Many of you who keep up with my Facebook page know that my mother-in-law passed away on Friday, April 20. Thanks so very much to all of you who have offered your support to me and our family! Those hugs, kisses, and kind words from all of you have meant a lot to us as we have come to accept that she has truly left us and we have tried to focus on so many good memories during this time. We were grateful to have so many family members, friends, and folks all along the way help us during this last week. The results were a visitation service that many attendees told us was the happiest one they’d ever been part of and a funeral that was also a joyous occasion. The latter was conducted by our church’s longtime minister who while retired from our church for many years now, continues to serve in our area. He has always been a friend to my husband’s family as much as he has been a church official. His funerals are the most personal ones and uplifting ones you’re likely to ever hear and as such they’re truly a gift.
My mother-in-law had made only one request for her funeral service ahead of time (unbeknownst to us until we all started making the arrangements) and that was that “When the Saints Go Marching In” be played at her service. (She had shared that request with both the minister and the organist.) It seems that When the Saints Go Marching In is the traditional tune that is played in a New Orleans funeral by the jazz band. It’s played in a slow and mournful way when entering the cemetery, but the tempo is expedited with full brass and “happiness” injected as all leave the cemetery. Our church organist, another longtime and dear family friend, played it in the upbeat and happy way, but still it was this part of the service that brought tears to my and others’ eyes. But if you know our family’s history with honeybees, you will know that the honeybee that showed up in one of the flower arrangements closest to the family at the burial—despite the cold and wind—brought smiles and reassurance that all would be okay.
The photo above is of my mother-in-law at her college graduation. We shared the same alma mater and that was one nice way that we connected early on, right after I met Mr. GFE. My mother-in-law lived a full and happy life and it was clear from all the feedback this last week that she touched the lives of many. Recently, she had been honored by our county government for hosting “Kite Day” at the family farm for 25 years. How wonderful that honor came while she was still here … only a month before her death. (You can read more and see photos here, here, and here.) Thanks to you all for everything, including graciously understanding my time away from gfe recently.
This week we welcome the month of May, which as most of you know is National Celiac Awareness month. Now you probably also know that any time I say celiac awareness, I am really saying celiac/non-celiac gluten intolerance/non-celiac gluten sensitivity awareness. Gluten issues encompass so much more than celiac disease! Fortunately, the folks at The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness know that, too. They are kicking off their KISS campaign—Keep It Simple and Safe. For this year’s campaign, they’ve rounded up 16 bloggers to chronicle every stage of the gluten-free journey. I’m honored to be one of these bloggers!
You can see the complete blogger and topic line-up, and read all from NFCA on KISS below:
NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR CELIAC AWARENESS KICKS OFF KISS FOR NATIONAL CELIAC AWARENESS MONTH
National Celiac Awareness Month is quickly approaching, and what celebration would be complete without a blogger campaign? This year, we rounded up 16 bloggers for a series chronicling every stage of the gluten-free journey, from Day 1 basics to advanced cooking and advocacy.
In keeping with this year’s theme, Keep It Simple and Safe, each blogger is offering 5 key tips or lessons related to that day’s topic. The guest posts start tomorrow at the NFCA’s blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites, April 30, so check there daily!
