In Loving Memory of Trudy LaRee Ali Sunday, June 2, 2013 1:00 p.m. Chapel Hill Funeral Home Chapel Corey Lynn Velez - Celebrant We gather to remember the little things that made a special place in our heart. To remember those happy times when we laughed and those times when our hearts broke as one. For who could put a price on a memory? We gather to share the pain. To hurt when you hurt without presuming that our pain is the same. To cry when you cry and not try to hide or avoid our tears. For who can ever take away the pain? We gather to give the gift of grief, to stand beside you in silence and not be uncomfortable with your...
In Loving Memory of Trudy LaRee Ali
Sunday, June 2, 2013 1:00 p.m.
Chapel Hill Funeral Home Chapel
Corey Lynn Velez - Celebrant
We gather to remember the little things that made a special place in our heart. To remember those happy times when we laughed and those times when our hearts broke as one. For who could put a price on a memory? We gather to share the pain. To hurt when you hurt without presuming that our pain is the same. To cry when you cry and not try to hide or avoid our tears. For who can ever take away the pain? We gather to give the gift of grief, to stand beside you in silence and not be uncomfortable with your tears. To allow you the gift of mourning this loss and not lose patience, for grief is God's way of healing a broken heart.
Welcome, my name is Corey Velez and I am honored to be the Funeral Celebrant today as we gather to Celebrate and mourn the life of Trudy Ali. On behalf of Trudy's family, please let me thank you for being here today. You touched Trudy's life in your own special way and, in return, you are here to bear witness to the impact she had on your life. Your presence here today helps the family to begin the process of turning tears into memories. Today is Trudy's day. We will stop to hear the stories of her life, stand in awe at her caregiving nature, her love of people and children and hear some of the music of her heart. We are here to laugh and cry together, to celebrate her strength, her courage, her kindness and her care. You are here to acknowledge that Trudy left a handprint on your heart and to express gratitude that she made a difference in the world. A brief scripture that has been used so frequently in these past few weeks as a pillar of strength for many in the wake of all of the storms our state as endured is Psalm 34:18 "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted", may you also use this as a source of comfort today and for the days to come.
As a Life Tribute Celebrant I feel a goal of mine when visiting with family and friends, is to discover a theme amongst all the stories and memories told. Well, when thinking of Trudy you could go several different directions --- wonderful mother, accomplished gardener, lover of children, researcher, caregiver, advisor – all of these would describe and capture only part of the essence of this person that you come today to honor. While I was trying to come up with the right words to share and the direction in which I wanted to take us today, I started to have trouble getting my thoughts down on paper. Traditionally, I would take you on a timeline adventure of Trudy's life from birth to death. Including various things from where and when she was born, where she went to school, marriage and children; careers… But, after visiting with a number of her family and friends, and receiving numerous texts and emails over the past few days with just "one more" memory, I found myself touched by the outpouring of love for Trudy even though I had only had the opportunity to talk to a select few of the people her life blessed. I decided that the best way to honor her today would only be to share these memories, encompass who Trudy was and let everyone know the significant impact that she made on the people closest to her.
First and foremost, Trudy was a mom and a great one at that. Trudy lived and worked for Tre, she wanted him to be independent and his own person. At the age I am and the place I am in my life, I can honestly say my mom is my best friend; we live 1,000 miles away from each other, but talk several times a day. We weren't always this close, I'm sure many here can relate to having those years where you thought your parents were the biggest bore, and cramping your style. How many 18 year old boys do you come across that say "My Mom is my best friend."? I'd guess not many. Those were almost the first words out of Tre's mouth when I had the opportunity to talk to him. He said that his mom was always supportive of him, told him the honest truth whether it was what he wanted to hear or not, and at an age when most kids hide physically and emotionally from their parents, he confided in her. They would stay up late together on their computers and just talk.
Trudy also had a daughter… Allison. Allison was born when Trudy was on the Threshold of her 21st birthday, and the decision was made that Allison would be given up for adoption. "An amazing picture of grace and forgiveness", were the words used to describe their reunion 18 years later. The two of them texted and swapped pictures and rebuilt a sweet relationship. Trudy always wanted to be a positive influence for Allison and would often ponder how her emails sounded before pushing the send button. With her re-born relationship with Allison, Trudy was proud to be winning the "Granny" Award amongst her siblings, with Allison having her son Jackson, and baby Mia on the way.
As a wife to Ali, Trudy opened his eyes to a whole new meaning of what Love was through helping….and joking. She taught him to be more passionate, kind, and to always see the beautiful side of even the ugliest things. Even in the instance when she brought home a pet Chameleon for Tre, Ali wondered why she bought him such an ugly reptile. Trudy thought it was beautiful, and worked to help Ali see the beautiful side of the new pet.
One characteristic that seemed to be repetitive about Trudy no matter who I spoke with is that she was a caregiver. A selfless caregiver. At a time when she herself was overcoming her own illnesses, she became a great help in the end of life care for Kendra's elderly neighbor Dorothy. It didn't matter that she herself was sick; she wanted and always found a way to be there to help. She wanted to save the world and was always more worried about others more than herself. When her sister Shannon was in elementary school, she shared with me a time that she had surgery on her foot and she remembered that Trudy would place her hand on the scar and it would feel better. Sometimes it is the simplest forms of caring that can leave a lasting impression on one's mind.
