So it goes.

On behalf of the entire family, thank you for being here today as we celebrate the life of our Mother.

Let’s start with a little word association – when you think of Mom, what is the first word that pops into your mind?

Anybody come up with “Tough”? Mom could be characterized as fun-loving, adventurous, generous, tenacious, big-hearted… So many words… But it seems I’m not the only one who thinks of her as ‘tough’.

The scientific definition of toughness is “Strength and Ductility”. Resistance to fracture while stressed… The ability to absorb energy, take repeated blows, without failure.

Tough as nails… One tough cookie…. Built Ford tough…

That was Mom.

We learned pretty early that she was a strong woman. Stick your tongue out in our household? Be prepared to wear a clothespin on it! Bite your sister? Be prepared to have Mom bite you back. Oh, and like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, we were all connoisseurs of a variety of fine soaps. She maintained order and kept us all in line.

When facing heart bypass surgery in 2008, Mom was informed by her surgeon that if she continued to smoke, her chances of survival would be cut in half. On the spot, she decided that after 65 years of smoking, she should quit. And she did. Cold turkey, that very day.

While collecting information to settle Mom’s estate last night, I looked at one of her checkbooks to make sure I had the right one. Knowing that she would likely be going to the hospital on Monday, she paid her bills on Sunday. She wasn’t able to see well, write well, or even breathe easily… But she paid her bills.

Mom was an incredibly strong woman.

To complement her strength, she was also agile – able to adapt, improvise and overcome.

Fiercely independent, she was at first reluctant to let Dad into her life. He said he could remember the moment he knew he was in love with her – they were at the market, shopping for a block of Swiss cheese. She spent a great deal of time going through the individually weighed packages, trying to find the block with the fewest holes, because she wanted to get the most for her money. He was smitten! She wasn’t quite so sure…

She eventually accepted his proposal, and left the city for the suburbs. Neither she, nor Dad, knew the first thing about home ownership, maintenance, or gardening. She didn’t have a driver’s license. But she adapted, and together they created a garden, became neighbors, joined this congregation, learned how to camp, and raised a family…

Having given up her profession as a nurse to stay home with her children, and later to provide care for her oldest granddaughter she started back to school in her 50’s to brush up her skills. Returning to nursing, she quickly settled into a leadership role on the psychiatric ward at the county hospital – saying she felt right at home there…

She’d be unhappy at this point if i failed to mention that she was a straight-A student…

She was a devoted Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. Perhaps her greatest gift was her ability to understand each of us as unique individuals – she knew that one size didn’t fit all in her clan. She could coach and mentor us, knowing our capabilities, knowing our limits, and knowing when it was important to push them…

This combination of strength and ductility – her toughness – was apparent through the difficulty of the past week. There was never a doubt in our mind that she was calling the shots – even at the very end of her life. We have been fortunate that Mom’s oldest granddaughter, DQ, and her husband, BJ, have been able to care for her. She waited until they were by her side before she allowed herself to rest…

So we thank you again for coming together with us today to celebrate her life.

Life is short. Death is forever. Go joyfully! Nothing left undone!

MommaThis is the eulogy i delivered yesterday at her funeral… It’s been a pretty rotten couple of weeks, but it seems the worst is behind us.  She turned 86 on Friday, and died two days later… Not a bad run…

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52 thoughts on “So it goes.

  1. Sorry I could not be there. I got the message from a friend while I was in Oklahoma City and didn’t get back until after it was all over.

    She’s got to be proud of you. She’s got a lot to be proud of. You’ve written great compliments. Makes me wish I could have met her.

    • Awww… sweet that you thought about attending, but i was trying to discourage folks from making the trip. You know how well THAT works!

      She was a character, that’s for sure… Despite our differences through the years, i enjoyed the hell out of spending time with her, and am going to miss her very much…

  2. Not a bad run at all. She produced you and four siblings, and vicariously, at least a couple of pretty good grandkids. I will miss the pictures and tales of her exploits. I’m sorry for your loss seems so inadequate. Hugs, sweetie.

    • technically, i have three siblings, but my oldest niece (who is only 10 years younger than i am) has been more like a sibling… she really stepped up to rock star status as shit was hitting the fan with momma, and for that i will likely leave my previous issues in the history books and move onward….

      i’ve been calling her on sunday nights at 10pm for almost 20 years. it’s going to be weird… i miss her… but no one can live forever…

        • i don’t think that will ever go away… i’m feeling the hole in my heart, but i know that for my niece and her family, who came home from the funeral to an empty home, that it must be soul-crushing to have her gone. and yes, they are absolutely heart-broken…

  3. Nice work. I would have loved to hear it in person. All good wishes to you and your family. I’m not a church-y kind of guy but next week I’ll go into St. Patrick’s and light a candle for her. R.I.P.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the family dynamic now that she’s gone.

