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Farewell Mom . . .

by number9 on Tue Jan 25, 2011 05:59 AM

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We buried Mom today. 

For 13 months, 12/9/09 – 1/9/11, she fought valiantly … followed by 10 days of in-home hospice with no food nor water, no eye contact nor communication, as she peacefully rested in her bed, until her final breath on 1/20/11 around 6AM.

My sisters and I worked together on her eulogy, in pulling from our previous expressions here on CC.  Truly, my Mom and her moments offered the words effortlessly.  My sister spoke from her heart on behalf of us, in reading the following words to family and friends filling every pew in church…


Her smile.

Her beautiful … radiant … smile.

Tribute of her smile is something my family and i have heard often … throughout our lives. 

It is moving to me … especially during these past days … how we again hear from so many … who hold a lasting image in their hearts and minds … of my Mom smiling.

Her smile was of treasured art. 

It was a smile of so many charming variations. 

It held the ability to light up a room … to melt hearts … to offer comfort … and had the power to ignite smiles all around her. 

Her smile was one that made you wonder if she was in on a good secret. 

Maybe the secret was … that she really knew how to LIVE life.

She held beautiful enthusiasm to greet every sunrise with gratitude … for another opportunity to seize the day. 

Truth be told, no one could make her smile like my Dad.

They first met in a diner … surrounded by dear friends. 

As Dad describes … her smile drew in his heart … it was an instant love connection. 

It began with a romantic first date … to a Chicago Blackhawks game.

Following the game and endless pots of coffee … they talked and laughed into the early hours of the morning. 

It was the dawn of a new day … with the beautiful sun rising … where the rest of their lives together began. 

It was a very telling first date of how Mom and Dad’s years of love together would forever involve coffee … conversation … laughs … family … and of course … the Chicago Blackhawks.

Mom was a proud Mother. 

She was humbled by the gift and joy of her Grandchildren. 

She was one who expressed herself in actions over words. 

Mom made you feel her love … simply by being in her presence.

December 9th 2009 was a day that tested every ounce of grit and determination Mom could draw upon … in order to carry her through the most challenging 13 months of her life. 

Possibly the truest gift … was how she smiled through the worst of moments … thereby putting the rest of us at such ease. 

In the face of meeting obstacles head on … she was a woman of great dignity. 

Her poise was deep … and it escorted her all the way to her final breath.

Mom was the main heartbeat of our family. 

Together we learned shared wisdom and shared compassion was the way … especially during this past year. 

It was her love for us … and in return … our love for her … to find the silver linings in every challenging day of her illness. 

A true testament to Mom was how she wished for her final moments to be. 

Her last days of life … were surrounded by her family. 

There was a beautiful hush ever present … in between belly laughs of memories filling the air.

Our family sat in carpet picnics scattered around Mom.

Living room furniture became bedroom furniture.

Her grandkids expressed their love in doodle masterpieces showcased all around Grandma’s room.

Sleepovers from old to young filled up open floor space throughout Mom and Dad’s home.

We bumped into one another in the halls with smiles … with hugs … and with tears on the way to the three essential areas … to the washrooms … to the kitchen … of course to the beautiful gentle space around Mom. 

There was a sense of wonderment … a final gift from Mom … as she held on as long as she could … to bless us with this incredibly special time.

Together as a family we entered a profound intimate circle.

It was a scared space of Mom’s choosing … one of deep heart felt love and soothing comfort.

After witnessing how difficult Mom’s past 13 months were … she left us this final gift … to experience her peaceful farewell … in a way she knew would cradle our hearts forever.  

It was a moving 10 days of vigil … for us to be still with one another … through love, laughter, and tears of sorrow. 

For a woman so dynamic … it is these following words which best define Mom …

her spirit … intoxicating!

her soul … gracious!

her voice  … melodious!

her heart … benevolent!

her presence … unpretentious!

her compassion … enormous!

her wit … hilarious!

her laughter … contagious!

her grace … exquisite!

her love … generous!

her character … authentic!

her fight … unwavering!

her hurt … forgiving!

her courage … resilient!

her legacy … her children!

her peace … forever eternal …

There is a quote that states:

"Perhaps they are not stars … but rather openings in heaven… where the love of our lost ones pours through … and shines down upon us … to let us know they are happy." 

We believe Mom’s smile will shine brightly upon us … from heaven above.

Beautiful Mom … rest now … in everlasting peace.        We love you.


For 407 days, my thoughts and my every action were consumed helping my Mom, and my Dad, as we moved through the journey of brain cancer with GBM. 

