Friday, August 5, 2011

My Personal Eulogy to My Mom

Yesterday at the funeral, two of the grandchildren read memories that others had written. I wrote so many that my dear niece could only read a few, so for you who were there yesterday, a few will be repeats:

I have so many memories of my mom that I could take up the full hour just by myself, and I had the opportunity to talk, but I knew I'd cry too much.

When I was a little girl, I had asthma really bad, but the doctors hadn't diagnosed me yet, in fact, that wouldn't happen until I was 7 - after that, my asthma stayed under control a lot better. And as a little girl, I also got pneumonia pretty easy, so many, many nights my mom and Debbie would take turns rocking me and sleeping with me in the recliner while I was sick. When I was hospitalized, my mom would stay with me the whole stay, only going home to shower and take a walk in the evenings, then she would come back and sleep by my bedside all night.

My mom took a walk around Salem pond every evening & I loved going with her. To this day, I enjoy ponds, noticing the smells, the plants, and the animals that live there.

My mom loved to color coordinate my clothes, and I remember learning early to do it myself. She also let me wear some of her jewelry, like necklaces and rings, from kindergarten on. I remember her loving jewelry and always wearing earrings, even to go to work in the lunchroom, and when she dressed up she would also wear necklaces.

My mom struggled with her weight the whole time I was growing up. When we lived in Wyoming she joined T.O.P.S. Every week she'd go, and it was there that she made lots of her friends. She has always been extremely social and often asked if I was depressed because I didn't always look forward to ward parties and such; she just couldn't understand why I didn't love parties as much as she did.

In Wyoming, she had two close friends that really helped her out after the divorce by just being there by hanging out and talking on the phone. One of her friends, Donna, would come over to our house very often just to hang out and play games with my mom and me. One night, my mom and Donna played pacman on the Atari until 5:00 in the morning; they both had blisters on their thumbs the next day. I loved laying in bed and listening to them laughing and talking until I went to sleep. Libby and my mom shared a love of crocheting and would trade patterns and enjoyed showing each other their finished creations. Both of these ladies did so much for my mom and I know that she loved them both so much.

My mom tried hard to give me things that she thought would make me happy. I think I was the most spoiled girl in Riverton! She had a tradition of giving me a doll every year for Christmas, even when I got older. I had a friend who coveted my dolls told my mom that her mom had made her get rid of hers; my mom always felt sorry for her, saying that every girl should have a doll.
I guess she really took it to heart, because when I was an older teen, my mom would tease and say that after I moved out she would have to get a doll to keep her company. So she did! She loved her collection of porcelain dolls, and loved that her granddaughters loved her porcelain dolls along with her. She gave my daughters a porcelain doll apiece of their own, since they loved hers so much.

Every school morning through junior high, my mom made me eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and she made it for me. She insisted on driving me to and from school every day, and did it until the divorce. After that, since she was working, she asked my dad to pick me up & take me. Very often she would have my dad take me to her work after school. She was a secretary for a freight company, and even now, whenever I smell printer ink and see all of the different office supplies I think of those years at the office.

My mom was a wonder at always keeping our house clean and keeping up on laundry. When I moved out and had kids, I was not nearly as great at keeping up on laundry as she did, so to help me out, when she would come and stay with me, she would catch me up on my laundry (too bad it never stayed done without her!)

My mom was an excellent cook and baker! I loved eating her enchilladas, tacos, goulash, fruit salads, potato salads, fudge, cookies, pumpkin pies and oh my! her Thanksgiving dinners were the best! I loved having her come to my house for holidays to celebrate with us, and I loved the dishes she would bring.

My mom LOVED holidays. She decorated the house, baked goodies and made the house smell so good! When I lived around her, she would make the holidays wonderful from all of the love and care that she put into them for us.

When holidays like the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day rolled around, she loved to have bar-b-ques and picnics. She would always ask what we should have for dinner on those holidays; food was her thing! Now, I have a daughter just like her in that regard. About 2 weeks before any holiday, Amber is trying to put together exactly what we should eat to celebrate. Amber even went on to get a 1 year certificate in culinary arts; I attribute this to her grandma's love for cooking, baking, and eating yummy food.

Whenever we went camping, my mom was great at packing the trailer and making sure we'd have yummy food and lots of things to play with. I remember her packing puzzles, cards, and a big book by Richard Scarry for me that became one of my favorites and I've kept a copy at my house while my kids were growing up.

When I was in Young Women's and played softball, my mom came to every game. In fact, very often she would help my team practice before the coach got there. She was amazing at batting, and would holler to each girl and tell them when a ball was coming to them, then she'd toss the ball in the air with her left hand and hit it with the bat in her right hand. The ball would ALWAYS go to who she told it would.

