Monday, April 21, 2014

Remembering my mom

at Maria's wedding Aug 2008
At my friend Maria's wedding in August 2008.   I'm wearing S3833.

I'm really sorry to write this post to tell you all, my sweet sewing friends and blog readers, that my dear mom Judy Burkhardt suddenly passed away in the early evening of Saturday, April 5, 2014.

It was a shock and surprise to us all, though looking back the signs were there starting in the fall of 2012.

Mom and Dad, June 13, 1964
June 13, 1964.

It is really hard to believe she is gone.  She was 69.  If she had lived 10 more weeks, my parents would have reached 50 years of marriage.  They were high school sweethearts who had dated for 5 years before that.  And they still liked and loved each other!!

My parents.  Mom is 15 and Dad is 16.
My parents at 15 and 16 years of age.

Dad and I co-wrote her obituary and her eulogy. I might post the eulogy on my blog, or I might not.  Not sure yet.   The funeral was amazing, if a funeral can be such a thing.  We had the funeral in her hometown of Florence, NJ and had the funeral director, who went to high school with my parents and who my mom actually liked, read the eulogy Dad and I wrote.  We estimated mom gave away over a thousand bouquets in her lifetime.  We did not ask for donations because we wanted the flowers to come back to her.  The amount of "floral support" was outstanding--it was like a wall of flowers.  My uncle sent an amazing bouquet that the funeral home put in my mom's hands.  It was gorgeous.  Dad had the idea to bring the cat apron I made her for Christmas, and we draped it on her arm and over the side of the casket.     We dressed her in one of her typical outfits--white turtleneck, turquoise button down shirt, cream sweater, unbuttoned, with a cat pin.  She was always wearing cat or heart pins/necklaces.

Mom's first & favorite car
Mom's first car:  1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, in turquoise burgundy

The support of all her communities was outstanding--Dad's family including my 98 year old great aunt Iris; Mom's high school classmates (she organized a monthly luncheon and loved chatting with them); her Wall neighbors; Dad's coworkers who all knew her from the summer picnics and Christmas parties she helped organize (and my dad's been retired for almost 13 years now!); my former and current coworkers who all knew her from the mini-pumpkins she decorated and gave to them, but most of whom she never met; my third grade teacher who we kept in touch with--she gave flowers to him on his birthday every year; my friend from the gym representing the evening rampers; my childhood best friend and her whole family--she always thought of my mom as her second mom and mom thought of her as a second daughter; even a college friend who is a professor trying to get tenure and has a family of her own but took the train from MA to attend the funeral because "that's the impression your mother made on me."

4 generations Dec 1975
4 generations:  my great-grandmother Mema, my mom, me at almost 2 months of age and my grandmom in 1975.

Mom loved the internet and email.  She was the number one fan of my blog.  She must have been constantly checking to see if I wrote a new post; sometimes she'd email and comment on what I had made when I had just pressed the post button a few minutes before.  She always emailed me her comments; she never left one on my blog itself.  She was also fond of reading the blogs on my blog roll, in particular Sidewalk Shoes for the kitty cat pictures on Saturdays (Pam, we *both* loved your story of how Coco came to be in your life because it was so much like our Cali cat), and Marisa at New Dress a Day (she often would tell me to check out something interesting or a scandalously low bust line on Marisa's blog).    She also really enjoyed I can has cheezburger for the LOL Cats.

Mom's favorite picture of the two of them.
My mom's favorite picture of her and dad, taken in Myrtle Beach in the late 80's/early 90's.

Mom read all the comments you, my readers, left on my blog and sometimes she would email me about your comments, or she'd say "your sewing friends are going to love all this detail" when I'd write an overly long and picture heavy post.

Oct 1985
1985:  Mom, Aunt Barb, Uncle Jim, Grandmom, Granddad
Me, my cousins Kris, Ryan, Jamie

She was so sad, like I was, when GwenSews passed away; she couldn't believe it either and she cried like I did. She said she felt like she knew Gwen, as did I, even though we never met Gwen--but Gwen had commented on almost every post I had written since Gwen found my blog at the end of Jan 2012 2010 and mom read every one!

August 1997
Before going back to Bryn Mawr for my senior year, 1997

I wore my favorite dress, Vogue 1351, to mom's funeral.  I wasn't sure about wearing it with the red belt but Dad said I should wear what I'd like and dress like me.  The red belt is me.

Mother's Day 1977
Me and mom on Mother's Day 1977.  Mom is 32 and I'm 18 months.