However, for the past 48 hours, my thoughts and every action have been consumed in celebrating my Mom and how she LIVED.  Time at the funeral home for visitation of love and respect and support outpoured by family and friends, Catholic Mass with moments of traditional Latin reverence, the cemetery chapel for final prayer, private graveside burial with our immediate family of 21 strong, and the luncheon to celebrate Mom and a life lived to its fullest … it was precious sincere time of such love from all who were touched by my Mom.  Overwhelmingly beautiful falls short in description.  My heart is ever so cradled by those whose own hearts were touched deeply by my Mom heart throughout her life.  Never before had my eyes seen such beauty of love and affection.  I struggle for words to express how it felt.  Truly.

A tradition we honor, is to drive past the residence of our dearly departed, with the casket pausing momentarily in reflection to where so much life was created.  My Mom grew up in the same house for which then became the home she and my Dad raised seven children.  We were flooded with smiles and reflection of wonderful memories that has made us who we are.  All I can say, is how grateful I am to have been blessed to call this amazing woman my “Mom”.  My heart was full today, full of gratitude and love for my Parents, my family, my friends.  Incredibly blessed am i.

In the days ahead, I understand the waves of sorrow will hit me.  But for this moment, right now, I am thankful for every moment of my 39 years with my Mom, especially her last 407 days.  I am humbled by her gifts to me in seeing what I have seen and feeling what I have felt.

From my family to yours, sincere wishes of hope bravery love strength & courage on this cancer journey. On we go ...

de – daughter of Jan born 8/15/40 - at rest 1/20/11 … thank you Mom.


by rasvp on Tue Jan 25, 2011 06:15 AM

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Beautiful words and just reading the eulogy got tears in my eyes. You were blessed on having the mother you had, and you are blessed on having the memories you have.

An eulogy is a thing I will like to give to my father in case the end comes, but I would possibly crumble to pieces in front of everybody. your sister is a very strong person.

I am hoping the BEST for your life in the coming days, weeks, months, years. Your mom surely will love to see you enjoying life again, smiling again, just as she did when alive.


a big hug.


by Justjules on Tue Jan 25, 2011 07:18 AM

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Amen and Blessed Be!

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom and the 407 days of gallant battle with the Beast. I so appreciate your posts here on CC. You made her proud with your advice, encouragement, and a look into her world so that others might learn.

Bless you, De




by gigisbaby on Tue Jan 25, 2011 03:22 PM

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Oh Baby Girl,

You are a fount of strength and I am honored to call you my friend.  The character your Mom possessed was handed down in abundance to her children and she sprinkled your lives with so much love and compassion - all the way through.  Giving all she had unto her final moment. 

A tribute to your Dad is also that he was wise enough to have chosen her above all others.

Not surprising, you sister's moving words were absolutely the most beautiful eulogy for a mother there could ever be. 

In my heart there will always be a little soft spot reserved for Jan, Mother of De #9.

And I offer another just for you...

Love - MamaSuzz


by zookeeper on Tue Jan 25, 2011 05:45 PM

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That was just beautiful De!



by neetaj on Tue Jan 25, 2011 06:05 PM

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I am so sorry for your loss.  Your post brought tears to my eyes.  You and your sister are strong women.  I hope you can find peace.  Lots of love


by I_love_Gary on Tue Jan 25, 2011 06:06 PM

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.........thinking of you with love 9.................DL


by CarmensWife on Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:47 AM

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 I have never ever read such beautiful words. What a wonderful family, what a wonderful life she lived.

You are so blessed to have the mother that you have, the upbringing that you shared with your siblings. This is all due to them, your parents. You are a product of the love they have for each other. 21 immeadiate family memmbers! BEAUTIFUL... all because 2 people fell in love....

I love you De! and I admire you so so very much.

Greiving right next to you,

Forever, Linda

RE: Farewell Mom . . .

by Dlynn1210 on Wed Jan 26, 2011 01:21 AM

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As I read your post and the eulogy your sisters and you wrote to your mother, it brought back thoughts of our church services a week ago.  Our pastor is doing a series in which he began by pointing out that life is all about living the dash.  We have no say as to when we are born and we have no say about when God takes us home but it is entirely up to us how we live the dash.  Your mother lived her dash to the fullest. 

8/15/40 - 1/20/11. 

As a mother of five, I can only pray that they celebrate my life one day the same as you are your mother's.   


RE: Farewell Mom . . .

by heart_and_soul on Thu Jan 27, 2011 04:32 AM

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De sweetie, don't worry about whether you're doing things right at this point. There is no right or wrong. The whirling swirling days will keep going for a while. You'll rest when you're ready. 

Also, thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of your life. It's like... so big... must be shared. Too big to hold. We'll each take a piece of the light explosion and carry it.

Much love, Sarah

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