Eulogy for a Mother.

Bonaventure-Cemetery-sculpture

Yesterday I went to a funeral.  A friend’s mother.  She was 88, frail, with dementia.  It’s a bitter pill we have to swallow, aging, but, as the cliché goes, it’s better than the alternative – although perhaps less so towards the end.  As is the way now, there was a slide show of her life.  She was gorgeous – model gorgeous and very fond of dancing – when Sydney still had dance halls.  So hard to pay tribute to a life in half an hour.  My own mother died at 85, frail, with dementia.  She was gorgeous – model gorgeous – with a gap between her front teeth like Lauren Hutton.  When she died I would fall asleep clutching her wedding ring and when my father died three years later, I had his wedding ring fused with hers so I have something visible to hold the invisible.

Most eulogies are a timeline of someone’s life – facts, figures – the skeleton of our years here.  It was a torment deciding what to write about my mother because those final words circle the universe forever and I didn’t want to talk about the skeleton, I wanted to talk about the flesh and bones.  So, once more for you mum because love never ends.

 Mum and me as baby

The danger in writing a eulogy, especially for someone like mum who had such a long life and whom you so love, is that you feel you need to cover everything in their lives to somehow “do them justice” and it can’t be done – not even if you had hours to say what is supposed to be said in these 5 or 10 minutes so I thought to myself, how would I respond if a stranger asked me to describe my mother and only gave me one sentence in which to do it”.

And the amazing thing is, I didn’t even hesitate.  I would simply say, “She was a good woman”.  At face value, you might think it a rather old-fashioned, almost mediocre description but sometimes it is the small, common words that we use all the time – and not always with much thought – that carry the most meaning.

So, here are some definitions from the dictionary for that one seemingly simple word and when you hear them, you will appreciate why it is such a fitting tribute to my mum:

Of high or superior quality                  Worthy of respect, honourable, admirable

Attractive                                                  Competent, skilled

Reliable                                                     Genuine, true

Pleasant, agreeable                                Of moral excellence, upright

Loyal, sympathetic                                 Dependable

Warm-hearted, considerate                 Kind, gentle, gracious

Now before I make her sound too saintly, I must say, she did have a temper but children tend to bring that out in you.  I know this will come as a shock to some of you but I have been known to be a little stubborn and headstrong and for a few years of my life, I thought my name had been changed to “asina”.  For those of you without the benefit of Italian, it means “donkey” or “mule”.

My husband’s favourite memory of my mother is her rather brutally honest observation to him before we got married:  “Daniela’s wonderful as long as she gets her own way and when she doesn’t, she turns into a viper”.  I guess she thought that forewarned was forearmed.

She laughed, loudly and often. She had a dry, wicked sense of humour.  She sang as she did the housework.  She hated cooking.  She loved my father faithfully and unwaveringly for over 52 years and had that love returned.  She was, the most amazing mother, and in her honour, I would like to read a poem entitled, “A Mother’s Love”

A mother’s love determines how We love ourselves and others.

There is no sky we’ll ever see Not lit by that first love.

Stripped of love, the universe Would drive us mad with pain;

But we are born into a world That greets our cries with joy.

How much I owe you for the kiss That told me who I was!

The greatest gift–a love of life– Lay laughing in your eyes.

Because of you my world still has The soft grace of your smile;

And every wind of fortune bears The scent of your caress. ” 

 One day, someone will be talking like this about our lives – make sure you give them a wealth of material to work with.

 wedding rings

Advertisements

About Daniela S.

I am, what is quaintly referred to, as "over the hill" - but just! Married to an American, I lived in Atlanta for 8 years then was very surprised by my son's creation and arrival one month before my 42nd birthday. We moved back to my beloved Sydney 12 years ago and it is now my absolute joy to be sharing both my deep and shallow thoughts with the known universe.

Posted on March 27, 2015, in Love and Other Bruises and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid

    I love what your mum said to your husband, that’s just the sort of thing my mum would do! What a wonderful tribute to your mum, that poem even made me a tad teary.I adore what you have done with your parents’ wedding rings “something visible to hold the invisible.” That’s just beautiful.

    • Hi Sammie. Thanks again for your commenting. I used to wear their rings on a chain but I just thought a ring would be so much more practical and something i could wear every day because of its simplicity. It is a comfort having it on I have to say. And as for what my mother said – Jeff brings it up all the time!! Usually in humour but every so often – not so much!!

  2. Trust a Mum to be as honest as this to your husband. I think that is a great memory to have. Beautiful choice in poem.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: