~This is the eulogy that Lenore read at Helen’s funeral~
I have five brothers and sisters and any one of us could speak endlessly about how much we love our parents, but Thursday night as the family talked about who would come up here and talk today… my name never came up. My dad said who can do it without breaking down. I said to myself, or so I thought, I can’t… and I believe I heard a collective, “we know.”
I’m sure at this moment they are all worried that I’ll fall apart and say exactly what I’m feeling which is “I want you all to go away and for this not to be happening.”
But that wouldn’t be nice so I’m not going to say it…. You all can stay.
When I considered what I should tell you about my Mom, it occurred to me that the most important thing about her you already know… and that is how she made you feel.
The most telling thing about a person is how they make the people around them feel. And we all know it felt great to be around her. You knew she loved you… it was a gift she gave you with her voice her touch, her whole heart and soul and you got it ever time you were in her presence.
For the past year and a half I’ve closed my office on Thursdays to “take care of my Mom.” At least that’s what I told my clients… how could they be upset with me for not being available if I was taking care of my Mom. But what it said on my calendar for Thursdays was “Mom-Day,” with little stars by it. I never came up here to take care of her, I came to be with her. Just to be with her. It didn’t matter that in time we couldn’t go shopping or go out to lunch. I got to sit on the couch all day, and eventually on the bed, on hold her hand and have her all to myself. I was the lucky recipient of her gift, as would be the next person to visit her.
Recently Mimi and I started driving up together to visit Mom. After a few months Mimi said, “maybe I should just see Mom on my own, I feel like I’m honing in on your time with her.” And while we’d have a lot of fun together I know Mimi wanted Mom to herself too. Patty was less subtle, if you stayed with Mom more than a few minutes after she got there she’d say” okay, now your running into my time and that’s my spot your sitting in.”
We couldn’t get enough of her gift. And what’s hard to believe is that it never diminished. Ever time you saw her, when she’d first catch your eye, she’d smile and greet in such a loving way, like she was surprised to see you. This is the greeting you got whether you’d seen her the day before or if it had been weeks since you’d seen her.
I know you’ve all experienced this too; it’s why you’re here. She loved you and you knew it. That feeling will never leave us. And neither will she.
I want to share something she said to me in her last days, when I wasn’t even sure she knew I was there.
She said, “You look sad Lenore” and a moment later “don’t cry, it’ll be nice.”
I love you like crazy Mom.