As for my dad and myself, we are doing ok.  I have always had a great relationship with my dad but we are spending more time together and learning more about each other.  The obituary, eulogy, and funeral came together better because we worked on it together.  We are grieving but are functional.   At work,  the software upgrade happened on April 12, the day after mom's funeral. My kind and amazing boss said we could move it but I felt like we were so close to go-live we should just do it.  My coworkers were a huge help and I am grateful to them.  I am still working on this other huge software project that goes live July 1.  I'm looking at that project like my college degree:  I've been setting aside things I want to do in order to work on the project and just get it done. I had been keeping a list of things I'd like to do after go-live that I haven't been able to do personally.  I had gotten myself onto a schedule that let me go to the gym after work, work 6 days a week, keep the house clean, and do sewing on Sundays before Mom's death.  I think the sewing is going to slide for now but I'd like to pick it up again after go-live.  I really want to get back into making dresses.  I have somehow gotten mired in fit and I just want sewing to be fun again.  Time is so precious, life is so short to spend it on struggling over fit (besides many other things).

Thank you Mom.  I love you.  I miss you. I can't believe you're gone.

 Be well.


67 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry about your mom. What you wrote about her was lovely. Take care and best wishes to you and your dad.

    Katherine (in Australia)

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  2. Kyle I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how painful that is. I wish the best to you, your dad and your family.

    Hopefully you can power through the last bits of the work project and take a breather.

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  3. Kyle, I am so sorry for your loss. Your mother sounds like an amazing woman. How painful and terrible to lose her.

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  4. Very sorry for your lose, Kyle. You and your dad are in my prayers.

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  5. I rarely comment though I read your blog nearly as closely as did your mom. Today's entry is hard to read as I know you are in pain. So, so, sorry Kyle. My thoughts are with you and your dad. The relationship the two of you have will be balm for the soul for both of you in the months ahead.

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  6. Kyle, I am so sorry for your and your Dad's loss. It's a beautiful post about your Mum and your relationship. She was so young. Remember one day at a time. My thoughts are with you.

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, Kyle. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post with us. You and your dad will be in my prayers. Grace and peace to you.

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  8. Oh Kyle, my heart does hurt for you. As you wrote, it is obvious that your Mom touched so many lives and brought so many smiles to others. What a gem! We are never ready to give up our mothers. I lost mine over 10 years ago and I continue to miss her each day, but I am so thankful to have had such a wonderful lady to call Mom. Take care and take your time to deal with everything. Hugs to you and your Dad.

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss Kyle. Your mom sounds like she was your biggest fan and a wonderful woman. Take care. We'll all we waiting to hear from you when you are able.

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  10. A beautiful tribute to your mom. I am going through the same thing -- my mom, who was 67, died suddenly on April 6. It is a good thing to have had moms that we loved, and who loved us. Peace to you.

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  11. Kyle, I am so sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. As someone who has lost a parent, you'll have good days and bad days but you will make it through. I agree that the sewing should be fun and you will come back to it when it's time. You and your Dad will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  12. I'm so very sorry to hear this sad news, Kyle. Hugs to you from Texas.

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  13. I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Kyle. Your Mom sounds like a wonderful person. This was a wonderful tribute to her.

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  14. Oh Kyle, I am so sorry to hear about your Mom's passing! Thank you for sharing your memories of her with us. Much love.

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  15. Sorry about your Mom. She sounds like a great lady. I love that pic of her and your Dad at 15/16, really cute.
    Mary in Thailand

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  16. Oh Kyle, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. What a wonderful tribute you wrote for her. And she had a great send off. My heart goes out to you and your dad.

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  17. Oh, honey, I'm so sorry for your loss. Take all the time you need to grieve -- we all do it differently. Know that your readers are thinking of you and your dad, and that our prayers and good wishes for both of you are a strong and mighty support.

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  18. So sorry to hear about your Mom. I am happy to hear about your recollections of the funeral and the outpouring of flowers and love. Funerals are funny like that-joy and sorrow, happy recollections and deep grief. What a beautiful post you wrote about her. Thank you for sharing your life. I really enjoy your blog and read each post.

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  19. Dear Kyle,
    I am so sorry to hear of the sudden passing of your
    Mom. You and your family are in my thoughts. Sending you strength duri g this sad time.

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  20. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like your mom was an amazing woman and such an outpouring from family, friends and community.

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  21. I just cried when I read your post this morning. You are so incredibly lucky to have had this woman as your mother.
    May you follow in her footsteps.

    You need some quick sewing projects so you can pop in every once in a while so we can see how you are doing.

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  22. Kyle, i am so sorry for your loss. Having lost my mother now 25 (!) years ago I can only say that it does get better but there will be times,certain shows, movies that will bring tears to your eyes. However, I feel my mother is with me more now than then. When I sew (she was a crafter of all types) she is with me as none of this would have happened without her. i use her supplies and books so she is always with me when I'm doing the thing i love most. I hope you will surround yourself with things that bring your mother's spirit close to you too. Take care, my heart goes out to you.

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  23. Kyle, I am so very sorry for your terrible loss, but so glad that you wrote this wonderful post to share some aspects of her life with us. I just loved hearing about how closely she followed your blog and shared in your sewing adventures.

