a sad goodbye

hi, you guys.  here i am, once again, apologizing for a long absence.  i haven't been here in almost 2 months and i'm sorry for that.  on November 1st, my mother passed away very unexpectedly.  i've mentioned in the past that i live on the west coast, having left my family home in New York to move to California nearly 10 years ago.  i have always known that the day would come when the phone would ring and news of the worst kind would be waiting on the other end; i just wasn't expecting it now.

needless to say, we traveled to NY as soon as we could and the kids and i stayed for 3 weeks.  my dad and my sister needed me and i needed to be with them, in my mom's home, surrounded by her things, as difficult and surreal as that was.  my parents had already planned to come out here for Thanksgiving and my dad said he still wanted to come so he came back with the kids and me.  i think it probably did him some good to get out of the house for awhile and i know i was glad to have him here.  

he returned home in early December, and things here have returned to normal; Hoss is at work during the day, the kids are back to their routines, i have work to do...but i still miss my mother incredibly, and most of all when i sit down at my desk to work.  she was always creative and crafty and there's no doubt that's where my craftiness comes from.  she was my inspiration for so many of the things i did/do here in this space and she had so much love for everything that i made.  i've spent quite a bit of time in the last couple of weeks just sitting here and crying because it's hard to look around and not see something she gave me.  i'm reminded so often of one of the biggest gifts she gave me--the gift of putting my idle hands to good use and CREATING something.

the most difficult thing has been to try and write this post knowing there will be no email about it from her tomorrow, like she's always done in the past.  there will be no comment in my Facebook feed from her and it won't be shared on her Facebook page, like she's always done in the past.  there will be no comment here from her at the end of the post, like she NEVER did in the past because, for some reason, she just could not figure out how to leave one!  it used to drive me crazy.

my mother was my number one fan and most energetic supporter.  i will miss her in all aspects of my life and i will especially miss her here.

in the coming weeks, i may tell you more about her.  i may tell you more about what happened.  i may tell you more about being back "home."  if i do, it won't be to depress or make you sad; it will be to remind you that you can triumph in the face of adversity--my mother did.  it will be to remind you that life is short so make sure you're living it and loving it.  it will be to remind you that there are so many kind and generous people out there and they will help you make it through life's most painful and difficult moments.

or i may not.  i don't know.

before i sign off, i'd like to leave you with a couple of things.  the first is my mom's obituary.  my dad and sister helped come up with the key points we wanted to be sure to mention and then they asked me to put it into words that captured her spirit.  it's no easy task trying to sum up a loved one's life in a few hundred words, but since most of you reading this entry didn't know her, perhaps this will shed a sliver of light on the wonderful woman she was.

Kathleen Warfield Burdick

Kathleen Warfield Burdick passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Nov. 1, at her home.  Kathy was born on March 4, 1950, in Penn Yan, NY, and raised on Brandy Bay, which fueled her lifelong love for Keuka Lake.  After graduating from Keuka College in 1972, she taught at Dundee Central School for 34 years, where her most favorite thing was to teach elementary school children how to read.

While working with her husband on their grape farm early in their marriage, she developed a great love and advocacy for the NY state wine and grape industry.  She was a charter member of Women for NYS Wine, and in her later years, tried never to miss a day without a glass of wine.

She wrote features for local newspapers, including a weekly column of happenings at the Bluff Point United Methodist Church, where she was also an active member.  Among other things, she had been a church treasurer and the pianist for the Sunday School and choir.

Often found helping out other people, Kathy was a member of various groups and organizations including Friends of the Penn Yan Public Library, Yates County Retired Teachers, PEO, and The Living Well.  She was also an election worker.

If you met her on the street, she would always have a kind word for and be happy to see you.  She was known for sending warm notes that she hand-made for birthdays, celebratory events, or simply because she was thinking of someone.

Kathy enjoyed gardening and decorating her house for each season and holiday.  She kept an inviting home full of personal touches and family photos.  She was married to her high school sweetheart for 43 years.

She loved her 5 grandchildren with all of her heart and cherished every moment she spent with each of them, playing games, singing songs, and just being their sweet “Neena.”

She is survived by her husband Phil; daughters Rebecca (Arvin) Luminarias of Irvine, CA, and Emily (Michael) Enslow of Waterloo, NY; grandchildren Augustus and Anemone Luminarias, and Violet, Hazel, and Iris Enslow; sister Constance (Thomas) Murphy; and brother Bruce (Betsy) Warfield.

