The following is the eulogy that I read at my mother’s funeral today:
My mom did not start out her life as glue, as someone who kept the people around her from falling apart, but she learned over a lifetime how to be that person. I suppose some of this super-power of hers came from the family trait of stubbornness. This trait could, as a daughter, be maddening at times – certainly not easy. But that stubbornness – that in some people leads to a hardening and a pulling away – led instead to a softening and an opening up that could amaze me.
I am her oldest child. I do remember that young mom with a quick temper who could yell when she needed to. Now that I have my own children, I know that no one sees your worst side like your children do. But I also watched her change – with the death of her own parents when she was in her 20s and early 30s, through taking in her niece who became her daughter, through the loss of a son, and through her battles with cancer.
With each sorrow she grew in wisdom and strength, she reached out in ways that I am still becoming aware of. She spoke with other mothers who lost sons and daughters – because she knew that pain, she knew how awful the pain could be, and she knew how to comfort and hug and cry with those who had lost one of their own. Through that loss she gained a different perspective on being a mother. She learned that love speaks louder than anger – that some things just are not worth the fight. It’s a grandmother’s wisdom – and I hope and pray that I listened enough to take those lessons so hard learned to heart.
When mom and dad found out last year that she had a brain tumor, that the cancer that we had hoped and prayed and believed was defeated had come back – she told us that she was not afraid to die. She knew where she was going and that she was going to see Wilder, my brother, again. That she would fight as hard as she knew how to stay here with us, but that if she lost that fight it was okay.
No person is an island and my mom was no exception. Even glue has to get it’s cohesiveness from somewhere and she got it from two sources. One was her husband. No matter how strong she had to be for everyone else, with him she could let go and pour out her sorrows to someone who knew her as no one else did. Their love for each other gave her the strength to be who she needed and wanted to be. And it has been an honor and a privilege to be witness to their love for all of my life.
But I know that my dad would say that he was strong for her and she would say that she was not afraid to die for one reason—and this is because of the Rock that they both stand upon which is Jesus Christ. He was and is, even more so now, the source and summit of her Faith. She learned to draw from the strength of Christ more and more as each sorrow came. She praised Him always. And to you here who knew her, you know that she was not afraid to share that love with everyone around her.
My mother was not perfect, nor would she want you to think that she was, but she did bring those around her closer to the Lord by her presence and by the unmatchable smile that I know is lighting heaven now.
I read the following verse at my brother’s funeral, standing in this same spot, and the words are just as true today as they were then. From Ephesians 3, verses 14-21;
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”