My mother was a faithful woman. And in the early hours of Christmas Eve morn, she went to be with her Lord and Savior.
Yesterday was the Celebration of Life for her, and tomorrow starts a new year. My first year without her.
My very talented sister in law put together a beautiful photo retrospective. She included one of my favorite photos of my mom. Still glowing with youth and full of life, it perfectly captures her joy and fiestiness and her grace…
In honor of her, I will recount the words I said at her service–mostly so those who never got a chance to know her might at least know of her.
Those gathered here today undoubtedly knew of my mother’s grace and generosity. One of the ways her love manifested itself was through giving. It was undoubtedly her Love Language, and she was fluent in it. She loved to go shopping—she considered it a quest of sorts—a quest to find the Perfect Pairing of Gift and Value. (She came from Scottish ancestry, and their renowned thriftiness was a trait she bore with pride.)
In her quest to find Just the Right Gift, my mother hunted all year. The only problem was that, once she found that Perfect Gift, she simply couldn’t bear to wait to see the expression of joy and surprise. Many times she would call me at work and tell me that I needed to stop by on my way home so she could present me with one of her finds.
Even once she started chemo, she often sweet talked my father to run her by some store or other on the way to treatment, or afterwards, so that she could pick up something special for someone. I still have the text on my phone from this past Spring when she had located something special…you see, Mom had passed on to me her love of plants, and she had found a certain plant which she knew I wanted for my garden. She was eager to surprise me with it and couldn’t wait to tell me about it. Her text said: Hint: Witch Hazel, come by and get it tonight, OK?
When I picked up the plant that evening, I was shocked to find that it barely fit in my SUV. As always, when Mom did things, she did them big.
A lot of the flowers and herbs that grace my garden were gifts from my Mom. They are a living reminder of her and, soon, when Winter gives way to Spring, I can walk among the plants and feel her near.
Once of the reasons she loved plants so much was, along with their beauty, they had purpose…they had meaning.
One of the last plants she gave me was that Witch Hazel….in ancient times, it was believed that Witch Hazel could ward off evil…and soothe a broken heart.
It seems that, even as the end drew near, Mama was searching for one last perfect gift.
Thank you, Mama.
Go mbeannai Dia dhuit.