November 10, 2012 11:04 AM
Barbara Curtis....Memorial Mass and BurialMay the angels lead you into paradise; and at your coming may the Martyrs receive you, may they lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of Angels receive you and may you with Lazarus.....once a poor man....possess eternal peace.
Last Saturday, our family along with many others from far and near gathered at our parish to witness our farewell to Barbara. You can read a beautiful description of the mass at Arlington Catholic Herald under the title, "Family says goodbye to Mama Bear." (I'm new at blogging and couldn't get the link to paste.)
A few of Barbara's children and some of their spouses singing the post Communion hymn.
After the Mass, many joined us at the reception to share in our grief and offer solace. Before leaving for the burial site, we viewed a beautiful video tribute(see previous posting) of Barbara's life put together by her daughters.
Since becoming followers of Christ, both Barbara and I were cognizant that our lives here were finite but our souls were eternal. Depending on whom we served, our souls would live eternally in either Heaven or Hell. We had talked of death and both agreed that we'd want our burials to be as minimalist as possible. During the week before the funeral, I was on my way to the church with Maddy to make arrangements for the service when the Holy Spirit prompted me to see if I could have Barbara buried in a shroud like our Lord was. I asked the funeral director if it was possible and she researched and found it could be done. We dressed her, put her in a ivory colored shroud, and then placed her in a plain wooden box that could be used to carry her to the church and then to the burial ground. We had decided on a primitive cemetery which was part of sacred ground that has been occupied by Trappist monks since 1950. The resting spot we had chosen for her was on a high meadow overlooking the Shenandoah River and the western side of the Blue Ridge Mts. There is an eagle's nest nearby with two eagles that have been there according the monks for the last 20 years and a heron rookery across the river. Barbara had decorated our homes throughout our years together with various depictions of two birds symbolizing our marriage and she loved herons. It is also a Civil War battlefield site which seemed fitting for a courageous woman who engaged valiantly in many battles during her life.
After arriving at the cemetery, we took her out of the box and carried her in her shroud up to her grave. Before lowering her in, her eldest daughter, Samantha knelt and kissed her Mom one last time. After lowering her in, Fr. Escalante said the last prayers and offered each of us consolation before leaving with the funeral director. I began to bury her and my sons, grandsons, and other members of the family joined in to help. While working at our task we sang hymns, grieved, and prayed. In our family we sing the Doxology as a prelude to our family grace at meals. As we finished our task we sang this with her one last time as she was being called to sit at that Great Banqueting Table that Our Lord had set for her.
Her mortal time here is done, but her life's work continues to impact those of us left behind. Our Heavenly Father was able through her obedient and willing servant's heart to touch many lives for His sake. She was like a stone that He had thrown into the sea of Life whose ripples go on and on touching unlimited shores. She was His "little girl" while she was here and I always used to tell her that He liked her best and that she was His special pet. She truly called Him, "Abba, Father!"
As Matt said, "This isn't goodbye Mom....it's just...See you later."
I can't wait to see you again Babe......Please pray for us.
In His grip,
"Circumstances change....but God never changes"
Nil Sine Numini.....Nothing without Providence
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Dear Tripp and Curtis family,
I am a relatively new reader of the blog. Please know I remember Barbara and your family in prayer.
As I read Tripp's words about Barbara's funeral and burial, tears well up in my eyes. What a beautiful funeral.
Please know that many are keeping all of you, including Barbara, in our hearts.
With love and prayers,
Posted by: Gail | November 10, 2012 3:52 PM
A beautiful funeral for a wonderful woman. I continue to think of and pray for your family. There are things she wrote that have helped me as a mom and many of those words will be with me always. Whenever those thoughts come to me I think of her and will offer up a prayer for the family members left behind missing her.
Posted by: Crystal | November 10, 2012 4:16 PM
Posted by: CH column | November 10, 2012 6:14 PM
Tripp -- Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is so good to see some of the beautiful fruits of the Christian family life that you and Barbara built together.
Posted by: Peggy | November 10, 2012 6:15 PM
Tripp, That you are willing to share all this with us,I am beyond greatful you must be a very thoughtful person.Thank you so very much.I miss your wife as I have said repeatedly here.I still can not believe she has went on to her eternal reward.I will pray for all of you. I have always loved hearing about you and your children over these years.I know the road in front of you is long but Matt is right and I'm sure Barbara would have a lot of ideas of how we should be walking it in between know and then.I am trying to remember that her blog has always made me strive to be a better more active person and I want to honor her through that.All I can really say is, THANK YOU.
Posted by: melita | November 10, 2012 8:36 PM
Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Here's a link to "Family says Goodbye to Mama Bear"
Posted by: Jen L. | November 10, 2012 10:26 PM
Papa Tripp: I am beyond grateful that you have shared this with us, her faithful readers. You all have been in my mind since I found out about the news, and I was trying to imagine how, a family so deep of faith and with so many beautiful traditions would chose to say "see you later" to a woman dedicated to carve her own path, following the Master's voice. What an appropriate way to say good bye and what a beautiful place of rest and remembrance.
