Monday, July 23, 2007

A Celebration of Life

Words and even pictures cannot capture the beauty and blessing of this last weekend. Friday night friends, family, loved ones, students, gathered to remember and celebrate Lynne. Rather than call it a wake( which Lynne would have hated) I chose to call it greet and eat. I greeted and received so many hugs from folks that my arms are still tired but my heart is still full.

Lynne's celebration service was indeed a celebration. Through singing, reading poems, sharing, laughing, and crying Lynne's life was remembered and celebrated, her death was also sadly mourned. Below are pictures from both events that is a small way capture the wonder of the time.

Our friend July Medeiros created an amazing visual tribute to Lynne. Photos were contributed by good friend Kim Ramsdale.
Even the corners held images of Lynne's life. Here she is with the kids.
Our dear friend Maria looks at the photos of the first 40 years of Lynne's life.

Lynne's mom Eunice read the 23 Psalm and many joined along with her.

Lucy and friends Emily and Eli sing along.
The choir lifted their voices to "You Raise Me up"!!!
Lucy opened the service with one of Lynne's favorite poems by e.e.cummings.
Rob and Jessie played along with a singing a long of some of Lynne's favorite gospel songs.

Even I got in the mix singing "Draw Me Close"

Nathaniel found a smile (so did Lucy in the background). Many of their friends came, ran around with them outside, ate cookies with them, and a few even brought them special stuffed animals to help their sad heart.

After about an hour of the service Nathaniel climbed on my lap and asked if it was going to be over soon!
Over 600 strong gathered over the two days to celebrate and remember. Thanks to all of them, thanks to all of you!!!

Now what???

Much love, Patty


Anonymous said...

Such beautiful photos from such a lovely tribute and celebration. Thanks for posting.

Now what?

Now we stay close and hold on.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way to celebrate Lynne's life.

Anonymous said...

I think "what now" is that we will continue to walk with the Spirit, saddened, for sure, but also enriched and strengthened by what the Lord has taught us through Lynne and through you. We will use Lynne's and your experience and your incredible generosity in sharing it with us, to open up a little more with each other and to allow others to open up to us. We'll listen better and hug more deeply. We will remember enough of what we have learned about community to cherish and preserve the many communities to which we all belong. We will value them and nurture them because we have been shown what they can do in a crisis. We will love life and all of its gifts and, we will continue to thank God every day. We'll cry when we need to, laugh as much as we can and, think up new ways to let our lights shine! God is Good! All the time!!

Mary M

Anonymous said...

Dear Patty,

What now, you ask? Every person reading this blog has become a better human being, because of the grace you and Lynne showed us. --the magnitude of change depends upon how open each was to receiving the blessings provided by the two of you during the past year. I think that is Lynne's legacy to us: to love life and everything life brings our way; to find good in what appears to be a bad situation; to look for a rainbow after life's storms have passed; to realize that a grain of sand holds a universe; and to keep the best of each person and throw away the rest (that was relayed to me by Mary Flaherty).

I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on my life these past few months and have vowed to make a few changes: less critical and more accepting of others (and myself), intentionality in all that I do, and to tell others how I feel about them. I have already started that and hope God gives me the strength to continue to do so.

Lynne was a valued member of our department, yet after the service on Saturday, most of us felt as though we didn't know her as well as we should have/could have/wanted to know her. We decided to set aside time each 2 weeks for fellowship --no talk of work, just friendship and fellowship. I am certain Lynne will be watching over our times together, gently guiding our conversations toward positive and meaningful resolutions to the issues we face in life.

Your strength amazes me!

I hope you take time for yourself these next few days. Time to reflect on all the good Lynne did in this world, the love shown this weekend to your family, along with the special moments you and she shared together. Time to let your body heal from the exhuastion of caring for a loved one through their final hours. Time to rejuvinate after giving so much of yourself to all of us who needed it so dearly. And yes, time to cry with your beautiful children who must miss Mommy Lynne.

What now? Eat some really great ice cream and think of Lynne. Meditate while watching the sunset. Listen to the birds chirp. Hug the children just a little longer. Cherish each day you have with the chidren. Allow yourself time to heal, time to cry, and time to miss her. Listen for Lynne's voice, she will help you through the days, months, and years to come. Know that she is with you in all you do and feel; let her wisdom, insightful nature, and love for you serve as a beacon in times of doubt and sorrow.

I hope you find comfort in my words; sometimes I feel as though I don't know you well enough to share my thoughts. But, I am reminded of Lynne's post this Spring in which she stated that that we are all closer than we think, there really isn't a divide between us --only false barriers that we erect.

