The following is the Eulogy I wrote and read at mom’s funeral. I had mixed feelings about adding in details of her struggles with addiction, as did my family. In reality, addiction is a disease, so what would it matter what disease I choose to mention? We wanted to focus on her brightness and knew that mom would have wanted us to as well. I miss her greatly every day and will for the rest of my life. I feel her bright spirit guiding us though, and am grateful for that and the legacy of love that she left❤️
My Mom had a brilliant, thousand watt smile that lit up a room. Her smile endeared her to anyone she met.
She was outgoing, very friendly, bubbly, and would talk to everyone.
This often terrified me as a child, since I was very shy. I remember often hiding behind her skirt as she talked to strangers and wondering when she was ever going to stop talking. As I grew older, I learned to apprecitate this trait, as I realized that she was very good at making people feel special.
One of the most touching things to witness while she was dying, were the many nurses and aides who stopped by her room to say how much they enjoyed her and were going to miss her beautiful smile.
We sincerely thank all those who compassionately cared for her at Waverly Gardens and got to know her…they were good to her until the very end.
My mom was very graceful, ladylike, and charming. She was sylish and always well dressed and put together. I will always remember her telling my sister and I to “sit up straight like a lady” or to “make sure to always act like a lady”.
As kids, she made sure that we were well dressed too. This was fun when we wanted to get dressed up and wear trendy clothes, but when we didn’t feel like being fancy, it could be down right torture.
For example, any time we went to do some shopping with her to downtown St. Paul or Minneapols Daytons, we were required to wear our Sunday best. This could be annoying when it was a Saturday, and we had been perfectly comfortable in our cozy jeans and tshirts. Now, as an adult, I have come to appreciate that she taught us good style sense, how to hold ourselves with poise, and an appreciation for beautiful things.
When we were younger, an ideal day for mom would have been hanging out by our pool on a sunny summer day at 81 Many Levels Rd in Dellwood…with a book in her hand while watching us play & swim, and with our enormous, gentle giant St Bernard Ben by her side. In later years, it would have been our wheaten terriers Dewy & Duffy by her side.
Another ideal day for mom was sitting in her sun porch at their house on White Bear Lake while sharing time with us kids and her grandkids, with their wheaten dog Reilly by her side.
Mom adored flowers. She enjoyed tending to her gardens and watching as they changed throughout the season. She loved receiving roses and mixed arrangements from my dad, her kids, and her sister Berta, as they always brought her much joy. Mom would have loved that her daughter Vicki and her family have kept her garden beautiful at their home in White Bear.
She also had a keen artistic eye for interior decorating and design. She greatly enjoyed decorating the various homes that she lived in throughout her life in very bright colors and beautiful patterns, creating very cheerful and inviting spaces.
She was inquisitve and curious, always interested in knowing what was going on in our lives, and how we felt about different topics or issues. She was a great friend to all 3 of us kids. She was always ready with a listening ear and sound advice.
Mom and I wouldn’t go more then a couple of days without speaking to each other on the phone, often talking every day. One of the hardest things I had to do was take away her phone at Waverly Gardens, when she got to confused to be able to call us anymore.
She had an inquiring mind for history, news, and current events. She and I would spend hours discussing historical fiction novels that we both loved. She also loved a good romance novel, as did I. News tv channels were constantly on in our house. Her love of books inspired our family to become avid readers.
She loved to travel with her family and friends. She would often go to her parents cabin up north to Black Duck Lake, in Oar Minnesota, or to Palm Springs California, and in later years to Florida. She often went on fun trips with my dad. They would go fishing in Canada, horse back riding in Montana, did lots of fun trips with the Goosers, and even took a few trips to Europe.
In some ways, caring for someone with a terminal illness, like dementia, for such a long time, allows you to begin the grieving process much earlier than you might otherwise. We have been grieving mom, little by little, for about 11 years. We gave her our love and comfort the best way we knew how, and it is a huge relief and comfort to know that her mind and body are finally clear and whole again.
Mom died on The Feast of the Annunciation. On this day in the Church, we celebrate when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she had been chosen to be the mother of our Lord, and Mary’s fiat, her willingness to say “yes” and accept God’s holy plan. The other name for this day is “Lady Day”. And so, it is completely fitting for my mom to have passed away on this day, as she was the epitome of being a lady. In fact her name, Donna, litterly means “Lady” in Italian.
This for me, is a great comfort, as she and I have shared a common love for our Blessed Mother. My mom, even in her confusion, could still recite the Memorare Prayer, which is a traditional Catholic prayer, up until just not to long ago. I truly believe that Mary and Jesus met my mom with open arms, and is rejoicing with them now. She may be arguing a bit with St. Peter about whether she can smoke cigarettes in heaven, but who knows!
As she was dying, mom was surrounded by all who loved her, and she was able to hear our loving laughter telling stories, which I know she loved.
When things quieted down, I laid my head down beside her while stroking her beautiful face. I told her we would take care of each other, and that she could let go and take her angel’s hand, and then she finally went home.❤️