MY MOTHER PASSED AWAY

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MY MOM PASSED AWAY ON THE MORNING OF SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH.  I flew back to Tacoma to see her but she had passed before I arrived.  

I AM THANKFUL TO BE HER SON.  You only get one Mother and I am glad for the one I had.  Some children never really get to know their Mothers and others have strained or distant relationships.  It took me longer than it should have to appreciate her. 

MOM LIVED TO 82.  She left behind a husband, four children, a brother and sister, ten grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. There are many more in-laws, nieces, nephews, and others.  Her health had been failing for about six months.  As with so many others, there was some relief at her passing.

ULTIMATELY THOUGH, IT IS STILL SAD AND DIFFICULT.  Everyone in our Family will feel her loss in different ways.  I will miss her. A lot! My Mom and Dad were married for their entire adult lives.  I know it will be hard for Dad to not have Mom in his life any longer.  Mom was also the best friend for my sister Laurie.  

WHILE IT WAS A TOUGH WEEK, IT WAS HELPFUL TO ENJOY THE SUPPORT OF MY FAMILY.  You certainly appreciate your Family more during times like this.  

I WANTED TO PAY TRIBUTE TO MY MOM WITH SOME WORDS AT THE SERVICE.  I speak professionally on a regular basis.  I am rarely anxious when I do this.  However, this was different.  Speaking about Mom so soon after losing her was hard.  

BELOW IS MY EULOGY FOR MY MOM.  I would have liked to talk about her a bit more, but shorter seemed better in this case.  I have only slightly modified it (took out a couple of quick stories that don’t relate as well when written) for this posting:

Thanks for joining us today in our tribute for Mom.  We’re grateful for your presence with us.

               When I think about my  Mom, I think she would appear to most to be a very steady, normal, everyday woman that was devoted to her Family and her Faith.  But to her Family, Mom was important, extraordinary, and unforgettable.  There are three features of her character I want to highlight today.

               From the time that she was married, the early to mid ‘50’s until the early ‘70’s, she had four children, had to pick up and move six different times all while living in military housing.  If you are not familiar with military housing 40 to 50 years ago, these aren’t exactly palaces. Mom did not have a place to raise her Family that was her own home until she was almost 40.  During this time, Dad was gone for two full years – one in Korea and one in Vietnam. 

               Mom and Dad, together, were able to get things done.  They raised their kids.  We are all quite different but ultimately decent people.  This whole process of raising children and managing a Family can be difficult.  At times far more difficult than others. 

               During this time, Mom and Dad were not reading books on how to improve their communication techniques.  Dad is ultimately a loving husband but not kind of guy that would say:  “Mary, can you tell me why you feel the way you do?”  This wasn’t easy for Mom – but she took stands when she needed to.   

              Even though they could bicker and argue with the best of them, Mom loves Dad, she is devoted to him, cares for him, admires Dad, and is very protective of him too.   By my count, they made it together for more than 65 years, an astonishing accomplishment! 

              To get through all of these times with your children and your spouse and your grandkids and the crazy things that can happen in life you have to have a strong backbone – kind of like a silent reserve of strength.  It’s not glamorous, but this strength, the first feature of her character, made a difference in all of our lives.  We can laugh about them now – and we do – Mom enjoyed reflecting on them – but in the moment they were difficult and Mom never left or never gave up.    

               A second feature of Mom’s character was her ability to enjoy herself.  She had a great attitude – a nice spirit about her life, a certain joy.  She was so grateful for what came her way.  This was evident in how thankful Mom was to all of the caregivers she came in contact with towards the end.  It was so genuine.   

               Mom was irreverent and silly with a very goofy, quirky sense of humor.  Her sense of humor aged well and she was comfortable with it.  This was one of the things I enjoyed so much about her and that is so endearing to all of her grandchildren. Mom is an elite, world class Grandmother.  If there was a grandmother hall of fame, Mom would be a first ballot inductee. 

              Finally, Mom was so supportive of the people close to her.  She has seen her children and grandchildren in difficult times and there was never any doubt at all that she was available.  It was important to my Mom to help.  This is what she was going to do – help her Family.  Everyone in her Family knows this.  

              When Mom and Dad visited my Family in Minnesota last May, I was thinking about my children and the whole process of raising them.  I hadn’t pre-planned this question and I somewhat impulsively asked Mom how much she enjoyed raising children.  I recall where Mom was sitting, what she was wearing, how she looked and exactly what she said.  She said verbatim “I loved it dearly, Mark, loved it dearly.”  Of course she did.  What was I thinking?  But it was nice – we spent another fifteen minutes or so talking about what she liked so much about it.

               These are some of the reasons why Mom will be so missed.

 

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