Below is the eulogy I delivered at my mom’s funeral today, January 18th, 2012. This is not the full text of exactly what I said because I added a few things while I was talking, but this is most of it.Â
My mom almost named me Sara. Sara Leas. It would have been a lot of pressure to be a much better baker. Instead, she named me after her grandmother, Catherine and called me Katie.
I was her second child. My brother, Brian, was born 2 years earlier, with dark hair, and without webbed feet. I used to think my brother was my momâ€™s favorite, but I eventually realized that it wasnâ€™t about favorites. He was her first baby â€“ he made her a mother. And being a mother was something she cherished deeply.
Growing up, she read to us. She hugged us. She let us drink pop, but not eat sugary cereal.
How do you pay tribute in 2-4 minutes to the person who nourished, nursed, and nurtured you?
On Friday night, when the news was fresh, I immediately thought of the things we would never do together, things mothers cherish about having a daughter: we would never pick out my wedding gown, she would never see a grand child, she would never feel the kick of my baby inside of me. I would never be able to ask â€œdid you feel this/think this/feel this when you were pregnant with me?â€
And then I tried to remember everything about her. Every little morsel that was her.
She loved music. She was disappointed that she never got to meet John Denver.
My mom was smart. She believed in education and she was a good teacher.
She was witty. God knows my affinity for puns came from somewhere and it was not from my dad.
She was a little naughty and sassy. You can see it even some of her childhood photos.
She was faithful. She believed in God.
She adored Bob.
She often ate a bag of popcorn or a giant plate of broccoli for dinner â€“ with Butter Flavored Pam and salt when she was a staff nurse working 12 hour shifts (which were more like 13 for her because she was so conscientious)
In some of my last conversations with my mom she spoke of her hopes for her children (she did this often). She was excited that Iâ€™d been thinking about moving back to the heart of the city because it meant weâ€™d be closer, and she spoke about her love for her husband, Bob, and his love for her.
I know her body â€“ the body that hugged me when I was sad or scared, the body that worked long hours to keep a roof over our heads, the body that swelled and broke with life to bring my brother and me into this world, the body that housed a most tender and loving spirit and heart â€“ her body, my momâ€™s body, has stopped.
But, she will never leave me.
She is every breathÂ I’veÂ ever taken. Every tear Iâ€™ve ever cried (even those, okay especially those â€“ cried at sappy Hallmark commercials.) She is every off-key noteÂ I’veÂ ever sung (and there are lots) and every kindness and love Iâ€™ve ever shown.
Last year, I was struggling at work and I knew I needed a change. Though I was terrified I knew I could make it through because my mom loved me.
Even though she did not work outside the home in her last years she still had an occupation. She had 3 in fact. Her first was that of Eileen, lover of knowledge and the written word. Her second was wife and love to Bob. And her third was mother.
Her love will never leave.