My mom asked me to write her eulogy. I couldn’t say no. I really didn’t want to, but felt I needed to honor my mom and her request. That conversation took place about 6 months ago. Chemo had stopped, and it was just a matter of time when she would go home. With everything out of control in Mom’s life, she worked on the one thing she could have some say in, her memorial. I’m not sure how many people plan their own memorial’s, but Mom did. It’s very much her personality though. A planner to the end.
I put the eulogy out of my mind. It was too overwhelming, too painful. How could I write a proper eulogy? The word “eulogy” felt heavy. Was I up for the challenge? I kept it out of my mind until December 31st, 2019. Mom’s last day on this planet. My youngest sister Heather and I went right in to planning mode.
Mom left a manila folder with specific music, people to call, and pictures. As each detail was put into place the eulogy was still hanging over my head. I prayed for several days, asking the Lord to give me the words to share. I sat down at the computer the morning I flew out to Oregon. The words came. I wasn’t thrilled with what I wrote, but I had to trust that is exactly what God wanted me to share.
It was a whirlwind once I landed in Oregon. The next day I had to go through some of her stuff at her place. I was tired, and overwhelmed. I pressed on with the help of Jesus and my dear friend Carol. The eulogy was still hanging over my head. I hate speaking in front of people, and how was I going to deliver this message that I wasn’t that thrilled with. At the same time I knew I had to do this. No one else could convey my feelings but me.
I practiced reading the eulogy several times that morning. I thought I could do it. I clung to this passage.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
I thought I was ready. As soon as I got up to the microphone I could barely speak. I paused to catch my breath so I wasn’t just blubbering. I’m sure the pause felt like forever to those in the congregation. In the corner of my eye I caught movement in the front row on the left. I thought Oh great, they are going to usher me off the stage. Poor girl. She’s a mess.
There was an arm around me. I looked down to find my niece Alyssa next to me. She was hugging me, and suddenly I had courage. That sweet 16 year old girl clung to me, and I didn’t let go of her. The words came out of me, miraculously. Mission accomplished. The eulogy was delivered.
You can read my thoughts below, or not. It’s not formal writing. This is just what came out. I trust God that I honored Mom.
God is faithful, no matter what hard thing you are facing today. You can trust Him.
Love you all,
January 18th, 2020
My mom’s words are forever stuck in my head. And they are good words. I think most mom’s want to leave their kids with advice to get through life. At least the good ones do. My mom was one of the good ones. Here’s just a few of her “mom words” of advice. Words to live by:
If there’s a will, there’s a way.
Life isn’t fair.
Don’t burn bridges.
When you borrow something, return it in better condition than when you received it.
These are all very wise, true words. And she was absolutely correct that life is not fair. I’m sure as kids we’d give her the standard “that’s not fair” comment for whatever unfair sibling issue we were dealing with.
Mom’s have the answers to everything when you’re a kid. When we’d need something from her we’d go through the house yelling, “Mom! Mom! Where’s Mom?”
Sometimes she’d answer, “She’s inTahiti!”
Years later I learned that this “mystery” place called Tahiti was pretty spectacular. I can see why she chose such a beautiful place to mentally escape to.
I can only imagine what she juggled with 5 kids. As the recipient of her love and care, it never crossed my mind that mom did a lot. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself, that I really understood just how much she did for us.
Mom did her best to care for us with joy when she could. I can picture her at the kitchen counter mixing up something. Wooden spoon in hand, stirring away, and sort of dancing. She would get this rhythm while she was stirring, and sing. All while cooking. She could’ve grumbled, but she didn’t.
Speaking of wooden spoons, that was her tool of discipline. I don’t recall ever being on the receiving end, but one of my brothers was a few times. I do remember when Heather and I were very young we got the brilliant idea to sneak out of bed after everyone else was asleep. We were pretty proud of ourselves going through the dark house. We stood at the sliding glass door, behind the curtain, just looking outside. We were met with a flannel nightgown and the wooden spoon. The rest is a blurr. We ran back to bed.
Mom took bedtime very serious. Like when the neighbor kids would knock at the door and ask to play with us, and Mom would tell them we were in bed, even though the sun was still out.
Mom would be laughing right now at herself. We loved to make her laugh, especially when we shared funny stories about her.
Mom was a big kid. She’d play in the snow with us, or swim in the pool. Or, when we had a VW Bug, she’d make the car hop as she shifted and we thought it was so fun.
It’s all the little things that I remember and hold on to.
What will I take with me from my mom, and pass down? What’s Mom’s legacy?
Resilience and faith.
Mom bounced back time, and time again through much adversity in her life. She lived with disease and sickness pretty much her whole life, yet she fought. She carried on. She didn’t complain. She grew up poor, and was left alone much of her childhood, yet she never said a bad word about her parents. She loved her parents very much, even my grandpa who was a tough man.
Resilience was Mom’s middle name. And because of that “don’t give up” attitude she experienced many triumphs in her life as well.
She fought until the end. Doing the best that she should do. Even making sure her grand kids had Christmas cards. She did her very best to love her kids, grand kids, and husband.
That’s her resilient spirit. I hope I have a tiny bit of that.
Mom had peace about where she was going when she died. Why? Because Mom knew Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
It all happened back in the early ‘80’s. Mom was invited to a Bible Study.
She gladly accepted the invitation thinking it was just a social gathering. When Mom arrived at the study she noticed each woman had their own Bibles so she decided she better get a Bible too. The Bible study was on the book of Acts and Mom loved it. For the first time in her life the Bible was alive to her. She was learning and excited. Shortly afterwards she accepted Christ as her Savior.
I will always be grateful to Mom for meeting Jesus because then she introduced Him to me and the rest of our family. She was forever changed and so were we. I watched her daily read her Bible and get involved in evangelism. She’d blare gospel and worship music in the car. Her new found faith was exciting and she wanted to share the hope she had with others.
There are countless stories and memories that each of us will treasure about Dot.
I will always miss my mom but I can’t wait to see her again soon.
She ran her race. She finished her journey and was lovingly greeted into Jesus’ arms.
Mom is free from pain, disease, and suffering. So I rejoice with her. She’s exactly where she’s supposed to be, in heaven. We are made for eternity and Mom knew that. I hope you know that too.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12