I remember the first time I ever considered that my mom would die. My neighbor, Kurt, and I were talking in the yard and he asked if I had a boyfriend. Now, I was about 4 years old and I had a crush on the 18 year old boy that worked for my dad at the station, so I told him yes. Kurt asked if I was going to marry him. I said yes. Then he asked where we were going to live, and I replied that we'd live with my mom. He asked where we were going to live when my mom died... I'd never thought of that before and I yelled, "MY MOM IS NOT GOING TO DIE!" to which he told me that everyone dies. I ran as fast as I could into the house and asked, "Mom, are you gonna die?" My mom said, "Well, not anytime soon." But it put the thought in my mind and it just wouldn't go away. I remember being an older girl, about 10, and being really mad at my mom. I went into her room and looked in her jewelry box, just to pass time and to cool off (as a side note, I LOVED looking in my mom's jewelry box! She had such cool stuff in there that was so shiny and pretty, and some really fun stuff like a bird that dunked its beak in the water when you put it in a cup of water and even some Mexican jumping beans. Since I've had my own girls, I've tried to be as patient as my mom was with me and let them look through my jewelry and collectibles too. Anyway.... ) as I was looking through her jewelry box, a song came into my head and I don't remember what it was but I thought of my mom dying. Suddenly what I had been so angry about seemed so small and I cried and thought of how much I loved my mom. Fast forward to 2009... (the next paragraph goes with this one)

My mom was diagnosed with ischemic bowel (which is where part of the bowel dies - usually they do surgery and cut out the bad part and hook it all back together, but they couldn't because her body wouldn't have lasted through surgery). Debbie called me on my cell phone to tell me what the doctor had said, and then asked me if I understood that she might not make it. Now, this happened just four days before Josh's wedding and the call came as I was out buying bridesmaids dresses for the wedding. I refused to cry until I got all of the errands for the day ran, but after I did, I let myself think about it. A flood of emotions came to me: who was going to take care of me should anything happen to me? who was going to be my security net? who would ever love me as much as my mom? and I cried more than I've ever cried before or since. I cried so hard that I threw up. My mom had always been there to take care of me, even when I was a grown up. She was the one who had taken care of me when I had two little kids, was pregnant with a third, and had chronic fatigue syndrom. She would work all day and then come to my house before she even went home and would do the dishes and vacuum the floor and do whatever else I needed done that I couldn't do. This was the woman who babysat my children while I went to school in the evening and then babysat for me on Friday nights while I was a single mom so that I could have some time for myself, and then continued babysitting every Friday night after Steve and I were married so that we could have some time alone. This was the woman who called me and worried about me and offered to help, even when she was 2000 miles away and couldn't do anything to help anyway. She had always been there... who would take her place? I was so thankful when she healed from the ischemic bowel. Since then, I tried to do everything I could for her so that when she really did die I wouldn't have any regrets. Now that she really has died, it leaves a hole in my heart so big you could drive a Mac truck though it, but the only regret I have is that I couldn't visit her as often as I (or she) would have liked, and that I will have to wait about 40 more years to visit with her again.

The first year that we moved to Utah after the divorce, my mom didn't have money for a big Christmas for me, so she crotcheted a lot of my Christmas presents. At the time I didn't realize what treasures I had gotten, but now that I am a grownup, I don't think that I have many treasures more special than the things that she has made for me.

When I hit teenager-hood, mom and I butted heads a lot. I am rebellious and stubborn by nature.... and, well, my mom is pretty stubborn too. My Sunday School teacher used to raz me and give me a hard time about being grounded for weeks at a time when I looked so innocent and angelic (his words, not mine). In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm still supposed to be grounded!

As an adult, my mom always worried about me. She would call me all the time, just to make sure all was well. Sometimes she'd get the answering machine and would leave an urgent message to give her a call when I got home so that she could quit worrying. In fact, she seemed to have radar to know when I wasn't at home, because there always seemed to be a message on the phone when I'd get back. A couple of times she didn't call while I was out, so I'd tease her and call her to make sure *she* was okay. :)

My mom was no angel. She didn't have the patience of Job. (and I didn't seem to get those genes either!) but she was a good woman and such a great mom! She would always tell me that she might not always like what I did, but that she would always love me. And she did. That makes her pretty perfect in my eyes.

At the cemetery, there was a row of flags a few feet away honoring her as an Air Force Veteran.

She is gone, but definitely not forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing some memories. I was touched. I truly missed out not knowing her.