Yesterday morning I went to Tarah's parent's house to spend some time with her and the family. She wanted me to help her write her mother's obituary
, which we did while also going through about 10,000 pictures with her stepfather and little sisters. We drove downtown to the Ledger to turn in the obituary and have them scan in the picture of Lynn to appear in the paper alongside it, and to allow her the opportunity to get out of the house for a bit. After we finished up at the paper, we wandered around downtown for a bit so she could see how much it had changed and pass the time. Around 2:30 or so we made our way back to the house, where we found out more news about Lynn that go along with her final wishes.
To know Lynn Slaker, you would have had to know that her life was all about service to her children and the community at large. She was very active in the PTA and the clothing bank, she was on the Library board, and spent a lot of her time and energy working for the benefit of others. She was all about giving, it was her nature. Lynn felt that all children were her children, which is partly why there were so many around her all the time. It was one of the things we all loved most about her. We spent the rest of the afternoon planning for the memorial service this evening.
Lynn did not want a funeral. She, like her husband Chuck, and not unlike myself, feel that putting a family through the misery and torture of a funeral home is completely unnecessary. She wanted a memorial service and she wanted to donate her body to research. The Medical College of Georgia is taking her body. They will use it for a year, possibly a little longer. Chuck explained to Tarah, the children, and I that he was concerned about what will happen to her body after this time passes, so he asked the head of the research program about it. The man explained that there is an onsite crematory, as they do not trust outside services for the people they use. After her time is spent there, she will be cremated and her remains sent to Chuck in an urn. Sitting at the family's table, Chuck held Tarah's hand and through sobs explained "See? Mama gets to give for another year and then she's coming home."
Despite all of our aches and tears, this was happy news - if for no other reason because it is exactly as Lynn would want it to be.
The PTA has set up a memorial fund in her name for the children and any medical bills incurred, which are substantial. They are also voting on an annual student award in her name, which I think would make her very proud. I find it very indicative of Lynn and her ability to affect change and make a difference that even in death, she continues to give in more ways than one. There is a story in this morning's paper
about her, and her memorial service is this 7PM this evening at St. Mark's church. Her 17 year old daughter Merideth, the 4th of her 6 children, will be singing Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" in honor of her mother. I wished we all had as much resilience and strength as Lynn's children have, perhaps her greatest legacy to them. Chuck, the children and I are going to scan and print out some of the pictures of Lynn for the service later this morning.
Chuck and I agreed that of all the pictures, this one was our favorite. It shows her just as we choose to remember her, loving the kids.
Thank you all on behalf of the family for all of the well wishing and energy, it is greatly appreciated.
Lynn, I love and miss you and am grateful for all of the love you've given me in return over the years. A significant part of who I am comes from your examples, I am honored to have always been considered a part of your family, and will do my best to keep them as I do my own.