It is that time again – October 24th – my mother’s birthday. Regular readers will recall that I write about my mother specifically every year on the occasion of her birthday (2009, 2010) even though she has been gone nine and a half years now. I envy folks who still have their mother here with them. I don’t think one can fully appreciate how much they will miss their mother until she is gone. It is only over the years – as you grow older and have children of your own – that you fully appreciate the things your mother instilled in you.
So today, in honor of my mother, I share with you again the eulogy I gave at her funeral (I found it last year after the first sump pump failure). I wrote that eulogy after her death, but I encourage those of you who are still fortunate enough to have your mother here to think about what kind of things you would say about your mother – and then, please call your mother and tell her those things while she is still here to appreciate them. It’s just not quite the same saying these things after your mother is gone.
My mother, Helen
October 24, 1930 – April 10, 2002
From my mother I learned that you should never intentionally hurt living things.
From my mother I learned that it is true – some smiles can light up a room.
From my mother I learned that you don’t have to burn your bra or stand in protest to be a strong woman.
From my mother I learned the intrinsic value of being able to crack yourself up.
From my mother I learned that you don’t need to have a lot of stuff to have everything you need.
From my mother I learned that a little bit of charm and a whole lot of good intentions can take you a long way.
From my mother I learned that it is better to buy three boxes of cereal – that you have no intention of eating yourself – on sale – with double coupons – at 49 cents a piece to give to others than to throw out a coupon.
From my mother I learned that while it is nice to be important, it is more important to be nice.
From my mother I learned to value and embrace the underdog.
From my mother I learned that swearing is much more effective if done only once in a blue moon.
From my mother I learned the importance of friendship.
From my mother I learned that warm chocolate chip cookies really can make some things all better.
From my mother I learned that those who think it is all about them – have missed the point.
From my mother I learned that it is more fun to be mischievous when no one expects it.
From my mother I learned that the real heroes in this world are those that live their everyday lives caring and being kind and good to others. Those who, by their example, teach their families to do likewise, creating a ripple effect that reaches across generations, across time and across all that might divide us.
Day eight hundred and forty of the new forty – obla di obla da