Jeneane’s Eulogy to My Mom
November 25, 2014
(I held up my book) This is the 1st volume of my commonplace book. A commonplace book is someone’s personal collection of quotes, poems, or even graffiti that inspired them or made an impact on their life.
I began my commonplace book while I was in junior high school and I would often, throughout the many years afterward, tell my mom some of these quotes. And my mom would laugh or sometimes cry and she would often tell me that what I had read to her meant a lot to her as well.
I’d like to read to you some passages from my commonplace book that touched and moved both my mom and me.
The first is an excerpt from a book written by Hope Edelman called “Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss”.
“Nature often offers metaphors more elegant than any we can manufacture. In the redwood ecosystem, all seeds are contained in pods, called burls, tough brown clumps that grow where the mother tree’s trunk and root system meet.
When the mother tree is logged, blown over, or destroyed by fire, the trauma stimulates the burls’ growth hormones. The seeds release, and trees sprout around her, creating the circle of daughters.
The daughter trees grow by absorbing the sunlight their mother cedes to them when she dies. And they get the moisture and nutrients they need from their mother’s root system, which remains intact even after her leaves die.
Although the daughters exist independently of their mother above ground, they continue to draw sustenance from her underneath.
I am fooling only myself when I say my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight.
She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay.”
This next is a quote by Richard Eyre:
“Our parents cast long shadows over our lives. When we grow up, we imagine that we can walk in the sun, free of them. We don’t realize, until it’s too late, that we have no choice in the matter; they’re always ahead of us.
We carry them within us all our lives – in the shape of our face, the way we walk, the sound of our voice, our skin, our hair, our hands, our hearts.
We try all our lives to separate ourselves from them, and only when they are gone, do we find we are indivisible.”
And lastly Lucille Ball once said, “You’re never old until your mother dies, because to her you’ll always be her little girl.”
I’d like to thank you all for coming, for your kind words, for expressing your love for our mom, and for sharing your wonderful memories of her. You have helped us so very much with our grief and you have eased our pain.
(This next part I ad-libbed because it seemed to be needed to be said)
I’d also like to thank our cousin, Brad Norman, and my brother, Keith, for playing one of Mom’s favorite songs, “Let It Be” by the Beatles. Mom really loved the Beatles from the first time they were on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in February 1964. She let us stay up late to watch them even though we had school the next day. Mom loved most of their songs throughout the years and she thought they were cute.
My dad thought they were long-haired degenerates and how can that noise they make be considered music? And I thought my mom was so cool because that attitude was held by most of the parents of my school friends. My mom even went out and bought for us three kids the Beatles’ first 2 albums as a very early Christmas present.
But, most importantly, my mom instilled in us a love for all kinds of music: Big Band, Frank Sinatra, Vaughn Monroe, the Andrews Sisters, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. Even polka music. She took us kids polka dancing several times. We weren’t very good at it.
But my mom gave us three kids a big love for music and that love is something we have tried to pass on to all our children and our grandchildren as well. So to honor my mom, I’d now like you to listen to the original of one of my mom’s favorite songs, “Let It Be” by the Beatles.
November 25, 2014