|This is a 650-word eulogy that I prepared for my mother's memorial service. It is about six to seven minutes long because there must be pauses for effect to give the listeners a chance to consider what is being presented. While this is very personal to my family and me, I chose this as my example because I am sure she would be honored to be included in this website. Her work goes on.|
|A Pretty Glass|
Mom spent the last moments of her life sitting at the kitchen table sipping the one drink she
allowed herself to have each day. As David made the drink, Mom asked to have
it in a "pretty glass, please." David, of course, obliged, made a little fuss over her and
then went to work in the yard. When he returned a while later, Mom had moved on. It was time
and I am guessing she knew it. But...she was going to have one last drink in a pretty glass
before her final farewell Her work here was done.
Well, how do you say goodbye to a woman who loved wastefully, appreciated profoundly, gave
unconditionally, and lived abundantly? She was simply as accomplished and graceful a human being
as God has seen fit to create. Comfortable in her own skin and with her own nature, Mom was able
to open her arms to the world. If you loved somebody, well...she did too. It was just that
simple. She would welcome and hug and engage people in conversation and before they had a full
sense of it all, she had a new best friend. This happened time and again with all her children.
In fact, whenever my friends came calling, it was as much (probably more) to be around her than me.
On one occasion I recall that Jim Jacobsen, a high school friend, came by unexpectedly and I had to
be somewhere else. He simply said "that's fine, I'll hang out with your mom." He didn't consider
that she might have other commitments, he just knew he was welcome in the home and he was glad to be
Everybody will tell you what a great mother Mom was, and that is certainly true. Norman arrived first
and gave Mom the confidence to take on more challenges; that soon manifested itself in a second boy
child named David and two years into that, I am frankly astonished that she didn't just say 'enough is
enough;' Mom's optimism was rewarded soon thereafter with gorgeous twin girls who are as beautiful
today as they were then. Born during the Christmas holidays, their names are Laurel and Joy to
commemorate the season. A few years later either as an exclamation point or (at least in my view) a
fortunate accident, I joined the fray.
By the time I was able to show a little independence as a youngster, mom had completed her postgraduate
work in motherhood. My four siblings had made her battle tested and wise to the psyche of a youngster.
There was no trick I could contrive that she didn't see through; my thoughts belonged only partially
to me because it seemed she knew every one; I also believe she was the spiritual descendant of Aesop
because she always had a fable or an anecdote at the ready that was spot on to the situation I might
be facing. Half mentor, half cheering fan, all mother, she encouraged us all to follow our own hearts
and be true to our own natures.
Before I end, I need to say that for all her virtues, Mom was not perfect. For example, she could not
tell a joke and get away with it. After creating an atmosphere of anticipation and the hope of a
snappy punch line tying it all together, she would always end up reversing things. "Oh no, that's not
how it goes I think I got it backwards" Or simply "Rats, that's not right. " In fact, I personally
thought we should enact a family statute barring her from any future attempts. The joke, however, was
that we would all ultimately work out what the punch line probably should have been and delight in the
joke that was almost told.
To Mom I say this: "I love you dearly and will cherish you always. I do not mourn your passing.
Instead, I am filled with gratitude that you enriched my life in so many ways. This world was much
improved by your being in it."
July 9, 2007