On April 12, 2020 my mother transitioned from this life to the next.
Because of the China Virus, the authorities would not permit a proper funeral or memorial service – but the family muddled through, as did many other citizens, I’m sure.
Today, on the anniversary of her passing, I decided to post the eulogy I wrote for her, to send my thoughts out to the virtual universe and, perhaps, on to her in Heaven.
Love you, mom.
May 15, 1931 – April 12, 2020
Grandmother, Mother, Sister and Friend
My mother was a woman much loved by all who knew her and she gave much love to all the people she knew. She was a hard-working, honest woman. She helped everyone she could in a thousand ways. She was always a friend; always a comforter. She has left this world a little better for having lived in it. Everyone who knew her and loved her are better for having lived in the warmth of her understanding.
She came to this country in 1947 – while still just a teenager. She left behind a country that had been through a great war and was plagued with economic suffering. She came here as an orphan with her two sisters, Georgina and Thanasia, leaving behind a world she could not be part of, hoping to find a place, here in Canada, where she could make a better life. She married my father while still a young girl and had five children – of which I am proud to be one – four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
She cared for her family, built a home and did her best to make a good life for all of us. She worked hard. She was a woman who wanted nothing for herself – she wanted only to give rather than to receive. She devoted her life to helping her family and her friends.
We always knew her as a strong woman. Even as she got older, found it difficult to move around and eventually was confined to her bed, we always thought – and I know she always thought this, too – that she would be bouncing back to full vigor any minute and digging in her garden or preparing another big meal for her family and friends and getting up to dance again at the next party.
She loved dancing and when she couldn’t dance herself, she enjoyed watching her family dance.
Mother liked seeing people having a good time – and she was very open to new people coming in to join whatever party or activity we were having. Whenever one of us kids brought someone home, she was always welcoming and pulled them right into the family – she was happy to be everyone’s Mom and I can recall so many, many people over the years who were happy to be part of the love and warmth she freely gave out.
I found it strange, sometimes, that people we might have stopped associating with years ago still kept in touch with her – I often heard people declare that she was the kind of mother they wished they had. And I guess that’s the defining statement about her– she was everyone’s Mom.
You know, in a spiritual sense life is like a vacation – sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s disappointing. Sometimes you get a sunburn or you lose your hotel reservation – but many times you see wonderful things and share beautiful moments. Whether its fun or disappointing it is just a vacation and eventually you go home. In the spiritual sense home is not on this Earth but somewhere else.
So now, our beloved Mom is gone – but gone where?
She’s gone from our sight, that’s all. But though we don’t see her anymore her Spirit is still out there full of love and joy just as we remember her. And while we say that she is gone there are others waiting for her and welcoming her home. Like my uncle Bob, whom she loved and cherished and spoke of often after he too passed away. Her parents await her, as does her sister, Thanasia, and other family members who went home before her. Also waiting to welcome her are many of the extra children that she, herself, welcomed into the family and good friends she loved dearly who have also gone on ahead of her – Robbie, Margaret, Mike, Kathy, Darla, Maria and others. And, of course, my father who I’m sure has prepared a special place for her. They are all waiting for her and welcoming her home.
Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the caterpillar shedding its cocoon to become a butterfly. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where we continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow.
Mom has gone home.
We can shed tears that she is gone – or we can smile because she lived and shared her love with us.
We can close our eyes and pray that she will return – or we can open our eyes and see all the joy and love she left us.
Our hearts might be empty because we can no longer see her – yet we can know that we are full of the loving spirit that she shared with us,
We can think about her only as someone who is gone – or we can cherish her memory and let it live on.
We can cry, shut ourselves down and be empty inside – or we can do what she would want:
smile, open our hearts, love …
…and go on with the dance.