She was predeceased by her parents, Robert and Margaret, brother Robert, brother-in-law Douglas Burdick. And her beloved golden retriever Mendel.

Her thoughtful and generous spirit will be greatly missed.

the second thing is lyrics to a song called "Lullaby Requiem."  the song was written by Neil Finn and i always found it to be incredibly moving; now i find it to be incredibly true. 

Goodnight, bless you
Let angels possess you
You'll make dreams of another life

Don't think it's too much
To close eyes and leave us
In strange places we'll come undone

And the building blocks sometimes have to crash
They’re not meant to last like a mother's love

It’s real life
It's all true
You know how I'll miss you
In quiet places I'll come undone

And the building blocks sometimes have to crash
They’re not meant to last like a mother's love
Sleep comes when all is laid to rest
That's when you'll find what you're looking for

Strange feelings you can't explain
Wild forces you can't contain

And the building blocks sometimes have to crash
They’re not meant to last like your mother's love
Peace comes when fear is laid to rest
That's when you'll find what you're looking for 

Lullaby Requiem
By Neil Finn

thanks for staying so long tonight; i've dreaded writing this post because i'm heartbroken my mother won't be reading it.  but if there's anyone who would want me to continue after her loss, it would surely be her.
{i love you, Mom}


  1. I've been a constant lurker of your blog and I am so sorry for your loss. This was an incredibly moving tribute to your Mom. Thank you for the reminder that life is short..enjoy it to the fullest, surrounding yourself with the people that you love. My heart goes out to you...thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.

  2. Sending you so much love and hugs, my friend. May this be part of the healing for you, and I hope you're beginning to find some peace. Thinking of yon constantly. <3

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I'm sending prayer and hugs your way.

  4. Rebecca,
    For sure she will be missed, however, everything that she gave to you and Emily will be carried on in more ways than you can ever imagine. She was one of a kind and she will live on in you, Emily and your children. She gave to so many of us, not just in little creative ways, but, in her love, her laughter and the joy she brought to so many. I am blessed to be able to have so many wonderful memories of her and the hours I spent with her working hard at church:) What joy she brought to me. I know she is looking down from heaven and smile and we WILL feel her presence this Christmas and the days ahead. I know Rebecca my words aren't eloquent but, they are written from my heart and always remember that I love you all. So, until next time, may our Mighty God be with you and grant you peace, joy and much love. Love to you forever and always. Marilyn

    1. What beautiful and reassuring words, Marilyn. You've been so kind and giving through all of this. I hope you know how much it has meant to us all. Thank you.

  5. Thank you Rebecca for sharing your most intimate thoughts about your Mom and my dear friend. When I moved I gave her my set of "Stampin Up" stamps. In return she made me a set of cards to send to special people. two of them were beautiful Christmas cards. I have sent them to 2 special friends and feel I'm passing on her love to others. And the music goes on... That's Kathy. I miss her dearly, but also know she is still with us and always will be. May the spirit of Christmas be yours, Love Judy

    1. Judy, thank you so much for sharing that with me. I'm sure that, wherever she is, she is smiling, knowing that you're passing on her good cheer. :)

  6. What a lovely dedication to your mum. It's a tribute to her that you view her as a friend and mentor as well as your mum.
    I'm sure it was hard to write ( it was sad to read it and I don't even know her).
    I hope that the post has helped you a little. I'm sure thinking of her and speaking of her and writing about her will keep her close.

    1. Thank you, Julie--that was all so kind of you to say.

  7. This is a lovely, moving post, Rebecca. I loved reading about your mom, her teaching and wine advocacy, her spirit and your connection to her--. I hear you about having lived so far away for over a decade from our roots in Upstate New York, and having to confront the reality of aging parents/family. (This weekend is my 13th anniversary of moving from Rochester to Seattle and beginning a new chapter). It is always both difficult and rewarding to return home to visit; it's important to make the most of every moment whether we are in the same physical space or in our virtual connections across space and time. Your mom is still with you, and always will be. Thank you for sharing this, and as always your lovely work!!! xo Kate

  8. Oh Rebecca I'm so sorry for your loss. I came to your blog today while playing along with the PTI anniversary challenge (how many years you've been crafting) and stumbled upon this post. In reading your mother's obituary I realized I knew who she was and froze. I attended Dundee Central School from K-12th grade (1982-1995), I recall your mom well and am saddened to hear of her passing 4 years ago. My deepest condolences.
    I had no idea you were from that area originally. Did you go to PY HS?

    1. What a small world! Thank you so much for your kind words, Dana. (I'm going to reply a bit more in an email to you...)


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