Milly – The Epilogue


This card was passed out at the memorial service.

It’s an odd thing to say that a eulogy was inspirational.  Yet for Milly, how could it be anything less?  And, it’s unusual to laugh out loud at the words the minister says about someone who is deceased.  But again, when it comes to Milly…

It happened like this:

Milly’s funeral, a memorial service, was held in an old New England church – 250 years old to be exact – in pouring rain and humidity that felt like I was sitting in the rain.  My husband and I arrived quite early, only to discover everyone else had the same idea.  The church was packed.  Sardines in a sauna.  The minister was a young man who didn’t know Milly well.  He began by telling the congregation of his first meeting with Milly.

“Where’s my quilt?” Milly asked me.  I’ve had plenty of odd questions, but that one took the cake.  Here I was, new to the church, and this woman comes right up to me and asks about her quilt.  What quilt?

Everyone is laughing!  And the minister continues.

You see, Milly had made a huge quilt for the 250th anniversary of the church.  I had no idea, but Milly told me all about it.  And, where was it?  After months of searching, the quilt was found tucked away in a box during renovations.  We found her quilt four days after she died.  It now hangs again.

I look around and see the faces of many quilters and friends.  Milly is at peace.  Be sad if you must, but she would want you to celebrate her life.  She is at peace.

Peace!  Of course.  No wonder the Peace Quilts we made together are wonderful.  That was Milly.  Yup!

A church that was full of quilters knew the story he told.  I didn’t.  After all, my time with Milly was only in the last ten years.  I looked around and thought of all the experiences and quilting she, and they, must have had.  I felt like a little girl at Thanksgiving listening to all the stories the grown-ups told.  And so, I listened.

Milly’s son gave the eulogy.  He pointed out two quilts displayed in front of the alter alongside all the flowers.  One was the first quilt he had as a child.  The other was a recent one.

Mom made it this year, and I asked her if I could have it.  I’ve never asked her for a quilt.  She was so happy.  So now I have two, one from the beginning of my life, and one from the end of hers.

When Mom first became sick and was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, I spent that night with her.  She told me story after story, things I’d never known.  She was happy.  Afterwards, she had no recollection of that night nor the stories she had told.

I had witnessed her soul.

My mother can be described in one word. Love.

Yes, she can.

Jennie

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, Death and dying, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Inspiration, Love, Peace, quilting, storytelling, wonder and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Milly – The Epilogue

  1. beetleypete says:

    If anyone ever deserved to rest in peace, it’s Milly.
    Thanks for that lovely conclusion to her story, Jennie.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Opher says:

    What a remarkable woman!!

  3. Such a wonderful life for such a wonderful person. Thanks for sharing this epilog, Jennie.

  4. Ritu says:

    Just so touching. Milly RIP ❤

  5. My tissue is wet once more. And I’m laughing at the same time. Beautiful epilogue. Nuff said. 🙂

  6. A lovely funeral for Millie, Jennie. Her son’s story about the two quilts was really beautiful.

  7. Darlene says:

    What a perfect memorial for Milly. I love the quilt stories from the young minister and her son. Not surprised the church was packed. A special woman for sure. xo

    • Jennie says:

      It was a special funeral, Darlene. Like you, I was so struck by the stories. And the church was nearly full 30 minutes before the funeral. She was amazing!

  8. I have enjoyed this beautiful series of stories about your children and their beloved Milly. I feel as though I knew her myself, and I am blessed for it.

  9. srbottch says:

    Wonderful, Jennie. It’s sad to see friends ‘move on’, but it’s the way it happens, isn’t it. And we surely must feel blessed when someone shares a bit of their life with us. You and Milly were destined to me and write that wonderful 10 year chapter. I gave my mother’s eulogy. Sometimes I had them laughing and sometimes not. Well
    Always remember the good times about someone. Again, my condolences, Jennie.

    • Jennie says:

      I feel like you, Steve. I don’t dwell on the sorrow because that’s life. I look at all the good and smile. Just as it should be. I’m glad to hear that when you gave your mother’s eulogy there was laughing. Yes, always remember the good times about someone. Thank you!🙂

  10. Dan Antion says:

    I’m certain Milly would be happy with the way you shared these important memories. Rest In Peace – for sure.

  11. Thank you for sharing her with us Jennie. She was remarkable!

  12. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is the Epilogue to Jennie’s wonderful series on Milly.

  13. What a wonderful legacy Milly left behind! I have a lot of reading about Milly to catch up on, and I’m looking forward to it!

  14. sjhigbee says:

    It sounds like a wonderful funeral for a wonderful lady. Thank you so much for sharing her remarkable story, Jennie:)

  15. Norah says:

    What a fitting celebration of Milly’s life. She obviously made a wonderful contribution to the world. A life well-lived. Thanks for sharing her with us, Jennie. I know you will miss Milly, but I feel your acceptance of this next, perhaps more peaceful, part of her journey. Take care.

  16. ren says:

    I am grateful to hear that people could laugh with Milly, at her Memorial Service. Just as she wanted……
    Hugz Jennie and thank you again for bringing Milly to us. You are blessed to have had ten wonderful years with her. She loves you dearly…..

  17. What a beautiful tribute to Milly and her life of giving, beauty, and, of course, peace. Thanks for sharing her story, Jennie. This last episode left me teary with gratefulness. 🙂

  18. dgkaye says:

    Oh Jennie. This was a beautiful epilogue that sewed up the story of Milly beautifully. She will live on through her legacy of quilts in the hearts of many. And I also loved the part her child saw her soul. It gave me goosebumps. ❤

  19. What a beautiful epilogue.. For a beautiful soul.. ❤ I am still tearful, after attending two funerals myself this past two week.. a dear old friend and my last remaining uncle.. Milly's son I know will cherish his mothers Quilts.. That will I am sure remain heirlooms..
    Love and hugs Jennie..

  20. Reblogged this on K. D. Dowdall and commented:
    Milly, the Epilogue –

  21. may we each know a Milly in our own life’s.

  22. When my mother passed, several hundred people unexpectedly showed up at the service to tell us how she had touched them…this in a community we had lived in for a short time, though she had grown in a town nearby decades before. Then an old boyfriend of hers showed up to tell us how he had carried a torch for some forty years…even lost his marriage because he couldn’t get her out of his heart. We were stunned. And it brought such comfort to realize we just never know whose lives we touch, but that people do in fact remember. And our lives are not lived in vain.

    • Jennie says:

      What a wonderful story of your mother and the man who carried a torch for her. Wow! You are right, we really don’t know the lives we touch. We just have to realize that we make a difference and people remember. No small act of kindness is forgotten. Thank you, KC!

  23. Sarah says:

    Beautiful eulogy! I had to smile reading about her first meeting with the minister and asking him about her quilt! 😊

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