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  24. Wow Kyle, just wow! I was saddened to read of your mom's passing. It sounds like she was an amazing woman who left behind a great legacy. She lived her life making those around her matter. How brave of you to write this for her. I wish you all the hope, all the comfort, and all the peace moving forward. Prayers and hugs...

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  25. So sorry for your loss. Your post was an amazing tribute to your mom. What a special woman!

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  26. I am so sorry. Your words express your deep love and admiration for your mother so well. Thank you for sharing, and big virtual hug your way.

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  27. Such a huge transition when a parent dies, a very profound part of life's journey. Hugs, kisses and condolences.

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  28. Hugs!!! Your Mom Sounds Absolutely Wonderful, So Is Your Dad. My Condolences To YoU, Your Dad And Family On The Passing Of Your mom.

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  29. I'm very sorry, Kyle. Your post has shared with us what an amazing and wonderful woman your Mom has been. I could always see on your blog the love you share with your parents. My deepest condolences for you and your Dad.

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  30. I'm so sorry for your loss, Kyle. Clearly your mom was a very special person, and that quality will always be with you. Sending you virtual hugs and positive vibes during your time of grief.

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  31. Kyle, I am so sorry to hear your sad news. I know you will keep those wonderful memories close.
    Hugs from your PR Philly NJ sewing buddy

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  32. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful and loving tribute to your mom. Take care of yourself and God bless you and your dad.
    Mermie

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  33. I'm so sorry to read this. What a beautiful lady your mother was! I enjoyed what you shared about her and pray all those happy memories bring you comfort and peace.

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  34. Kyle, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. How lucky you are to have had such a special relationship. After meeting you, I would think that you are a lot like your mom in your kind spirit and generosity. I will keep your dad and you in my prayers. Thank you for sharing a little bit of her with all of us. I really loved the Mother's Day picture.

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  35. Oh Kyle I'm so sorry. Your mum must have been an amazing person. Thinking of you.

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  36. Kyle, what a beautiful post. I'm so sorry for your loss, your mum sounds like a truly amazing woman to so many people.

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  37. I am so sorry for your loss Kyle. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. What a blessing to be her daughter.

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  38. Your mom sounds like a fantastic woman. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.

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  39. So sorry to hear the bad news. You did a great job with your write-up; I feel like I knew your mom a little bit. Take care of yourself!

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  40. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May sweet memories of your Mom comfort you today and many more.

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  41. Kyle, I am so sorry to read of your mom's passing. This was a very touching tribute to her. The love amongst your family and friends shines bright. May it carry you through this difficult time. You and your dad are in my thoughts and prayers.

    AnitaJ

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  42. Kyle please accept my sincere sympathy in losing your Mother. My heart goes out to you and your Dad really. It seems like you and your Mother were such great friends.

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  43. Hugs to you and your family.

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  44. Kyle, I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for peace and strength for you and your Dad during this difficult time.

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  45. Kyle, I'm sorry for your loss. Your mother sounds like a lovely person. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts.

    Rose in SV

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  46. Condolences.
    May you and your Dad continue to be supported by the love of friends and family.

    Brenda

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  48. I read your blog regularly and I was very sad to read of your mom's death. The pictures are so special especially the one of your parents as young teens, May God bless and comfort you and your family as you deal with your great loss.

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  49. Kyle, I am so sorry to hear about your mom, your family will definitely be in my prayers. This was a beautiful tribute and post to your mom...God Bless!

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  50. Kyle I am so sorry to hear about your mom's passing. What a beautiful tribute you wrote about her. I know she is smiling down on you right now. You and your Dad are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  51. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May the love and support of your family and friends bring some measure of comfort during this difficult time.

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  52. I'm so sorry to hear this. What a beautiful tribute you've written here. Your family sounds wonderful.

    Thinking of you and your dad.

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  53. Kyle, I am so sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful tribute to a wonderful mother. You and your father are in my thoughts. Take care.

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  54. Kyle, so sorry to hear this news. what a beautiful blog post. hugs to you and your dad.

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  55. I'm so sorry to hear your sad news, what a wonderful lady your Mum was and what a touching tribute to her. I'm thinking of you and your family.

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  56. Kyle - I'm so to hear such sad news. This was a grand tribute to your mom and your dad. God bless you and your family.

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  57. So sorry to hear about your Mom. What a lovely blog post about your mother. It was evident that your mom touched many people. She must have been generous with her talents and love! It is so good for us ( your readers) to be reminded that is a good thing to give of ourselves because our giving will live on in the memories and hearts of others.
    I will be praying for you and your dad.

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  58. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Your tribute to her is beautiful. Blessings to you and your family.

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  59. So sorry for your loss. :( Your mother sounds like a truly incredible woman. Thank you so much for sharing her story.

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  60. Dear Kyle,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. You wrote such a beautiful post remembering your mom. You and your dad are in my prayers, ~Mush

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