Mother, otherwise known to the world as Charlotte Jane Hunter Petersen, was my first example of pure style. She continued to be a style icon until the hour she collapsed. She was stylish is so many ways; her wardrobe, her makeup, her hair, her home, her recipes, her friends, her teaching, her taste in literature, her personal relationships, the list goes on.
I have learned my most valuable lessons and talents from her. I have learned integrity from her example. I have learned compassion from her, sacrifice and obedience. I yearn to hear her voice and hold her tiny, arthritic hand in mine.
She was a fine woman and beloved by all who knew her. She had quite a fan base, all accolades well deserved. Born into a life of privilege, she faced many challenges when her life took an about face, leaving her to help support her mother after an alcoholic father left the family. There, she met my father, a naval officer and at the age of 17 married him to begin a new life.
After 66 years of marriage, they were supportive and loving to each other until the day she passed.
My darling 90 year old father at her bedside, giving comfort and pure love.
I was able to design her casket flowers with a local wholesaler in Denver. I hand selected the flowers and visually gave my idea of how they should be designed. The liaison to the funeral director watched and listened, and then said, "I think we should speak with our wedding designer rather than our bereavement designer". I knew then she was getting the picture of my vision. We used all green and white; orchids, roses, hydrangeas, ferns, ivy...fresh and not the least bit like the normal funeral spray. I was thoroughly pleased and when we went to look at the in progress design, the floral designer was thrilled that I said I wouldn't change a thing. I know Mom would have been pleased with the beautiful design.
My sister Denise and I put together some centerpieces for a luncheon we planned following the funeral service. I added a tiny punch of orange (my favorite color, of course!) to these medium cylinder vases. They were set in a larger straight-sided frosted vase with tinted chartreuse water as an accent. Happy and beautiful.
As the casket was being put back into the coach, I took note that this was what the interior of my purse looked like.
"How much of my delight in all beautiful things, is due to her influence, I can never tell. There is not a talent, or a joy, or an aspiration in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch".
A rare photo of my entire immediate family. My two daughters, Jessie and Michelle, myself, my son Ryan, and my husband Fred. Many extended family members were gathered from around the states and it was a great comfort.
These words echo how I feel about this wonderful, Christlike woman; my mother, Charlotte Jane Hunter Petersen.