This title may or may not be funny to you. My mom would have spit her TAB all over the keyboard if she opened this up one morning. So I imagine my brother and sister will first roll their eyes and then hopefully smile or laugh when they read it.
It’s been twenty-one years since she died. It was lung cancer that took her from us and she was only forty-three. I’ve already lived almost four years longer. It’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around that.
She’s missed the births of seven of her ten grandchildren as well as one great-granddaughter. She’s missed four weddings. But it’s me, my brother, and sister that have probably missed the most.
Enough has been written in this blog about my mother to probably bore you to tears. It always fascinates me though to think back on her final months and remember how she kept her sense of humor as well as her ability to realize what she needed to leave behind for the three of us.
I can give a quick example as to what I mean by this in explaining the story behind her eulogy. Sometime during those last few months I had joked about how we were going to have her stuffed and sit her at the end of the couch after she died. That way the grandkids would be able to sit on her lap and “play” with her whenever they visited. Well after laughing about that one for the tenth time I blurted out to her that I was going to read her eulogy at her graveside.
She simply said, “Ronnie- you’ll be too sad. You’ll be crying and stuttering during the whole thing.” And then we’d both laugh and mimic what it would sound like as I tried bumbling through the reading. I’d stuttered for as long as I could remember. I would never read in front of the class. I avoided any type of public speaking as well as answering the phone. When I worked at a grocery store I refused to make announcements over the intercom. It was horrible and I was made fun of and ridiculed all through school.
Well- Mom dies and my brother and I write the eulogy. And on a perfect late-spring day I stood in front of family and friends and read it with perhaps one stutter. I guess you could say that my mom tricked me into overcoming my greatest fear.
Yeah, I still stutter sometimes. But I can now speak in front of hundreds of people. I speak to groups of parents often and if I had to stand in front of 40,000 people, I’m quite sure I could do that as well.
It’s just a small example of a parent’s love and wisdom even while facing her own death. It’s little lessons and subtle messages that I’ve always tried to pass along to my children.
So below is a copy of the eulogy that my brother and I co-wrote and that I read (with limited stuttering) while both my siblings stood beside me.
Happy Dead Day Mom (and many more)!