Recently, on the “Dying To…” workshop I have been running over a 3 week period, a participant shared her fears about one day having to write a eulogy. That got me to thinking: maybe I should start a collection of eulogies, and share them. That way, we can get used to them. They can become a beautiful recalling of the memories that helped make up the life of our Loved One passed. So here’s the first one. MY first one. Written for my beautiful Mamma many years ago now (though in many ways it feels like yesterday). If you have one you would like me to include here on my site (without identifying information if desired), please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org x
“Firstly I’d like to thank you all for coming today.
As I am sure most of you would know by now, Mum and I had an amazing trip to Nepal in March and April this year….in fact she had her 64th birthday there. She was not feeling well both before and during the trip, but we were unaware of her illness at that time. Some days she was as pale as a ghost and in a lot of pain, but still she was determined to go on that elephant safari through the jungle in search of wild white rhino, which we did in fact see, and to endure bumpy journeys by horse and cart, just for “the experience”. Sometimes I am awe struck by the timing and content of that trip. I don’t even remember why or how we decided to go – we just did. It could easily have turned into a trip involving others, like Jenny and Brad, but for some reason we were both determined to make it our special little adventure, just the two of us. It was truly magical, and even though some days I rated her only a 7 out of 10 as a travel companion, which initial disappointed her but became an ongoing joke, it was an absolute privilege to have had her by my side. In true Carole form, we shopped till we dropped, refused to purchased over priced samosas, made numerous friends along the way, and even stayed at a Buddhist monastry and meditation centre where she opened herself up to the experience in a way I had not expected her to.
There is no doubting that the journey we have all walked with mum since her diagnosis upon our return from Nepal has been a challenging one….filled with heartache and pain on a variety of levels. It would be easy to feel that her illness prematurely robbed us of this amazing, loving, vibrant, unpredictable and caring woman, and that’s why I would like to spend some time talking about the gifts I feel have been granted us while on this difficult road.
Up until Mum became ill, even though she obviously loved me to bits, and I her, I think I subconsciously kept her at arms distance because she had a tendency to get very involved in my life, ever fearful that I would get hurt, and forever trying to shield me from making mistakes that may have brought me pain or sorrow. Through her brave and courageous journey with Cancer, however, she softened in a way I had not experienced her before, and this allowed me to fully realise, acknowledge, experience and express the depth of my love for her on a daily basis – and that love runs deep. She retained her determination, strength and stubbornness, but she also learnt to forgive more deeply…..For the first time in forever she allowed me and others to care for her….to give her gifts without saying “you shouldn’t have wasted your money”….and we had thousands of magical, loving, tender amazing moments that I believe would not have been possible without cancer. Without her illness I’d not have lived with her for 6 months….I’d not have had 3 months off work to spend with her…..I’d not have had the opportunity to change my purpose from caring for other families, to making my mother smile…whether that be by telling her a million times in one day that I love her, or by playing the fool. To be quite honest, without her illness, she or I may well have passed on never having fully shared and experienced our immense, sometimes overwhelming, and absolutely magical connection and love for one another, and that would have been a great tragedy.
The nurses at the hospital said that to have held on for so long, she must have had a big, strong heart – but we already knew that! We joked though, saying that she was just giving heaven a chance to prepare for her arrival – lets face it, she could corrupt even the most angelic of angels, and Heaven just won’t know what hit it!! I don’t know if they sell camper-vans in heaven, but if they do, I can assure you she’ll still be getting the best price and probably would have doubled her money twice over by now!!!
I know that we will all miss her presence in our worlds, and life will never be the same again, because she touched us all so deeply on so many levels, but I urge you not to grieve too long, but instead commit to living life with gusto, in her honour. I can hear her now saying “life’s too short”….and she is right. When we phoned people to tell them that our beautiful Mamma had passed away, there were many hearts broken, and many more tears shed. When we told people that the service was to be here at home, this news seemed to come as a bit of a shock to some of you, however, Mum’s last words to me were “I want to go home bub”, which I now know was her last request of Lee and Jenny also. Upon her “living list”, which Lee and I helped her write some months ago now, also appeared “have a party upstairs”, so please lets all join together today to not only share our grief and love, but to truly celebrate the adventurous and often outrageous and unpredictable life of my beautiful Mamma.