After so much suffering, the heart of our family has passed away.
Eulogy for Mom
Family……. such a small word but it is a word that defines my mother. Family is what she lived for. She loved her family with all her heart and she shared that gift with me. So many happy days spent at my Grandma’s house with Mom, baking Italian cookies (lots and lots of cookies), patient hours spent attempting to train my small hands how to tie a cherry cookie into a passable knot (I failed miserably), or learning to twist a tarale (I fared better with those) frosting the mountains of cookies that they baked for any and all occasions (you can never have too many cookies!) and, all the while, finding comfort in their happy talking, laughter and love.
I remember warm days sitting on the swing under the grapevines listening to their stories about Mom’s first attempts at baking when she was young – evidently having a very large backyard garden to bury those attempts in was a blessing. We were lucky that she did all that practicing because, by the time I was growing up, there was never a need to dispose of anything she made -- especially her cakes!
What wonderful cakes we had! No store-bought frosting, plastic decoration, or packaged candy flowers ever went on one of Mom’s cakes. The cakes became another canvas for her to create on. She made beautiful three-tiered birthday cakes and shower cakes (for the people she loved the most) but my favorite cake was the Valentine’s Day intertwined heart cakes we had every year.
Valentine’s Day was a huge celebration in our house, with decorations in every room, presents, wonderful food, cake and love. It was a celebration of Mom and Dad’s engagement and the love they shared and there was never a thought of them going off for a romantic dinner alone in a fancy restaurant. It had to be celebrated the right way…. with family.
Mom was incredibly good at just about everything she did and she was never too busy or too tired to teach whoever wanted to learn from her. She taught me to knit and crochet, how to embroider and sew, how to mend clothes and design new ones, how to cook, bake and clean the house the “right way”. She made matching Easter dresses for herself and me every year when I was young that were more beautiful than anything bought in a store. I remember watching her paint when I was little and her enthusiasm and encouragement with my feeble attempts at copying her.
She had a beautiful voice and loved music and dancing. I don’t think a day went by that the stereo was silent in her house. She welcomed all of my friends in and they promptly became family. I’ve been reminded recently of the midnight “snacks” Mom would have waiting for us, usually fudge, and if it hadn’t chilled enough to cut into squares, she’d pull spoons out and we’d dig right in and enjoy it anyway -- all the while telling stories, jokes, laughing.
She loved her sisters and brothers deeply and the times spent with them were treasured. The holidays and Sunday’s spent with family are memories my children and I will carry with us forever. She instilled in us a deep love of family and the loyalty that goes with it. She loved us with all her heart but when her grandchildren were born, that heart belonged to them. Reading books, singing songs, going for walks, weekly sleepovers, even sitting in the little tykes pool wasn’t above her if they asked her to!
The night before she passed away was spent talking and laughing and when we were alone she told me that she couldn’t wait to see her Mother, but that she would never be ready to leave her “Honey” (my Dad), me, Mark or her “kids”. She asked us to stay until she was in bed and when that was done and she was holding my hand, she said “Isn’t this a wonderful way to go to sleep? and I’ll see you tomorrow”.
It is such an empty and lonely feeling to realize that your Mother is no longer here to talk to, laugh with or cry with, but I know in my heart that she is with her Mom, her sisters and brother in a place where there is no more pain and suffering. Her love lives on in her grandchildren, me, Dad and all those that she loved. It is now up to us to continue her love of family, keeping her forever alive in our hearts.
Thank you Mom for the wonderful memories. You were a truly remarkable and loving woman and our world is a lot smaller without you in it.