Not your standard eulogy - written for my mother.
|My mother and I set off on many great adventures together. The first being the day I was placed in her arms – and I have to tell you, to those adopted, the phrase “placed in her arms” really means something!
There I was wondering what kind of parents life had in store for me, and there she and Daddy were embarking on a whole new kind of love – It was magic having them as parents and the glorious part was the family that came with them – on both sides.
If ever a child was set on this earth to learn about people and about loving people unselfishly and unconditionally and being loved in the same way – that was me – and that was huge lesson my mother taught me. On this adventure in life people are not perfect, love them anyway; stand up for yourself and those you love; don’t take bullshit especially from those you love; and tell it like it is when you need to. But most importantly, she taught me that life is to be savored, swirled on the tongue, and it can taste sweet, or spicy or bitter – it can taste so foul you have to spit it back out on your plate – but taste it anyway! As my mother would say “just take a bite damn it!” That’s her!
In the 38 years we had, our other grand adventures included a trip to Kentucky to see the snow in 1976 - that was the year they had their record breaking heat wave. We went in classic Mama-fashion and took a train. On that trip we read books in the sleeping car under the covers and I can still hear her voice and the churn of the locomotive and feel the sway of the rail car as she read to me.
I know each of you have had the opportunity to share many other grand and small adventures with my mother, and these precious memories are a testament to the full life she lived. For me these include long bicycle rides, walks up the beach all the way to San Luis Pass, the birth of Victoria, her and Daddy’s glorious days of grand-parenting together.
I would come home to pick Vikki up and ask “How was it? Did she get to sleep? What’d she eat?” And her Nana would say “Oh it was TERRIFIC! She is an angel!” And there Vikki would be, 2 years old, bouncing on the bed at midnight, baby bottle of chocolate milk between her teeth, with the most glorious joyful exhausted expression you have ever seen on a child’s face.
My mother and my father loved so deeply – and they loved us all uniquely and whole-heartedly.
Life with my mother could rarely be described as boring or calm, a better word would be Electric! Gloriously bright, sometimes shocking, always ingenious, unpredictable, impulsive, vibrant, charged with energy!
Truly our greatest adventure came with the death of Daddy and our journey to learn how to be there for each other in the years that followed. What seemed to be a life-long party suddenly stopped us in our tracks. The lights came on; Mommy came to live with me and there was suddenly decades of important stuff to work through – forgiveness to ask for, appreciation to share, understanding the more sober moments of the past without judgment or blame.
Really it was an adventure simply into an even deeper level of love – and it was very ugly at times and difficult – but those last 10 years were vital to both of us to truly finding each other and ourselves. And I urge everyone here today to look at those you love in this world and find a way to love them even deeper.
Outsiders could see immediately that to try to understand or label my mother was grand mistake. And everyone who met her realized that my mother made a lasting impression on the lives she touched, not just memorable --- but a lasting effect.
She was unforgettable in every way and she was your Aunt Juice, Cousin Jacqui, my Daddy’s Punkin Jones, Nana to her grand-daughter and her adopted grand children and friends, and mommy to me. And she loved us all boundlessly. She taught us all how to believe in ourselves. She was always in our corner, and when we could not believe in ourselves she would be there to believe for us.
Our last grand adventure came through her death. It was short and easy and unbelievably uncomplicated and not really my mom’s style --but we took it on in true Peepers and Punkin Jones fashion – We faced it boldly together.
In one week by her bedside, I learned the most from her yet. We sighed Que Sera Sera, we did jazz hands to cheer us up, and I gave her a manicure which she swore she did not want (until we got to the second finger). At one point I put a pillow case over her head to get her to shut up and stop telling me what to do (of course it did not work) – but it sure made us laugh – “This isn’t going to work, see you can still hear me!” she laughed.
For such a sad time, side-by-side my mother and I enjoyed our togetherness tremendously. We did not worry about tomorrow, we did not cling to the past (we talked little of it actually). We just enjoyed each other. I realize more than ever that this is the way to live every moment of life – not just the last ones. And you know she helped me “get through this” more than I did her – that I am certain—when you peel off all the layers that were her essence, even when --- no especially when she would not shut up --- SHE was always just worried about YOU!
So whether it was her life’s philosophy storming toward you or buoying you up --- it was from her - and it was from a place of love and it was simply: “So what? Oh bullfuck! Get over it! Get on with it! And this too shall pass.” And it did.
It makes sense now --- that it does not matter where we are in life, 9 or 99, we will always feel like we’ve only just begun to get it right – but we have to keep on living and trying and doing and loving the best we can. So Go, Take a bite, go love, go live it up!
My mother understood this, and ironically I realize this was her big point all along – and it was my last lesson from her – for now…
In one weekend I lost my mommy and my childhood home and all I could ask was “what now?” And I heard her loud and clear. She said, “So what? Oh bullfuck! Get on with it! Get over it!” “This too shall pass!” --- and then she told me to have a party, which is what we are doing today, exactly as she would have it!