Some years before my mother died, she made her wishes known about a funeral or memorial service. To each of her children, she gave instructions. I was expected to sing a song or two. In my younger years, this seemed an easy ask.
However, as both Mom and I aged, I realized my particular assignment would be an impossible task. Oh, I knew the songs. I’d sung each one many times. From my earliest days, music had animated me. I sang boldly with adult choirs even when very young. When my older brother learned to play the violin, I followed in his footsteps. My dad brought home a Hammond organ and I learned to play; I still own it, though it suffers from
neglect, no, involuntary abandonment.
I carry my primary instrument –my voice – wherever I go, but I rarely sing in public these days. (In another life, I traveled with music groups and performed before large audiences.) Through the years, I’ve learned to appreciate beautiful voices … but my vocal ability has diminished to the point, I sing only to myself … and rarely, in the shower! Besides, singing through tears and grief can be awful! No, Mom, that would be intolerable.
Instead, I chose to speak a personal eulogy for my mom. Thanks to Covid, my brothers and I were each allotted seven minutes. (Knowing grief would preclude a tearless delivery, my sister opted to print and distribute her eulogy. Wise woman!)
I knew there were familiar songs from Mom’s experience that would tell the story of her life, honoring her, sans the spectacle of my screechy voice.
The funeral director, my sister told us, was adamant about our time crunch! As soon as the memorial was over, we’d have to proceed (with all haste!) to the cemetery way across town for burial! [My thought: If we’re late, will they close up the grave without her casket?]
At the memorial service, I rushed to stay within the allotted time constraint. (My prepared remarks ran closer to 18 minutes.) In honor of my departed mother, I share my eulogy here, along with a few pictures of her and my dear dad. They are together again. (Click on the image below to open the flipbook.)