you.

quiltingbydawn said... #

This was so touching. It reminds me of when we lost my mom. So sorry for your loss.

Driven Quilter said... #

Such a moving tribute. My sympathy to you and your family.

Robby said... #

My deepest sympathies to you and your family, such a hard loss. And yet, I see in these pictures the way your posts always show your family, caring deeply about one another and living a full life.

Kathryn said... #

Aren't those of us with wonderful moms just so blessed. And she was blessed as well.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

I'm sure this wasn't an easy post to write but I'm so glad you did. Sharing your sweet Mother with us is a gift and reminds me of my own Mom who's been gone for almost 13 years now. I still miss her. It's so very special that your grandkids got to learn piano from her. I'm sure it was the highlight of her teaching career to pass her love of music and her talents on to her great grandchildren. Very very special. Hope you're doing ok.

Carla said... #

Cindy, I have a lump in my throat reading your endearing and obvious love and admiration of your mother. What a wonderful privilege your family has had to have her in their lives. . I know that you miss her very much. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us.

Jocelyn said... #

I am so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

Mary said... #

Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute with us. I, too, was surprised when I lost my father before my mother. My mother had had various health ailments and my father seemed to be the stronger one but that ended up not to be the case.

Susan said... #

We never get over missing our mums. Blessings to you all!

Heidi Staples said... #

Praying for you, Cindy. My heart hurts for you, but you will see her again, and I'm so glad. Much love...Heidi