My mom passed away three years ago today. Below is a transcript of the eulogy I gave at her funeral.
As I was thinking about what to say, I began to look through this book that mom gave me when I was younger for some inspiration. It’s called “42 Gifts I’d Like to Give You” and I just randomly selected a page. But the page I happened to land on is perhaps the most important gift that my mom could have given me, especially right now.
The page I landed on read, “the gift of hanging in there and holding on.” There is a selection of quotes listed, but one of them fits my mom more than anything, and I believe many of you here would agree.
The quote I’m referring to is “I will find a way or make one” by an anonymous person. When I think about who my mom was and what she was best at, there are many different things that pop into my head, but this quote exemplifies them all. No matter what, she was stubborn enough to never give up and somehow managed to do what she needed to do, and during my lifetime most of these things centered around me.
When I was taking dance classes, she found a way to pay for them. When I needed to be taken to dance or school or t-ball or church or wherever, she found a way to get me there. And when I had the opportunity to travel to Rome, she made sure that I could go and enjoy myself without worrying about cost or anything else. Whatever I needed — or whatever she thought I needed — I had, and she sacrificed so much so that I could experience and have things that she never could. And while I may not have fully appreciated everything she did, I know she did them because she truly believed it was best for me. And I know this is her proudest accomplishment. For that I will forever be thankful.
But the thing I believe she will be remembered for, and already is remembered for, is her giving nature. Whether it was for a client who needed Christmas gifts for her daughter, or random students at my high school whose parents couldn’t afford to buy them yearbooks, mom never hesitated to help. And quite often, mom would think of ways to help others on her own, without being prompted to do something. This I think is truly extraordinary.
Mom knew laughter was the best medicine, so she made people around her crack up all the time and was always telling me to remember to laugh everyday. She made sure holidays were always good, and that I knew how proud she was of me all the time. She kept her mother and father, brothers, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew, cousins and friends in her thoughts and prayers, and was always thinking of things she could do to make their lives better. I’m only sorry that she was not able to meet her future grandchildren, but I’m comforted to know that she was able to spoil Olivia while she was alive.
I must admit that I wish I had more time to put this together, because I know there are so many more instances and other things that I should be references. And I know that I will think of different things that I will wish I had remembered for this. But it makes my heart feel good to know that my mom added a little bit of light to so many people’s lives. I hope that I am able to emulate this in my own life.
She gave me the confidence and the strength to become who I am today — to run for SGA president, to move thousands of miles away to attend Georgetown and to pursue a career in the heart of our nation.
And besides my faith in GOd and giving me the gift of hanging in there and holding on, there are two other gifts that my mom gave me which are two of the most important things in life: to always appreciate the little things, and to always take advantage of opportunities, even when they come in the form of disappointments.
I know she would tell me to always keep that hunger, that passion in life that keeps me going and always kept her going. I know she would tell me to find the door that has opened when another one has closed, and I know that the one thing she would say to me right now is, “I hope you dance.”