Tuesdays with Moisi

From our Hillside Chapel service we got in our cars and traveled the short distance to our pop’s graveside next to our mom’s in the Summer Terrace area of Rose Hills. Many of our relatives are buried in different sections of this Memorial Park.

Rose Hills Memorial Park was founded in 1914 by Augustus Gregg on part of the historic Rancho Paso de Bartolo land grant. Whittier Heights Memorial Park, as it was originally known, began as an 18-acre cemetery serving the burgeoning city of Whittier. … At its largest, the park once spanned nearly 2,500 acres. Today, Rose Hills Memorial Park covers more than 1,400 acres, making it the largest cemetery in North America.

Our 93 year old aunt, Pop’s sister was a real trooper hiking up this slope with help from her grandchildren.

Our two sons, Josh and Dan.

Our nephew Andrew giving his respects.

Hope recited the 23rd Psalm in English.

Our parents lie side by side. My mom’s headstone reads “The Lord is my shepherd;… and on my pop’s headstone to the right of my mom it reads, “I shall not want”.

Hope’s dad, my brother Leonard, read the 23rd Psalm in Russian.

My pop’s grandsons Caleb and Joseph gave the graveside messages.

Some of Moisi’s granddaughters.

Dear’s only brother with one of his three daughters, Annie, our DIL Jamie and Addy.

Jamie and Addy with Addy’s great great aunt Anna who is our pop’s sister and the last surviving sibling in our pop’s family.

We don’t shelter our children from death and funerals.

We always do our part in burying our loved ones.

From the graveside services we drove to Fullerton for a catered reception that our dear old Pop provided the money for. We are grateful to EV Free Fullerton for allowing us to use one of their large halls. Next Tuesday with Moisi I’ll have photos from the reception.

Goodbyes and Reunions…

Thank you, thank you, to all of you who have prayed for my family during this time in our lives. I really appreciate your kind words of comfort and encouragement and I have felt your prayers. Blessings on you for sharing in our sorrow and rejoicing in our joy that our mom is with our Lord.

There were many times during my mom’s services and burial that the comment was made amongst old friends that it was too bad that it seems the only time we see each other these days is at a funeral. The older we get the stronger this reality.

I want to warn you ahead of time that we had an old world burial and if you get squeamish around caskets and viewings this post probably isn’t for you.

2013-09-28 Mom's servicesThursday night viewing at Rose Hills Chapel. Many old friends came to share in our sorrow and rejoice in our hope. My brother Steve gave a message that made me consider God’s hand on the story of my life on this earth.

2013-09-28 Mom's services2Friday morning we had a memorial service at my sister’s church in Whittier, California. It was a time of remembering who my mom was and a time of thanking God for who He is in my mom’s life and ours. Brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews and great grand children participated in speaking, singing, reciting Psalms 23 and praying. Our nephew Caleb opened the service with greetings and prayer. Our sister Kathy and our BIL Len sang a duet in Russian of a song my mom requested.  Our niece Hope and Great nephew Jackson read the 23rd Psalm. Our son Josh and my nephew, David shared memories of their Baba that they gathered from their cousins. Our niece Michelle sang the first verse of “It is well with my soul” (Baba’s request) and the congregation joined in on the rest of the song. Our BIL Len led us all in singing with great enthusiasm. Our brother Leonard shared my mom’s eulogy with tears and laughter in Russian and English. Our family and friends from Bethany Baptist Russian church joined together for an impromptu singing of “Bless Thou the Lord”. My brother Steve gave the short and insightful message challenging us to see heaven as the place where we will see God and our Savior face to face as our reward. My nephews Levi and Joe led us in “Because He Lives” as the finale to our time.

2013-09-28 Mom's services3Eight of my mom’s grandsons were the pallbearers.

2013-09-28 Mom's services1We gathered around our Pop, Dzeda to comfort him and support him throughout the services.

2013-09-28 Mom's services4We met at the graveside and participated in my mom’s burial.

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2013-09-28 Mom's services5My mom’s daughter’s, granddaughters, great granddaughter, and nieces placed a long stemmed pink rose on her casket before it was lowered into the grave.

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Mom's services 114In the old world tradition starting with my father and my siblings we all took a clump of earth and threw it in the grave upon the coffin.

2013-09-28 Mom's services6We sang in Russian and English while the son’s, grandson’s, nephews and old friends of my mom’s used shovels to fill the grave with dirt.

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2013-09-28 Mom's services9We find this tradition of participating in the burial to be comforting and honoring and we leave knowing that we did this act in love.

Mom's services 128Our son Dan with Dear.

Mom's services 138Josh and Laura

Mom's services 137My cousins on my father’s side of the family with their spouses.

Mom's services 110The newest member of our extended family.

Mom's services 142It was now time to head back to the church for our meal together. Friday was a very clear day in Southern California standards at Rose Hills. We could see all the way to Downtown Los Angeles. Rose Hills Memorial Park is the largest cemetery in the United States and is located in Whittier, California.

In my next post I’ll continue with the good times around the tables over our meal enjoying doing a little catch up with friends from our childhood.

It’s good to be home again. We are still trying to get our bodies on our West Coast clock instead of our British clock. I think a nice full week at home will do the trick. We left a very sunny Southern California and arrived to a rainy blustery Northwest. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.