Thank you so much for the outpouring of sympathy and warm thoughts for myself and Rita. She loved all of you and spent the better part of every day (naps not included) involved with you in some aspect of irisdom.
Rita passed away peacefully with both of her daughters holding her hands at 5:20 am on November 17th. Her brother, son, sister-in-law and I were there with her also. When she was released to hospice on Wednesday it was an incredible relief to her family as the people there were the most caring and compassionate we have ever had the good fortune to meet. Both she and her kids were treated with grace and dignity. It humanized everybody involved, allowing us to remember that this wasn't just a sick and dying body plugged into tubes and wires but our mother, sister, friend and wife. Our Rita, who over the course of her life has unreservedly thrown herself and all the resources available to her at every problem, issue or project that came her way. Whether it was caring for her many foster children, volunteering her time and talents at a shelter for abused and battered women or more recently with all things iris, she gave it all she had.
Because of the distance the family has decided that there wont be a formal memorial service here in Florida, however come spring I will be doing a road trip to scatter her ashes in the places she's directed. As I do this I'll be stopping at various places with a retrospective of her life and times. You will be advised beforehand of when and where these will be.
Many of you have asked where you can send donations as a memorial to her. I can think of none better than the hospice that comforted her and her family at the end of her life. They have many needs so if you choose to, please send your memorium to me at PO Box 177, Deleon Springs, FL 32130. When a reasonable period of time has gone by, I will gift the proceeds to them in her name.
Knowing as I do that she had many irons in the fire at any given time, I have to ask all of you to step up to the bar and help me in making arrangements to transfer this workload to the many of you she was working with. Whether it was in her capacity as Editor of the Medianite or SJI Review, RVP Counselor, Treasurer of HIPS or MemSec of MIS. There are a good many things that need to be attended to and I for one don't want to be on the receiving end of one of her cat reminders. So please begin making arrangements to have these taken care of.
Again, I thank all of you for your friendship and thoughtfullness during this time and ask that you remember her as the vital, caring and committed woman she was by committing random acts of kindness for your own part. Give someone who may not deserve it a kind word or a hug, just because. I know I have a lifetime of them that I can't give to her now.
AIS Membership Secretary
PO Box 177
DeLeon Springs, FL 32130