Her nephews Jeremiah and Thomas remembered a time that they were sharing a chair with their aunt Trudy, one sitting in her lap and one sitting on the back of the chair. All of a sudden the boy on the back of the chair fell backwards, of course Tears and Crying were the next events to erupt. Trudy burst into a silly song that caught everyone off guard, including the traumatized boy and the crying turned to laughter. The family still sings the song that changed the mood that day, and both Jeremiah and Thomas recall themselves as being the boy who fell off the chair. Trudy loved children, whether it was her own, or her nieces and nephews or someone else's. Let's be honest, everyone has a favorite Aunt, whether you want to admit it or not and I can't help but believe that Trudy was perhaps the favorite. A time when those closest to Trudy recall her as being the happiest, was when she was a preschool teacher. She had a vision for kids; she knew how to treat them and had a gift to get them to obey her. Ali coming from a culture where punishment for children is what is best believed shared with me that Trudy taught him a new way to treat children; that is a way of life that he now himself shares with his family when he makes his frequent visits back home to his country. Her 6 year old nephew Mario's favorite Memory of his Aunt Trudy was that she shared everything, even her laptop and to an even younger mind of her 4 year old niece "she gave us everything to eat and she was nice." Nothing can speak more for a person, than that of the innocent mind of a child.
Trudy was curious about the world and all that it entailed. She would get stuck on a topic and would research it until she knew all there was to know about it. For a period of 4 years, Trudy fell ill. Doctors couldn't explain it and ended up chalking it up to a pretty vague diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Not satisfied with that, she put her brain to work, after thinking she could possibly be allergic to ibuprofen or even the sun her love for researching prevailed and Trudy successfully self-diagnosed herself with Celiac disease. She of course became an expert on the disease and wrote about it in Forums and became a moderator for others who struggled with the same disease.
I am not sure if there is a word strong enough to describe the passion and knowledge that she had for gardening. Her natural gift of being a caregiver flowed through even to plants and flowers. She loved to garden and had an immense knowledge on the art of a "green thumb". Ali remembered that as always being a very fun time for them. He built raised flower beds around their home and she groomed them into being a landscape for many to be envious of. Her sister Belinda referred to Trudy as the "plant whisperer", she herself not being quite the green thumb as her sister, would often call upon Trudy and describe visually to her the plant she was failing to keep alive, and Trudy would tell her exactly what she needed to do to rescue it.
Finally, Trudy had a few outlooks on life I think most in here can appreciate. First, "Sprugal." A term unique to Trudy meaning to Splurge, but be frugal. While there are many things that you can be frugal on, there are those things that you just have to splurge on. For Trudy two of those things were Chocolate and Coffee. She loved to buy the best coffee and the finest chocolate – and true to her giving heart, she even shared that expensive chocolate with the kids in her life. Secondly, "never fold your underwear, because life is too short to fold underwear".
As you leave here today, you are invited to take a packet of flower seeds that will be at the back of the chapel, with someone like Trudy who had a great love for gardening and flowers, a simple way to keep her memory alive would be to plant your seeds in a flower pot and remember her every time you pass the beautiful blooms. May it also help you be specifically aware of Trudy's family as they face holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and all those special days when her absence will be sharply felt. Be present for each other, in doing so you will honor her memory and celebrate the fact that you will always be connected to her and that she is till that little voice sitting on your shoulder singing "Auntie Trudy Swanigan Ali!"
Where You Can Find Me Still
Where the field grows wild with shafts of grain
And the creek flows by with last night's rain
Though I will not walk this way again
Know that you can find me still
What most see only from afar
Where calmness lies beneath the stars
And where the sounds of stillness are
You will find me still
On the path taken that day
Where peace was found along the way
It washed the cares and guilt away
And you can find me still
Where a white glove dangles in the tree
To mark the place you last saw me
And tangled vines grow wild and free
It's there that you will find me still
Where nature casts your troubles away
Like the morning dew of a summer day
The fresh air lifts your heart to say
That you can find me still
Where good friends come to find a friend
And search the creek around each bend
Though their hopes held strong until the end
They could not find me still
Where all who grieve for their lost friend
Who slipped away, but in the end
That what they found, it's ok when
They could not find me still
Where spring bestills a troubled heart
Where life forgives you from the start
Where one can say "how great Thou art"
It's there that you will find me still
Where birds sing out their gift of song
Where flowers bloom all summer long
The moon shines bright from dusk til dawn
And you will find me still
May the peace that lies in that quiet place
Bring solace to all of those who face
Troubles inside they can't replace
'cause they can find me still
Where soft winds blow your cares away
Like the fallen leaves of yesterday
Where life forgives you, come what may
In that place you can find me still
Where seasons pass, without the strife
Where solace is a way of life
Where all is good, and all is right
That's where you'll find me still
So think of all our better days
When we would laugh, and life amazed
And when you're in that better place
Then you will find me still
When happy days are here again
And you can say remember when
We laughed, and cried, and laughed again
If you can, and only then, is when…
You will find me still…