My mother has been gone for seven months and it has taken me this long to be able to share with all of you what I said at her graveside. This is in Margaret Federlin's honor-- as well as for all of you who nurture children and grandchildren. Your gifts of time, inspiration, and encouragement are priceless.
"Two weeks ago my mother and I started looking through old photo albums. We looked at more recent ones of my children, and also ones of her and my father in their earlier years. I found an half-empty album that had an envelope stashed in the back full of pictures that my father had taken of her paintings. We decided to fill up the rest of the pages with these pictures. As we did, it struck me how much she painted (even until the week before she died she was still talking about the paintings that she was thinking about and planning), how many pictures she had given away, and how much people enjoyed her artwork.
|Margaret's wall of bird pictures|
"I asked her if she was disappointed that none of her children had inherited her artistic talents. She said no, she was confident that each of us was following our own interests and passions.
"I have thought often that one of my mother’s gifts to me was her saying to me when I was about 10 or 12, 'You have a way with words.' Her belief in me has continued unabated into my adult years even as I told her about my struggles writing my first novel. In some ways, she has been my biggest fan. I will miss her being in my corner, rooting for me and encouraging me to persevere. But I have her words, her voice, and her belief that I can do 'whatever I set my mind to' inside of me now, and I will never lose that.
"I was privileged to have had both my parents live nearby for the last years of their lives. I think it was Charlotte’s warmer climate—compared to upstate, NY or Milwaukee that drew them here—but my life has been richer as a result. But for Tom and Barbara, I want to tell you that I can’t tell you how many times she said to me, 'I am blessed to have three wonderful kids.'
|With my sister, Barbara and brother, Tom|
"About a month ago she said, 'I have more than I anticipated. I didn’t think I’d live to be so old, have so many friends, be so happy and be satisfied.' She said she wanted to be remembered as a 'someone who loved her family, her children, and her life.'
|Margaret with Lindsey Kasten and Leslie Clark|
along with her first two great-grandchildren:
Caitlin and Ebby
"Every inch of wall space in her room at the Stewart Health Center was covered with her paintings.
Family members and friends will treasure them for years to come.
Given to Lisa Baldwin, 1988
|Given to Caitlin Kasten|
Painted Circa 1990
Hung in Tom Federlin's room growing up
Given to him, 2013"Her artwork is most certainly part of her legacy to us. But as her children, we also can treasure her other gift to us: a simple belief that we were important, special, and very much a part of the reason she was thankful to 'get out of bed' each day."