Monday, May 18, 2015

Irreplaceable: My Mom

Hey all
Today I was going through my inbox, looking at old emails.. then I found the one where I sent my talk for my mom's memorial service.
Mom and Aunt June, they must be raising hell somewhere up there..

Dated March 2006, I had forgotten how much I had said and how I said it.
Mom, Denise, Me and Ron early 70's

I miss my mom every single day. I wish she was here to see Jazmine and Sam growing up, to share our lives, to talk to and run things by. I hope she is watching it all from wherever her soul is. I love you mom. Forever in my heart.

Here is what I shared at her memorial:

Denise and I want to thank you all for being here.  My
mom would be happy to see you all together.

I have been trying to focus and hone down what I will
say today, to not be too wordy, yet not too brief
either.  It is an impossible task. Who my mom was and
what she meant to us is too enormous to put into one
short speech…it would take a lifetime to tell it all.
I will do my best with this.

My mom loved giving, as all of you know who have
received gifts or a card or lots of cards!  Of all the
things she gave us, the gift of herself was the most
precious and enduring.  She was always thinking of
others, even strangers, before herself.  Hers was a
perfect example of a selfless life; a life devoted to
others needs, striving to help whenever and wherever
she could.

She loved people; from the mailman to her best friends
they all mattered.  Mom knew all the details of their
life and if they were having trouble, it became her
trouble too. You could not meet her however briefly
and not unwittingly unload some of your burden.  She
would talk to anyone about anything and be fascinated
and genuinely interested in his or her stories.

Even with her many friends, family was first to Mom.
She raised us with the bedrock knowledge that she
would protect us like a mother bear would her cubs.
We always knew that she was there for us, even if she
was miles away. She was the Easter bunny, Santa Claus,
the tooth fairy and Wonder Woman to us kids.  You knew
where you stood with her yet she never held anger for
long. If you could make her laugh then that all was
forgiven and forgotten. Maybe that’s one reason she
married Dad, he was so good at making her laugh.


Her laugh was memorable too.  She laughed often and
loud, as it should be.  Mom did not miss a chance to
tell a joke or send a funny email or card.  Humor came
easily to her and she shared it just as easily.  She
enjoyed silly things, like a cute cartoon or a funny
stuffed animal.  Mom saved everything, every card she
ever got, and every gift.  They all had meaning to
her, brought a smile or a laugh.  It was rare to see
her cry, I can only remember a handful of times, but I
will always remember her laugh.

Mom had many gardens where she grew vegetables and
flowers.  She loved visiting Huntington Gardens and
Descanso Gardens.  You could usually count on an
onion, a cucumber or tomato finding its way home with
you.  She adored roses and often left us beautiful
fragrant bouquets on our doorstep. She often walked in
the neighborhood and worked in her yard, chatting with
passerby’s.

There was never an animal Mom would not take in.  We
had at least a dozen cats, 4 dogs, assorted rodents,
snakes, lizards, frogs, fish and birds over the years.
She cared for animals very much and could not bear to
see one that was hurting or sick.  Her last cat Smokey
was a stray, found by mom at the post office.  Smokey
has been adopted and we hope that she will live out
her days peacefully.

As our family grew, my mom took on the Grandma role.
I don’t think she pictured herself as a granny type,
but she was a wonderful Gram.  She always remembered
the girls when she traveled with little gifts and
postcards. Jazmine spent many afternoons at the
playground with grandma when she was little and many
more in middle school doing homework together.  Sam’s
favorite place was lying on Grandma’s lap reading
books together and often, taking a nap there. Mom
loved to spend time with them.  She taught me how to
be a good mom and for that I am so grateful.  We are
all very blessed that we got to see her daily for the
last years of her life, the most precious time for the
girls and their Grandma.

Mom was a true believer in freedom and independence.
She took the bus to Pala casino every Wednesday by
herself.  She mowed her own lawn and took out the
trashcans if we didn’t stop her first. Often times I
saw her walking to the corner store or post office.
She was a voracious reader who loved to talk politics
and current events.  As kids growing up she gave us a
chance to be independent, to roam, to make mistakes,
to take on life’s challenges.  Giving up was not in
her vocabulary; she would fight to the end for her
freedom. She never stopped fighting, even in her last
hours.

The greatest gift we ever received from her was one we
would never wish for, that of caring for her in her
last months of life.  Throughout that time we never
gave up hope that she would recover and be able to
enjoy all the things she loved.  Mom let us care for
her much in the same way she always cared for us,
completely, with love and devotion. 

Thank you Mom for all your gifts and the rich
wonderful legacy you leave us with. We wish you peace
in heaven, holding Dad’s hand, surrounded by loved
ones.
  We love you always and you will forever live on in
our hearts.
Mom as a WAVE in Navy in the 50's

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