The viewing for Mel was on Friday, May 10th. That morning, mom, Kim, Cami, Stephanie, and I were able to get Mel dressed and do her hair. This was a very neat experience. I thought it would be really hard, but it was very calming. My mom worked so hard to get Mel's hair done just right. She did a great job. The mortuary did a wonderful job with her make up. We all really felt like it looked like our Mel. We had a constant line the entire 2 hours. So many people came. Mel was loved by many.
Thank you to Leslie Carpenter (cousin) for taking these pictures. You captured so many special moments that will help us to always remember this day perfectly.
We had four tables set up. This one was to represent her family (Cami did a great job setting this one up). There was one for her hobbies and likes. That table had piano and music, ReAl soccer, and Tim McGraw. Another table represented her as a teacher. The final table represented her battle with leukemia.
They had a great video that was playing, while people waited. We were finally able to see it after everyone had left. We were all so exhausted at this point. It was a great time to let the emotions go, while we watched the video together. It was good to see Kaden be able to let it out.
When we were deciding all the flowers, we all agreed on one thing. Mel was not a flower girl! We thought it would be more fitting to have the blanket that Providence Elementary made for her, at the start of her battle. She had this blanket with her in the hospital, at Greg's, and it was the blanket that she had on when she took her last breathe. We thought it was fitting to lay it over the casket, instead of a big flower arrangement. It was perfect.
One of Mel's students brought this gift. She was planning to bring it to Mel in person, but did not make it to her in time. She was such a cute little girl. She had a hard time, and was crying through the line. Many of Mel's students came through. They all loved Miss Mel.
As we cleared the mortuary of all the decorations, I think we all had the same thought. Do we really have to do tomorrow? It was going to be a long, emotional day.
Melanie's funeral was on Saturday, May11th. It was a warm and beautiful day. We had another viewing before the funeral. Once again, it was a constant line.
Brooke really wanted to do something special for Mel. After we said no to her suggestion of playing Amazing Grace on her recorder, she came up with a great plan. With the help of Nan, she made a beautiful little pillow. She sat in the foyer, while people were coming in for the viewing and funeral. She had all the family, a few students, and friends sign their names. After Steve gave the family prayer and we all said our last good byes, we made sure to put the pillow in the casket with Mel, before they closed it. I know Mel loved it. Also with Mel were her Diamond Backs dog tag (in honor of Kaden), her worry rock and faith rock (helped her through all her cancer treatments), and her temple recommend (renewing it was the last thing she did in this life).
All the nieces and nephews will truly miss their fun aunt Mel.
The funeral services went very well. Aunt Eva gave the opening prayer. Kim, Cami, and I gave a tribute about Melanie. It was fun to work together to write it. We were all really worried about making it through. There were a few tears, but we all held it together. Greg Larson, Mel's principal at Providence Elementary, gave a nice tribute to Mel as a teacher. After his talk, the nieces and nephews (minus Lindsey, the little ones, and Brooke) sang "I Am a Child of God" with some of Mel's former students. It was such a neat song. Mike then gave an amazing talk. It was really focused on Mel's faith and testimony. I also loved that he mentioned my mom in his talk. She has been by Mel's side through all her ups and downs. Greg then sang "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul". I am always in awe, whenever I hear Greg sing. I don't think there was a dry eye in the building. Mel's bishop closed with some remarks. He had some powerful words to share. Aunt Arlene then gave the closing prayer. We were all happy with how the service went.
Mel graveside services were at the Hyde Park Cemetery. I loved the spot my dad and mom picked out. It is right by a tree, and just felt right.
The pallbearers were: Kaden, Greg, Mike, Eric, Steve, Uncle Yencey, Uncle Dave, and Andrew Helpingstein (Kaden's uncle).
Before the pallbearers lay their flowers on the casket, Uncle Brett gave a beautiful dedicatory prayer on the grave.
Kaden had some of his good baseball friends there to support him. I thought it was very touching to see tears in their eyes. Mel was a big supporter of their team.
The nieces and nephews thought it was very fitting that there was a caterpillar crawling on the green carpet by Mel's casket. Many of them had the opportunity to go caterpillar hunting with aunt Mel.
A side story about the blanket. My mom did not want the blanket buried with Mel. It is very special and she wanted to keep it. However, with all the hustle and bustle of hurrying to get to the luncheon, she did not take it off the casket before she left, and it was then buried. My mom was very upset about it! She called the mortuary and was informed that it would cost $500-700 to dig it up and jack hammer the vault open. Luckily, we chose the vault that was not glued shut, so it was just going to be $350. Eva called all of my mom's siblings and they were going to go in and have it done. When the cemetery workers heard about what happened, they were kind enough to do it for free. Eva brought it, wrapped up, to my mom last week. You can imagine the joy she felt!
Mel would like this picture of Kaden's smile.
It is always hard to leave.
We were able to enjoy a delicious lunch, provided by the Hyde Park 5th ward Relief Society. It was great to visit with all the family that came. We are blessed to have so many aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a good day. It was an emotionally draining day. It felt weird to return back to my parent's house and know it will never be the same.