21 January 2009
Seven Days Later
Its been a week since my mother's funeral service. Life is going on, but I still have a gaping hole in my heart. I really miss her. Here's what I shared at her funeral (yes, I did read it myself and managed to hold it together):
I have often joked that I must be a huge disappointment to my mother because I have found absolutely no use for so many of the things that were an integral part of her life.
For example, she was an amazing cook. She was all about quality AND quantity. My mother’s Thanksgiving Dinner is an all-time favorite of mine with her homemade stuffing and gravy. There wasn’t a thing that she cooked that wasn’t delicious.
I hate cooking. This year, at 32 years old, marks the first year of my adult life that I’ve made dinner on a consistent basis – mostly because my youngest daughter is not exactly the picture of reliability when it comes to dining out in public. I’ve learned to cook so that my family does not get thrown out of restaurants. And while Mom always acted like it was okay that I hated cooking, I know deep down inside she wished that I enjoyed it as much as she did.
And then there’s sewing. She loved it and was great at it. When I was in first grade, the handmade E.T. costume that Mom made for me won first place in the school Halloween Party and Mom made all six of the bridesmaids dresses for my wedding.
I’m afraid of sewing machines…literally. I’m afraid my hand is going to get sucked in under that little press foot thing with the needle.
And gardening. As you can see by the photos displayed here today, her garden rivaled that of Eden. Last Easter, she gave me a potted Jade plant because there was no possible way I could kill it. My oldest daughter reminds me on a regular basis of what a horrible gardener I am and how awesome Grandma is at it.
And then there’s jewelry. She never left the house without earrings – and usually a matching necklace, bracelet and ring as well. I’ve rarely seen the woman wear the same pieces more than once. Each Christmas, she’d buy me a set in hopes that I’d catch the bug as well.
However, I have worn the same silver hoop earrings since 1997 and my wedding ring is rarely ever clean which annoyed her to no end. Every time I’d come over, “Come here. Let me see your ring. I’ll go clean it.”
But as much as I’ve rejected these certain aspects of what she found important, there are things she instilled in me that I have incorporated into my life. And they are what really matter.
Laughter. My mother loved to laugh. She thought she was so funny. She loved Chris Farley –she and I saw Tommy Boy at the movie theater on opening night. She quoted lines from “Grumpy Old Men” all the time. Jason and I made her laugh and we laughed at her a lot. My dad never thought we were as funny as we thought we were. My brother and I love to laugh – and he and I married people that love to laugh and make us laugh. She taught us to not take ourselves too seriously. And sometimes we take that to extremes.
And she taught me how to love my family—my husband and two little girls. There was never a question in my mind over whether or not my Mom loved me. It permeated everything she said and did for us. She gave and she gave and she did her best to protect us from the ugliness and hurt that life can bring. And when she couldn’t she just let us cry in her lap –well at least me. I don’t know if Jason ever cried in her lap – and if he did, he probably won’t admit it.
And now I want to, and I try to do the same for my family. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as good at it as she was, but I’ll continue to strive for that all the days of my life.
Finally, I hold on to the same faith that she did. Mom loved God. And she loved to read the Bible and pray. She taught me how to do that. Her faith in Jesus Christ was the foundation of the last 25 years of her life. Mine is too, because of what she modeled. And its because of this faith that I know I’ll see her again some day.
In spite of all the things that she was that I am not, I hold to the things that she loved dearest – Laughter, family and God. And I hope that I can honor my mother with the way I live my life –because she shaped it.