| I bit my lip. It was... diffucult. I had known that this would happen eventually, but I- I couldn't. It was just too hard. Holding back my tears, I looked up at my dad. He looked broken, empty, a shell of a man. This had been especially hard for him, after fifteen years. We hadn't had enough time to prepare. We'd only known for a few months.
But still, I had to do this. Dad was still greif-stricken, Benny was too young. It hadn't even totally sunken in for me.
I peered around at all the friends, family, and well-wishers dressed in black. They didn't feel the sorrow that I did. That my family did. No one else knew her like I did. I had to be strong, to stand up and do this.
But I didn't know if I could. To go up there, in front of all those people, and talk about her, her life, her illness, and... what she meant to me. Once more, I looked at my dad. He was staring blankly into the distance. Suddenly, I was filled with courage. I would do this.
"Jessie?" asked the minister. "Would you like to say a few words about your mother?" I nodded, blinking back the tears that were threatening to overflow. I stood and walked to the podium.
Deep breathes, I thought. When something is important to you, you overcome your fears and do it anyway, because that's what courage is.
"My mother was an amazing woman," I began, swallowing back the lump in my throat. "She always brought joy to those around her. If my brother wanted to do something silly, she'd laugh and let him do it. No matter what, she'd back me up. She was always proud of me, even when I flunked science. She loved writing, and animals, and volunteering at homeless shelters. When she found out she had brain cancer, I sobbed for hours on end. But she just went about her normal duties, smiling. She chose to enjoy the remainder of her life, not spend her last hours complaining about everything she didn't get to do. I know that my family and I are devastated that we've lost her." I turned to leave, but I just felt like I hadn't done her homage. I turned back around.
"There is something that I know she'd want me to say," I continued, gaining confidence. "We shouldn't sit and mope. We should celebrate her life by living ours. Remember her fondly, not cry at the very mention of her. Thank you." I stepped down from the podium and headed back to my seat. A tear slithered down my face.
I know what I said was true, but I couldn't help missing her.