Sarah Carroll

Anonymous said...

The blog is called "Life Changing Cancer". Although Lynne was the one diagnosed with the cancer, that cancer has resulted in a change in many lives. Will we not continue to change now that Lynne is not physically here with us? How will we adjust to the changes? These life changes will have the biggest affect on Patty and the kids. Will it be theraputic to you, Patty, to have this forum to share your thoughts and feelings for a time? This "blog family" will certainly be interested in how the parsonage family is dealing with the changes.

It really comes down to you, Patty, as to what comes next in this blog and in your life. Whatever you decide, we will be there/here to support you. There is no need to rush. Just take one day at a time. And when things seem overwhelming, there is this song I learned from a pastor friend that says, "I cast all my cares upon you..."


Anonymous said...

Dear Patty,

The celebration of Lynne's life was truly a celebration and so full of what the gift of community means. There were so many lessons for Carol and I. I (Donna)actually hasn't even taken it all in. I need to take quiet time, lots of it. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts in the most sincere way.

Patty, Lucy and Nathaniel, may God and your loving community wash over you with tenderness, love and faith.

See you in a couple of weeks and our arms and hearts will welcome you however you need.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the pictures and continuing to share you thoughts and feelings with us. You continue even in this difficult time to be a model to me of what it truly means to be a pastor and more importantly what it means to be a woman who lives every moment of her life fully.

You asked "now what?" Now you rest in the arms of all those whose lives you've mentor and friend, there are too many to count!

Love and blessings,

noone said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us Patty.

What is Lynne's favourite poem by e.e. cummings?

As for what to do now, just go with the flow. You've all been through a lot.

My thoughts are with you and the kids

Anonymous said...

My heartfelt prayers and sympathies are with you all.

Unfortunately, I just discovered this blog yesterday, by way of Carl Wilton's blog, by way of Leroy Siever's!

I've spent the past two days reading all of the entries - starting from the beginning.

Wish I would have found it sooner so I could have sent a message to Lynne herself now and then.

Blessings and Peace to you Patty and the children!


Anonymous said...

What now? That is the unanswered question. Surely some great suggestions made from your community. Now it is time heal your family, to let people love and care for you. To fall into the arms of a community that is just waiting to hold you. Your loss is new, your emotions raw and tender, you will have good days and bad days. You will be caught off guard at times, filled with emotions you weren't expecting to be feeling. You will be forever changed and time will pass, and there will always be a hole in your life, that Lynne once filled. But life will catch you in it's wake, like the river in Utah you will go with the flow in order to survive. You will find many angels in your path, and you will recognize them. Your life's journey has just changed it's course, in many ways....but it is still your journey. The big part of the journey that you shared with Lynne, I'm sure, will sustain you through good times and bad. Memories of Lynne's sweet nature will make you smile some days, may make you weep others...I will always be changed for having had a chance to know Lynne, and to share such an intimate time with you all. May blessings fall around you like blossoms from a many love you. What now?

Anonymous said...

The wonderful tributes to Lynne and her fruitful life were fitting the giving,wise, loving woman that we all knew and loved so much.
I found that the music was especially uplifting and a way of releasing so much of the emotions that had been building inside each of us...our voices raising our spirits ...and through it all I felt Lynne's presence!! She WAS there!!....around us...within us...lifting us...connecting us.
...What now?
Now we go on ...but while holding eachother's hand, hugging a little longer, crying from a deeper place, laughing with a little more abandon and sharing life with it's stings and it's joys.
We have walked the walk with Lynne.
I am convinced that with her gifts to us...we are a little more prepared to walk alongside eachother without fear or hesitation. I believe that we have built a tight family of souls that are willing and eager to step forward together.
We will help eachother cross the creaky bridges, dance on with the cool breezes and carry eachother when one of us gets weary.
Lynne has taught us that we are not alone...nor do we have to fear what lies ahead.
We are together and will embrace life with all it's challenges and celebrations.

Anonymous said...

"Now what???" speaks loudly and clearly to me. That is exactly how I felt the day after my husband's memorial service almost four years ago. The pictures of him had been returned from the church to go back on the walls, the flowers and food were now in my home, and people who came into town were leaving. All of a sudden my house, except for my two young daughters and my pets, was extremely empty. What was I to do next? Run errands? Sit there feeling sad? Cook? Clean? Try to do something fun with the kids? Call someone on the phone? If so, who? I remember feeling that way really well.

