My mother passed away on January 27th. It was not unexpected but it was nevertheless a shock to lose someone so important in my life. I feel like some of the glue in my life is gone and I need to work hard to keep all the pieces from floating away.
Every day I wake up and at some point within the first 5 minutes it hits me that my mother is dead. And I think "Oh mother." Because I miss her so. I want her back. I'll never have her back.
Over the next few posts I'll share the memories my sister and I shared at her memorial luncheon.
My father, sister and I thank you for joining us today to share memories of my mother Gisela. Please bear with my sister and me if we cry a little bit while we’re up here speaking to you. We’ll simply take a moment to collect ourselves and then carry on - like our mother taught us to do.
Many people use the word strong when they describe my mother. She fought a hard battle against her body for most of her life. She faced those battles with a seemingly endless supply of courage and a desire to live the life she wanted in spite of her health. It would appear to most people that her body won this battle in the end. I tell you that it didn’t. Her spirit was strong and noble and good and in the end it triumphed over her body as she controlled her own destiny until the very end, coming home to spend her last days surrounded by the love of her family.
My mother was more than strong. She was curious and intelligent, always reading and learning. A deep thinker, she loved carrying on long conversations and debates about a wide variety of topics. If you wanted to debate her though,you had better be well prepared,. If you weren't she'd eat you alive.
Those closest to her know she also had a love of laughter and fun. In so many of the pictures around this room she is laughing. The best payoff for me when I told a funny story was her laughter. When I could get her to laugh uncontrollably it was the best feeling in the world.
My mother will always be a part of me. I am comforted by the fact that so much of who she was carries on through her grandchildren. She was so proud of them and I see so much of her in them. A smart, funny and strong group of people.
Please know that she cared deeply about so many of you here. In the last few months, as she talked about memories, so many of you came up. You were an important part of her life and I know she’d be happy that you were here to honor those memories.
I’d like to share a poem. My mother had a special relationship with her father-in-law Marty. They loved many of the same things. This poem was one of them.
by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
That was my mother.