Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Awake Party


Trudy
Last weekend, we celebrated our dear friend Trudy, who is courageously dealing with end-stage cancer. She wanted to have her party while she was still here to enjoy it. She wanted to see the people who mean a lot to her and, as she said, “hear the nice things they say about me.” 

Trudy’s garden and yard had to be immaculate, after all, she’s the president of the Bakersfield Green Thumb Garden Club. She worked hard to make it happen, hung in there on days when she didn’t feel up to par.  With Trudy’s eye and guidance, and partner Sylvia and sister Rebecca doing the heavy lifting and physically intensive jobs, the setting shone picture-perfect.

Sylvia, Rebecca, and Trudy
Trudy sent out the word, and we all came -- family members, lifelong pals, new friends, motorcycle buddies, and garden club friends. Some traveled from as far away as Arizona and Los Angeles, Aguanga, Littlerock, Sacramento, and Redding, California.  Folks from all over town where Trudy has become dear also showed up. The gals from the Speedway convenience store down the street and Joe from the Bulk Yard were on hand. 

An informal open house-style party, characterized by laughter and stories of Trudy and her antics brought us all together. Ever gracious, though tiring as the day progressed, Trudy took time to visit with each person. And, yes, it was emotional, but that’s to be expected. We care deeply.

Sylvia had spent many hours lovingly creating a slide show that showcased the important areas of Trudy’s life. To everyone’s delight, it ran constantly throughout both afternoons.

Sunday morning, friend Chelli, who had driven in from Arizona the afternoon before, rose with a mission in mind. Her early morning shopping trip resulted in a bountiful array of scrapbooking materials and a small photo printer.  As people arrived at the house later that day, she took pictures of them with Trudy. The guests then created a scrapbook page that displayed the photo and their message for Trudy. Participating in this way initiated a wonderful memory for each one of us while creating the epitome of a memory book for Trudy and Sylvia.


An Awake Party. Not a wake. That’s what Trudy wanted. It gave us a chance to pay our respects to her and to let her know how important she is to us, how much we love her. It’s a priceless gift each of us can hold in our hearts, a gift for which I am beyond grateful.

~ xoA

16 comments:

  1. Annis, this is so wonderful and beautiful. It reminds me of the Living Memorial I had for Ruth on her 65th birthday.

    The scrapbook was a brilliant inspiration! What a wonderful keepsake for Trudy to treasure in her quiet times and for Sylvia to cherish forever.

    My heart goes out to you and all of the good people surrounding Trudy and Sylvia in a circle of love.

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  2. Thank you, Bobbi. Trudy and Sylvia are remarkable people. xoA

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  3. The Awake celebration was such a memorable tribute to and for Trudy. I am so fortunate to have her as a dear and special friend. Thank you, Annis, for the beautiful blog.

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  4. This sounds like a really nice party to have!! I love that idea of pictures with each guest and then a page for them to write their feelings..
    Trudy is the gal who got the pallet display on her fence isn't she...prayers for her & her family..
    nice story Annis, and u tell of the day so well!! I love reading your stories!!

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    1. Thanks, Shari. Yes, Trudy is the one for whom Urban Dirt of Pasadena made the pallet garden on her brick fence. We appreciate your prayers. xoA

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  5. Only you could think of an "AWAKE". How many people can say that their friends honored their cognizance, acceptance and gratitude for it.

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  6. Thank you for thinking of me in that way. But, "Awake Party" was actually Trudy's phrase. It's certainly fitting. Thanks for writing. xoA

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  7. What a lovely tribute to Trudy who is loved by many far and wide. Thank you Annis.

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    1. She sure is, BJ! Thanks for writing. xoA

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  8. Jeremy ArmstrongMay 28, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    I always read your blog but I've never commented until now. This entry moved my heart incredibly as it touches on something very sensitive to every human. How will I as an individual deal with the sunset of my life. Will I celebrate with others that I have been able to influence during my life? Who can I encourage, build up and have a posative influence on today? Without even meeting Trudy, I can honestly say I have a tremendous amount of love, respect and admiration for her spirit. Thank you Annis for writing about this celebration of life. I hope and pray that I have the same type of impact on others as I travel through life. When in the sunset of my own life, I hope that I may have the chance to celebrate the posative impact I've had on the lives of family, friends and neighbors(next door and across the globe).

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  9. Jeremy, thanks for your heartfelt response. You're making an impact every day. xoA

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  10. I wish Trudy, her friends and family peace and love for all that they are facing. What a splendid display of courage and an inspiration to all to keep our loved ones close to us always!

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  11. Absolutely true, dear brother. Love and thanks to you. xoA

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  12. I never heard of an awake party, but this is a very positive thing. Sometimes a person who is ill just wants to focus on other things, and not always their struggle.

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  13. It was definitely a positive thing, Julia. And, I think you're right about needing to focus elsewhere in instances like this. Trudy sure enjoyed it and all the people. Thanks so much for writing. xoA

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