It is a tradition where my parents live to have a memorial "party" when someone dies. As you all know, my mother died in May and we knew that we would be having a celebration on her birthday, November 3rd. I arrived in Florida on Sunday night, my sister got there on Monday evening and on Wednesday we helped my dad host a wonderful celebration of my mother's life. Many people use the party room and a caterer for these events, but my dad wanted to have it in their home and he wanted us to do the food. That is exactly what my mother would have done. We took a few shortcuts because it is a bit tricky to drive over 1000 miles and put together a party for about 60 people in 2 days.
We used tropical flowers on the table.
You may see a few familiar dishes on the table. I actually brought a couple things from home because I wasn't sure if my mom had anything like them. I had ironed the table runner when I was there in July and hung it in a closet. I also had pulled out the platters I thought we would need and had them all together in a cabinet so I could get to them easily.
I thought the florist did a wonderful job
matching the flowers to the napkins.
Ham and Turkey Mini-Sandwiches
Relishes and Dip
Assorted Cheeses and Fruit
Olives and Pickles
Cheese Cake Minis
My parent's home is all done in white. We knew that my mom was a bit "protective" of her white carpet with us, but even her friends were aware of it. Needless to say, there were a few spills and much discussion about what mom would think. When the party was slowing down, I finally filled a plate and sat down to eat something. I immediately flipped my plate upside down on the white couch. The room went quiet and then someone said, "I'm glad the daughter did it"! The chair above isn't usually sitting there...this is a pre-party photo and we had scattered the dining room chairs around the room.
My niece had made a wonderful video of my mom's life. It started with the picture of my parents you see above and had pictures of the two of them, my sister and I as babies, our weddings and our children. It was set to Moon River, my mother's favorite song. It made me miss her to watch it, but it also told the story of a very full and happy life. Who can really ask for more than that?
Before leaving for Florida, I had been struggling for a few weeks with a bad case of the blues. I didn't care that the holidays were coming, I hated my birthday and I would have been pretty happy to just crawl in bed and stay there a while. Having this party seems to have really helped me. A funeral and visitation are normal ways to get through the death of a loved one. My mother's funeral was nice and we did see people we hadn't seen in years, but we were in shock and so sad at that time. Having this gathering of her good friends 5 months after her death was truly a blessing. Many of these people I didn't know and yet I could feel the love all around for my mom and my dad. When the evening ended, I was really tired...but, I felt good. My mom would have loved it, spills and all!
I'm joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.
Please visit her and see the most gorgeous tables in all of Blogland!
What a lovely tribute to your mom. I am sure she is so proud of you girls, and your dad is too.
You did a beautiful job - the table is lovely. I'm sure your father must have been very happy to have had this celebration in your mum's memory - it's such a good idea.
Sue, I had a tear in my eye from the minute I saw that precious picture of your parents, so much in love and so adorable! Look at the gardenia in her hair... both of them stylish and handome/pretty!
What a beuatiful table with such delicious food. And I loved your story about the white sofa accident and what that person said, "I'm glad the daughter did it!" LOL! So cute. And I'm glad you had this time to celebrate her life. I'm sorry you've been so blue, and I hope this will help you get through that slump that you feel once the shock wears off. I know your mother would have been proud, too, because this was truly a lovely event.
Sue, what a great pary you had! Funny story about the white couch! Great flowers! Glad this perked you up! Great way to celebrate your mom's life! Joni
Sue, how beautiful. What a wonderful tribute to your Mom. I am sure your Dad was so glad you came. It all looks fantastic.
Sue, what a wonderful tribute to your mom. Gorgeous table and the food looks wonderful.
Sounds and looks like everything was a success. Flipping the plate over sounds like something I would do. :D
What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. Everything looked lovely. Still struggling here with Mom's passing in May and now Bill (my SO) Mom passed away this past Saturday. Her funeral is on Friday...which is 6 months to the date Mom passed. The holidays are going to be difficult this year. Hugs to you as I know how hard it is.
As far as your flipping plate....that is so me. ;)
This really touched me. What a wonderful, healthy thing to do. And later like you did, after the initial shock and sadness have abated. I sure wish we'd done something like that. I'd still like to, and it's been 30yrs since my mom died. The best thing we did was one sister and I and my dad opened the over 200 cards and read the beautiful things people said about mom, people we didnt' even know. That is my beautiful memory, and you brought it back so thank you so much for sharing.
Oh what a wonderful celebration, Sue! I love your whole family's attitude towards death. I hope I can be like that too if ever my turn comes....Christine
I love the pic of your Mom and Dad!
Your Mom was really gorgeous!
What a great idea and a lovely tribute to your Mother.
The table is just beautiful Sue, what a nice tribute to your Mom:@)
You mentioning Moon River just made me teary. My dad loved that song too and it made me miss him. I think it is a wonderful idea to have a celebration like this. I smiled when I heard about your upturned plate. Everything looks just lovely - the perfect tribute to your mother. I loved seeing the old photo.
When my mother commented on someone being beautiful, she would say, "She looks like a movie star." When I saw the photo link your post, I thought, "They must be Sue's parents" and "They look like movie stars."
Everything about the event sounds wonderful, from concept to presentation. There was obviously a great deal of love in that room. I know the moments of laughter (the plate/white sofa incident) were mingled with sadness and longing. It does get a little easier, but our mothers remain in our hearts forever.
BEAUTIFUL post my Dear friend...I so feel your pain and your Dad's...A BIG ole cyber hug to you Sue...Hugs and smiles Gloria
This was a lovely post in honor of your mother and it looks like a beautiful dinner was enjoyed by all. La
What a wonderful tradition! I know it was a blessing to you, your sister, and your dad to be surrounded by so many of your mother's friends on her birthday. You did a marvelous job of hosting a huge party with two days to do it!
That is one of the most wonderful traditions I have ever heard!!! What a wonderful way to celebrate the memory of your Mom. You guys did a terrific thing, and I'm sure your Dad was so proud of you!
Oh what a sweet tribute and tradition. I know that you're so glad that you were able to feel the love for your mother through family and friends -- everything looks picture party perfect!
How wonderful to celebrate your mom's life and what a great job you and your sister did preparing in such a short time. Amazing what we can do when we have to. I'm glad your blues turned a brighter hue.
What a lovely way to honor your mother and remember her in such a wonderful way. I'm sure she would be pleased and proud of the gathering you organized (except, of course, spilling on the white couch!). I'm sure this was as much a comfort to your dad as it was a help to you. It is really a wonderful idea.
It sounds like the largest spill was the love for your mom and dad spilling throughout the house. Such a marvelous healing tradition...I know that it must have been a 'good tired.' Thank you for sharing your lovely design. Cherry Kay
Such a fantastic idea...to have a PARTY to celebrate her beautiful life. And you DESERVE all that warmth and friendship around you...you're a great (virtual and real) Momma!!
Looks like a lovely party, Sue! Great job :)
You never cease to amaze me! To pull off such a lovely tribute to your mom in TWO DAYS — My sunhat is off to you and your sis! And honey, from what I've learned about your family through your blog, I'll just bet your mom was laughing when you spilled that plate!
I read back and saw that you met DeeDee, isn't meeting blogging friends wonderful? I know our day will come, I know this for sure.
That is beautiful Sue. I'm sure your mother would have loved it. In fact I'm sure she loved having you all there to celebrate her, the spills included :-)
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