- Monday – Cooking/Baking Gluten-Free
- Tuesday – Nutrition/Wellness
- Wednesday – Raising a Gluten-Free Kid
- Thursday – Dining Out Gluten-Free
- Friday – NFCA Resources You Should Know About
Schedule and Guest Bloggers:
Week 1: Just Diagnosed (April 30-May 4)
- Anne Byrn of The Cake Mix Doctor – Reading labels and cooking with boxed mixes
- Shirley Braden of gluten free easily – Avoiding hidden gluten
- Kathleen Reale of Be Free for Me – Talking to your child about celiac disease
- Lisa Garza of Gluten Free Foodies – What questions to ask when dining out
- NFCA – Discover NFCA’s Getting Started Guide
Week 2: Getting the Hang of It (May 7-11)
- Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef – How to cook and bake gluten-free from scratch
- Erin Elberson of Gluten-Free Fitness – Weight gain and gluten-free processed foods
- Heidi Kelly of Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom – Talking to family & friends about your child’s gluten-free needs
- Chandice Probst of Gluten-Free Frenzy – Trying new gluten-free dishes when dining out
- NFCA – Free Webinars: The easiest way to get new information
Week 3: Hitting a Roadblock (May 14-18)
- Diane Eblin of The WHOLE Gang – 5 tips to get out of a food rut
- Alisa Fleming of Go Dairy Free – First gluten-free, now lactose intolerant? 5 tips to becoming a dairy-free diva
- Wendy Kaho of Celiacs in the House – Gluten-free challenges at school
- Michael De Cicco-Butz of Gluten-Free Mike – Traveling while gluten-free
- NFCA – 5 resources to handle life’s hurdles
Week 4: What’s Next? (May 21-25)
- Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple – Publishing your gluten-free recipes
- EA Stewart of The Spicy RD – Healthy gluten-free foods you’ve never heard of
- Katie Chalmers of G-Free Kid – 5 tips to empower gluten-free kids
- Carrie Forbes of Ginger Lemon Girl – Starting a gluten-free dining group
- NFCA – Ready to fundraise? Here’s how to start
For more Celiac Awareness Month fun, including a chance to win a Gluten-Free Pantry Raid, visit www.CeliacCentral.org/awarenessmonth
Thanks for sharing those beautiful stories. And what a wonderful event! Should be a fun May.
Hi Cheryl–Thanks so much, dear. I agree that May should be very special. 🙂
Cindy W. says
I’m sorry to hear of your mother-in-law’s passing, Shirley. She sounds like she was a wonderful woman and I’m glad you have a lot of special memories of times shared with her.
Thank you, Cindy. Good memories shared with family and friends do make all the difference. 🙂
Kay Guest says
What a beautiful photo of a beautiful woman, how thoughtful of you to share it. I am sorry for your loss and know that these past few weeks must have been hard for you and your family.
Good news on the restaurant side of things, “gluten free safety from field to fork”, I like the sound of that. Maybe one day, my husband can eat out without worrying about what he is eating.
God bless you Shirley and know that all are thinking of you and your family.
Hi Kay–Many thanks, dear. 🙂
You emphasized the perfect phrase from the GREAT Kitchens expansion … “gluten-free safety from field to fork” … yes, that’s one we can all get behind. 😉 I hope we all can eat out without worrying!
Thankful hugs to you, Kay!
SunnyB @ andloveittoo says
So sorry for your loss, Shirley, but it sounds like you offered a great celebration for a great lady.
What a wonderful lineup of guest bloggers! I look forward to your event. xo
Hi Sunny–Thank you, dear. I have to say that the funerals for both my MIL and FIL were the best I’ve ever attended. Very personal and joyful. Conducted by the same minister with much respect, love, laughter, and joy … something we all hope for when it comes to our own services.
KISS is going to be great! The folks at NFCA have planned another great awareness event. 🙂 I know that many others in the gluten-free community have some very special events planned, too. I’m all for it as we can never have enough awareness or fun spreading such. 😉
Ina Gawne says
Shirley – I am sorry for your loss. How fortunate for you both that there was such an early connection – she sounds lovely!
What a fabulous blogging event – can’t wait to read all the posts! Yeahhh for May and National Celiac Awareness Month! 🙂
Hey there, dear Ina–Thanks so much. MIL and I graduated 26 years apart, but still shared that appreciation of the college, including its campus and–believe it or not–even certain professors. 😉
Yippee on all the May gluten-free fun, huh? 🙂
Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your dear mother-in-law. From your comments on this post, I can see that she was an exceptional woman and a blessed part of your family. She will be missed by those that loved her — and that is a joyful in itself as I always feel sorry for people who die alone and unmourned.
The posts for May look great. Will they be on your site each day?
Wishing you sunshine and God’s love.
Hi Susan–That is an excellent and much appreciated point–thank you! And I especially appreciate your lovely closing. No, MIL was not alone one moment during the last month. And she was very much mourned and honored, and will be remembered. Our local Farmers Market even honored her this past Saturday as she never missed a Saturday and visited each vendor chatting with all and supporting them, too.
Yes, KISS will be a great event from NFCA and the participating bloggers. 🙂 All the posts will be on their blog here. That’s a great question and I updated the post to make that info clearer.
MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. I HAD A WONDERFUL MOTHER IN LAW AND WE BAKED CHRISTMAS COOKIES TOGETHER FOR 30 SOME YEARS. THEY WERE MOSTLY NORWEGIAN AND SWEDISH COOKIES. SHE NEVER KNEW I HAD THIS CELIAC DISEASE NOR MY MOTHER AND DAD.
Hi Carole–Thank you, dear. I love the image in my head of you and your MIL making those amazing cookies together. 🙂
Shirley, I’m so sorry for your loss. I missed the news on Facebook, but I have been thinking of you, knowing that she was sick. What a lovely photo. Thanks for sharing a little bit about her with us.
Hi Linda–Thank you so much. I’ve been meaning to send an email to you and even started one, but that email still sits in my Drafts folder. 🙁 I know you understand though. I do love that photo of MIL. She kept that classic, natural beauty for almost her whole life, with her hair only turning completely gray when FIL died 8 years ago.
Shirley, I’m sorry for your loss. I am glad that the funeral service was a joyous one. That’s beautiful about the honeybee and I’m glad you included it. It makes it special.
Great news about the blogging event and that you’re included! Congrats! 🙂
Hey Zoe–Thank you! The honeybee who braved the weather to sample the nectar of a white snap dragon was a bright spot for all present. And there was at least one arrangement that had a little bee figure as part of its design. Everyone knows the family’s history with honeybees.
Thanks re: KISS! I hope you enjoy the series. 🙂
I am so sorry for your families loss. Thank you for sharing such a personal story…it’s a part of what makes your blog so special and so real.
What great news with the restaurant program…it is sorely needed!
Thanks, Sharon. Those are very special words and I appreciate them. 🙂
I think we all get excited about eating safely in restaurants!
Tina @madame gluten-free vegetarian says
I’m so sorry for your loss. My mother-in-law passed away two years ago, and I think of her often. She loved to cook too, and that was something fun we shared. I hope your happy memories are a comfort to you and your family.
P.S. Do the slippers she gave you still work? 🙂
Tina–It’s so funny … I was just thinking of you when I saw those vibrating massage slippers in my closet a few days ago! I knew you got such a kick out of them when I shared a pic of them online a while back. And, oh, yes, they still work. 🙂
I’m sorry about the loss of your MIL, too. Two years is not that long ago, and I’m glad you have those memories as well. It’s wonderful when folks share the memories and remember all the good that constitute a person’s life.
Shirley, it sounds as if that service hit just the right note (no pun intended)! Glad you could find something joyous to include in the funeral service, and I hope you are all taking comfort from each other right now.
The KISS event sounds great–such a wonderful lineup and so many important topics! 🙂
Hi Ricki–You are so right! Each service served its purpose and could not have been better in our opinions. And that’s a blessing for sure.
Yes, I think following KISS will be great. I do believe that I learn something from every single post during these awareness campaigns. 🙂
Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) says
Shirley, such a sweet tribute to your mother-in-law. You did a wonderful job honoring her here. I know you already know, but I just wanted to tell you again that all of my love is going out to you guys right now. Huge hugs, my friend.
Hey Kim–Thank you so much! We so appreciate all that love and those huge hugs especially! All of our friends are overwhelming us with love and acts of kindness and we are so very grateful.
denise mallett says
Shirley, thank you for sharing. I read this beautiful tribute to my husband as well. We were both in awe of this wonderful woman you were graced with. Our hearts were smiling as we read of her request, she was certainly a woman who knew what she wanted. That song just brings out joy in all of us.
This is a month to look forward to with your posts and shared bloggers. I am excited to be a part of this. Thank you.
Hi denise–Thanks so much for such a lovely and thoughtful comment of sympathy. I truly appreciate it!
Hope you have been enjoying all the gluten-free awareness posts … here and elsewhere. 😉
Wow Shirley, the honeybee detail is incredible. What a wonderful and comforting sign for your family. And I LOVE the song she chose. Sounds like she has a lovely soul. xo
Hi Maggie–We really do get messages sometimes. 😉 The song was quite a surprise, but appropriate.
Thanks so much for your words, dear! xo