I somehow stumbled upon this blog, and have been reading it. My husband died of a heart attack, and my new husband's wife died of cancer, so I have been drawn to reading it.

Getting through the minutes, hours, days, can be so difficult and painful. Just knowing that there were others that had experienced the same kind of pain and were strong enough to endure it helped me.

I think the "now what" is one of the hardest things. Friends and family were there for me, but not every second of every day, and I remember being in pain every second of every day. It sounds like you have people around you who understand that, and that you are someone who will reach out for them when you need them, no matter what time of day or night.

I hope the "now what" becomes clearer for you sooner rather than later. It is a tough road to travel down, but what choice do you have? All you can do is make the best of it. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Dear Patty,

Thank you for posting all the pictures of Lynne's joyfilled service. They certainly capture the spirit of the weekend. I am still overflowing with the outpouring of love for Lynne, you, Lucy and Nathaniel.

Carrie asked about the e e cummings poem. Since it is short, I'll include it here for others who might be curious. Lucy read "I thank You God" in a sweet, clear voice that brought tears to many eyes.

I thank You God

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human meerely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e e cummings

My voice joins so many others in thanking God that Lynne's path crossed mine.


Anonymous said...

now what ??? i guess pack for the beach and let the ocean begin the healing- it will be bittersweet, as lynne should be there with us, but i believe we will all begin to be healed- at least i hope so-
loved the picutres more than i could even say-
loving you always-
love, alice

noone said...

Bev, thank you :)
No wonder Lynne loved that poem. It's as if was written with her in mind.

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing it here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Patty, Lucy, & Nathaniel,

As you settle in to P-town once again, this time without Lynne's physical presence, I wanted to share with you a way that our kids have found to keep Lynne very much alive to them.

On the way out of Middleboro last Friday night, after the "meet and greet," we saw a deer off in the field to the right just past the church. Chris spotted it and it stood in the waning sunlight, lit up in gold as only the late day sun can do. Then on the way out of Middleboro on Saturday, Eli spotted another deer - this time much closer, right next to the whizzing cars on the southbound side of Route 24, facing in our direction. I suddenly felt, very deeply, that Lynne had sent us these deer, which I shared with Eli. We told the younger kids about it when they got home.

Ever since, we've all been finding Lynne in the wildlife that's come our way. On Sunday, she sent a flock of wild Turkeys to the kids' Sumner Road home. On Tuesday, she sent a rabbit to our backyard on Hackensack Road. Just yesterday, when I pointed out a Great-Blue Heron to Ezra as we cooled off at the Park School pool, he immediately said, "Lynne!" I agreed, then said to him, "I love Great Blue Herons." He replied, "I love Lynne."

As do we all.

Anonymous said...


The pictures are beutiful. What a true celebration of Lynne it was!

Thinking of you and the kids daily as you walk through the days to come. Hope you are finding comfort in Ptown. I have no doubt Lynne is right there with you!


Anonymous said...

I do not know you or your family, but stumbled upon Lynne's post's and was amazed at what I was reading...the life, the love and the community shocked me, I thought this is out there, close to our home, amazing...I feel as if I know your family now with all that I have read, and I am amazed at the strength,love,kindness and everything else all of you posses...I wish you all the best and hope that you and your family can move forward and continue to celebrate Lynne's life with laughter, smiles and yes sometimes tears, but to always know how much she loved all of you and how all of you loved her....I hope to find a community like yours that will love unconditionally the way all of you have....take care and live life to its fullest.....

Anonymous said...

Patty, Just to let you know that you and the children remain in my thoughts and prayers. I continue to check this blog hoping to read an update from you as to how you 3 are doing. (Today is Sept 4).

Blessings and Love,


Jill said...

Dear Patty,

Lynne once responded to a blog written by my friend, Caroline Stoufer, who also recently died. I'm working to compile her blog into a keepsake book for her family and friends, and I was wondering if I could include your responses. I don't want the book to sound like she never had responses, that she was writing alone, and some of the responses also contain medical information that might help other people with the same cancer. Would you mind if I include the comments that your family posted to her blog? I'll certainly understand if you say no. You just let me know. I'm thinking about you very much right now. I am heartsick to learn that so many of the people who responded to Caroline's blog early on have also passed on. This is a much needed life lesson for me. Sincerely, Jill Patterson

My contact info:

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I worked with Lynne at Suffolk on the Safe Zone, and I have been thinking about you all. I was telling a student about her recently, and we went on this blog together. Hope you are all healing, and please know that she is not forgotten here.

Lori Rosenberg

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Unknown said...

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