Would you please consider updating this site from time to time. I'm sure I speak for many, we have grown to love you family, as we have shared many moments with Barbara, like she used to say "as if we are chatting across the fence".....I would personally love to hear about each one her kids. How's Zack doing in Office training? How's Maddy doing in college? How's dear Sophia adjusting to her newly wed life? What adventures is sweet Johnny enjoying of late? How's Matt's singing/acting career going? She spoke of all of you with such pride and tenderness, we felt like we were right there, right behind the fence, watching you all grow up and open your wings and soar. Selfishly, I would love to keep in touch, so I fill up the big void she has left behind. You are all an extension of her, and knowing about your comings and goings would be like having her around.
Watching Les Miserable movie coming out in december will not be the same without her around for commentary.
Thank you again for sharing such intimate family moment with us. Thank you for such beautiful memorial/burial for her....I know she was looking down, extremely proud and honored. I will always call her blessed.
I truly love you all, and will always treasure her memory and her legacy.
Posted by: LadyLovas | November 10, 2012 11:40 PM
Thank you again for sharing your lives with us out here online. I have grieved all week long. Thank you for telling some details of her last time on earth, her life before blogging and now her resting place. Thank you. We Mommy Life readers are most assuredly praying for you all as you face your year of "firsts" without Barbara.
Posted by: Imajackson | November 11, 2012 12:04 AM
Thank you, Tripp. A beautiful Mass and an amazing burial-for an amazing woman. Thank you so much for all the pictures. The video tribute was so beautiful
Praying for you and all your children
Posted by: Eileen | November 11, 2012 3:37 AM
Thank you so much for sharing this. Like so many others who have commented here, it is a first to be grieving for someone I never met face-to-face, but counted as a friend.
This was a beautiful ceremony and burial, so richly informed by the more sacramental view of life she returned to in recent years.
Thank you for allowing us be there, more fully, in spirit.
Posted by: Julana | November 11, 2012 7:48 AM
Beautiful example of seeing a faithful servant returned to her Creator. I look forward to meeting her in paradise, with God's help.
Posted by: Paola | November 11, 2012 9:31 AM
Posted by: Lisa G. | November 11, 2012 11:43 AM
How can I keep from crying when I read this? It is just so beautiful. Thank you, Tripp. Your family is part of my family even if we've never met. Thank you so so much for including us. It helps. It really does. God bless all of you.
With much love,
Sue from Buffalo
Posted by: Sue from Buffalo | November 11, 2012 5:07 PM
I still have no words for your loss (and ours) as I sit here crying again. Rest in eternal peace Barbara
Posted by: Claudia M | November 11, 2012 7:22 PM
Thank you so much for remembering Barbara's readers. I feel as if she were a friend even though I never met her. You and your family obviously loved Barbara so much. God bless you as you grieve.
Posted by: Siobhan | November 11, 2012 10:53 PM
Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us as Barbara's readers and friends. Your family's faith and strength will be a blessing for many, and the ripples from that strength and faith will keep flowing outward. I pray that your testimony will be a beacon of hope and joy for countless others today and in the days ahead. Remember that your family is being prayed for every day, and rest in the strong arms of your Saviour to carry you through. Love to each of you.
Posted by: Nana | November 12, 2012 10:39 AM
Dear Tripp and family,
Thank you so much for sharing this. What a beautiful celebration of an amazing woman. I particularly love the idea of the shroud, and primitive cemetery with the birds. It is indeed so fitting.
God bless you all and bring you peace.
Posted by: Denise | November 12, 2012 1:36 PM
Tripp, thank you for sharing Barbara's Mass & Burial with us. It sounds special, holy, precious. You honored her in the way that you did everything. It sound so intimate.
Thank you again and again for sharing this with us, her readers, who loved (and still do!) her so. It's no small thing to share this with others and I am so greatful that you've continued to share these intimate moments with us all. It helps her to live on.....
I've said in other posts that I, like so many others, miss Barbara. Not a day has gone by that I have missed coming to this sight. I do this in part because it is what I always did--looking for her wisdom, but also because I simply miss her.
As I have with each of the things you've posted, I've cried and then I watch it or read it the next day and cry again. As I mourn and grieve, I pray for you and the rest of the Curtis' as I know that you love and miss her even more.
Just last night some of my family was watching the video tribute (again) that your children put together and Lillie and I just really cried hard as we thought of the Downzers. We wonder how they are doing as they miss their Mama, do they understand that they will see her again and then my thoughts turn to you, Matt, and others who are caring for the boys.
Know that we are continually lifting you all up in our prayers and know that God, just as he has in the past, will meet your needs and bring you comfort.
Posted by: von | November 12, 2012 11:00 PM