I was sitting in a beautiful church sanctuary over the weekend at the memorial service of C’s mother, and I said to A. sitting beside me, “This sanctuary is gorgeous. I don’t think I’ve ever been in here before.” A. replied, “You were here for my wedding 30 years ago.” Oh right.
My mother had just died weeks before A’s wedding and I was in a bit of a fog. New baby. No mother. Broken heart.
I found myself tearing up during C’s mother’s eulogy because it was all so true and so real. And it was so beautiful. [Note: you definitely want an English major writing your eulogy and obituary. C is an excellent writer.]
30 years before, we scheduled FBC’s baptism just after Thanksgiving, and everybody gathered to celebrate at my and HH’s home in NY. I was cooking for a crowd. I can’t remember if it was my sister or my brother who said it, but when I set out all the food, one of them said out loud, “What is this? Mom’s greatest hits?”
I had prepared Mom’s Greatest Hits for Sunday dinner after FBC’s baptism. I thought it might be a comfort and we all needed comforting. My Mom was gone. And I was a new Mom. It’s what I needed to do.
On the other end of life from infancy – if we are particularly blessed – a good memorial service is like a taste of heaven. A good memorial service makes us want to be a better person, inspired by a life well-lived. We leave with new energy and a spring in our steps and hearts full of gratitude for what was.
We were gifted Saturday with some of the Greatest Hits from the life of C”s lovely mother: stories of her childhood and college years, stories as a young married lady and as a young mom, stories about how she used her God-given gifts to make others feel loved and welcomed.
The world would be better if everybody’s Greatest Hits were like this.
Today we find ourselves two weeks from Christmas when there will be joy and happy surprises and also anxiety and pain. We have the power to be our best for the sake of others so that their anxiety and pain will be minimized. We have the power to embrace the best of life as a thank you to the One who made us. We have the opportunity to re-set our priorities one more time.
I love the final words of my friend’s eulogy for her mother:
Go to the party. Take the trip. Eat the chocolate.
Thanking God today that this advice was among the Greatest Hits of C’s Mom.
Image of my mother’s recipe for Cherrio Pie which doesn’t include Cheerios. Notes in her handwriting. Still miss her.
This post written in loving memory of JWL (1929-2018)