A eulogy for my Mom
My Mom passed away in the summer of 2006. Since then, Mother’s Day has remained a day of celebration, although it is lined with melancholy since I can’t physically reach out and give my mom a kiss and a hug. I do take the opportunity to remember her love and her unwavering confidence that I had the ability to accomplish great things.
As tribute, I could easily write one of many humorous anecdotes that defined my relationship with my mom. But instead, I’d like to share the eulogy I wrote for, and read at, her funeral. Hopefully, it gives you pause to relish whatever moments you cherish or hold dear about your own mother. Happy Mother’s Day.
It was 8:50. I had gone into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. My cousin’s girlfriend followed and said, “Your Mom opened her eyes.” I rushed into the den to find Mom, whose eyes were looking up at us for the first time in almost three days.
She was surrounded by her family — each one had come, not out of obligation but out of love.
“We love you so much,” each of our voices said in unison. “Everything is going to be OK.”
Mom looked out at us and tried to say something. To me it looked like, “I love you all.”
Again, our voices spoke as one, “We love you. We love you. We love you.”
Mom tried to reply again. But again no words came.
I moved around to where she could see me. I waved at her and looked one last time into my Mother’s eyes. “Hi. Everything will be fine. Have fun,” I said.
Her eyes closed.
“She’s gone,” I said. With that I turned to my Dad. We enveloped him, letting him know that together, as a family, we would be OK.
Our eyes were filled with tears and our hearts heavy with loss.
We hugged one another for several minutes. I went into the office and called Richard, telling him that Mom had been surrounded by love.
A short time later one of my cousins and I were in the kitchen. I remarked that, as expected, Mom had gone out on her own terms. She summoned the strength to open her eyes one last time, finding herself surrounded by those that she loved. She said goodbye and went on her way.
“I take back what I said about there being no Hollywood endings,” my cousin said. “That was it.”
At the time I agreed. But to say it is a Hollywood ending is to sell it short. A Hollywood ending is written — its emotion carefully produced. The ending we watched was an epic that took a lifetime to produce. It was no happy accident that Mom was surrounded by those she loved.
As the nurse who was on duty pointed out, “Most people die alone. Your family is extraordinary.”
The actual script for this final scene can be read in everything Mom taught us.
She taught us what was of value. What was real. What family was all about. She deposited in each of us an infinite amount of love. And that love was at her disposal when she needed it. There was never a question in anyone’s mind about being there and staying there as long as necessary. Had she decided to stay for another three days I can guarantee that everyone would have stayed without hesitation.
I have chosen to focus on the end because it is the final reminder of what she spent a lifetime teaching us. Without question, we are reverent of our family bonds because of her. I know that every member of this family feels that devotion embedded within them because it was put there by Mom. We live with the knowledge that our family is the most important thing on our lives. This is merely one of many lessons we learned from her.
While we may be sad to carry on without her, we are consoled by the fact that death does not have the strength to remove what she put in our souls.
As far as her legacy and immortality, it is secure. My children, Mia, Sam and Zoe will be taught the same lessons I was taught and have the same values infused in them. They will hear through me, the words of my Mom. Her infinite love, her joy and happiness are evident in the hearts and souls of my nieces and nephews — should I or my brother or sister ever find ourselves missing Mom we need only look into the eyes of our children to know that she is immortal.
It is my hope that I can live up to this expectation of everything she taught me about life so that my Dad can always see her presence through me. In this way, she will never fully pass from us.
I trust fully that the next generation and those that follow will come to respect and nurture these memories and life lessons that we today hold so dear. The seed that is planted here will proliferate out into fruit that will certainly make the world a better, more loving place. That is all you can ask of one person — that they leave this world better than when they got here. There is no doubt that my Mother accomplished that.
This is a day of sadness, for all of us gathered here are pierced by what we have lost. For me personally, I will no longer be able to pop over and say, “Hi Mom.” A phone call is no longer possible. But these are the semi-selfish desires to drink of something eternally that was only available temporarily from the beginning. Those are the rules of mortality.
Whenever I feel parched by my loss I will have to quench that thirst with the knowledge that I was far luckier than most. I had a Mother that loved me every day of my life and thought of nothing but being a great teacher and guide from the moment I was born until the day she moved on. Were the whole world blessed like I, a more benevolent place it would be.
My prayer on this day is that we all remember what we were taught by Mom up until she drew her last breath.
I didn’t write the following but nothing seems more appropriate: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
Mom is not gone.
She has rejoined the infinite.
This part of her existence where she lived among us in a recognizable form is over. Her love will carry on. The lessons that she spent a life permanently engraving into our hearts, minds and souls will remain for our goodness and for the benefit of those we beg to continue in our name.
This is what we must always remember.