    • Thanks… she’d like the candle.

      i suppose i could read this to you over lunch in a few weeks? or not… i wasn’t weepin’ and wailin’ through it… i’ve done it before, and it feels like a small gift to my family to say the words… to honor them, and in this case, try to establish a foundation for peace, love and understanding regarding the settlement of the estate…

      family dynamic through the crisis was surprisingly steady — and a new villain emerged… i will have many posts ahead of me going into autumn, and perhaps winter. i have a lot to sort out, so standby for more frequent blithering about by me out here…

    • Thank you, Kerriann…. It’s been a ride over the past few years… one of my tasks ahead is going to be to go back through some of the early entries, before i had come to resolution with Mom… there is an arc here… and i think i might benefit from going back over this. just not right now…

  4. My sincerest condolences for your loss. Having lost a parent a decade ago, I can tell you the pain never really goes away, but the wonderful memories more than makes up for the lingering pain.

    • It is the natural order of things…. our parents go before us… circle of life and all that… i miss her. i’m glad she’s not struggling… thanks much, and yes, the memories are good…

  5. You know me i’m always late to the party… “The greatest dignity to be found in death is the dignity of the life that preceded it…” Sherwin Nuland. Seems to me like your Mom had that part nailed, my condolences Daisy and since i’m not the religious sort, tonight while i’m up to my usual no-good, i will raise the blackest of pints towards to the stars and the dust from which we came, for your Mom, her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren, 86 years is a damn, fine run, may we all be as lucky…

    • Thanks, kono… she fought to the end. Nothing really graceful about it – she made choices that were difficult, and did not want to go. i’ll never know what she was most afraid of… But she lived a hell of a life, and got a lot more years than could be expected given her state of health. Thank you for raising the black pint… if i weren’t fucking off in the tropics, i’d raise one right back at you, but a Port Royal lager will have to do…

    • Thanks much… my relationship with Mom evolved substantially over the past 5 years or so… and i am selfishly grateful that there was time to sort out my issues with her. i did love her. very much. and i am going to miss the hell out of her… But onward… and into the drink!

  6. First of all I have to say, that’ a pretty cool photo of her. Secondly, it’s a loss, a freedom and a renewal. Knowing you will embrace them all, I salute you!

    • Thank you, good pup! Getting through the first blast of ‘stuff’, and starting into the endurance portion of the game… She did a good job of getting things in order. Everything she did was with purpose… we just can’t always figure it out right away…

  7. Dear Daisy Fae, I have been away and just read of your loss. My most sincere sympathy to you and your family. Your stories of your mom, dad, sibs and kids have always touched me deeply. Thank you for sharing

    • Thank you, Cheryle… You’ve been hanging out in this trailer park a very long time, and i appreciate your kindness along the way. Always thought i’d be done blogging when Momma died, but i have a lot to say, and more to write… So i’ll be back, once the dust settles a bit, and will provide something of an epilogue at least…

  8. Just because you’re Mum’s gone I hope you won’t give up the blog. I hope you have a proper time to mourn. The ones who have to do the organising sometimes havent got time to do that — although I’m sure you and your niece and the others will be able to share each others/ shoulders to cry on if needed. All the best petal, from across the pond x

    • Thank you, looby… i started this thing in 2007, in part because i was a recently divorced, new empty-nester. but it was mostly to work out issues with my family, and in particular, fix myself in regard to my relationship with my mother. it worked, and my good fortune is that she lived long enough for that to evolve… with the intensity of the recent roller coaster ride, i’ve got some writing ahead, but i really don’t know what else i need it for… other than the basis for the book that can now be written…

      • Sometimes blogs have a natural lifetime. Some of my very favourite people have stopped over the years but I understand why — there are often specific circumstances which provoke it and when those disappear, so does the blog’s raison d’être. Well, we’ll keep an eye on this space 🙂

        • i tend to write more often during the winter — fewer opportunities to be out and about getting into trouble. Like you, i’ve lost some of my most favorite blogs through the years for a variety of reasons. i’d rather see one go away, though, than one that has been half-heartedly maintained by someone going through the motions… sort of like this one! 😉

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