Yesterday, I went to church. Yup, you read that right! Not many Jews go to Mass, I know. Trust me. We do not know what to do there. We love staring at the stained glass and feeling the wood of the pews, but as a whole, we usually feel out of place in church. We go, of course, for weddings, christenings, funerals...and for Mass Services that are held to honor our baby girl.
Gary's aunt has taught at the same Catholic school for 40+ years. I think. I may be off by a year or two, but I think I am close. Her sister, Gary's mother, works in the same school in their main office, and has also worked there for years. Catholicism is important to them and the sense of community that they get from the school and the Parrish is unmatched. So when they both told us many months ago that they wanted to have a Mass to honor Allie, we were immediately on board.
When it was time to bring the gifts the alter, my mother-in-law and her sister proudly got to do the honors. So did Sean, my adorable 7 year old nephew with Gary's eyes and the biggest heart. He represented all the little people.
I looked over at Gary during the service and there were tears on his face. I was a little shocked since I know that religion is not that important to him. We held hands and got through the service and I asked him later what had made him so sad. He replied that it felt like a funeral to him in some ways and that had a great effect on him. The last time he was in that very church was when his grandfather passed away.
In the middle of the ceremony, they read her name. Allison Paige Koellhoffer. I could listen to it being read a thousand times. My heart burst. We are remembering you, baby. We love you, baby. We are all trying to honor you the best we can.
When the Mass concluded, we went to tour then school and then we went to brunch. Whether it was the emotions of the morning or the Pomegranate martini's from the night before (we stayed over with our brother and sister-in-law since the Mass was so early), we ate like we had never seen food before!
Next, we went back to their house and Gary and I decided we were not ready to go home just get. So my sister-in-law and I took the boys to see The Muppets. When else would I get this chance? Gary stayed back with his brother to get quality time with our niece. What an afternoon! The movie was so fun and the boys were laughing and giggling almost as much as their mom and me. The characters brought back so many memories from my youth and I hope that when the boys are older and they think about Kermit and Miss Piggy, I will be a teeny part of that memory, too.
So home we went, as the sun set on the day. We were both exhausted. In a good way. We honored or baby girl and we laughed and lived in the present and made the very most of the experience. It was a wonderful day and we are thankful to all who made it happen. You, too, Kermit!!