For the last 11 or so months I have written sporadically about the challenges I have faced as my mother struggled with a brain tumor. There have been some days that were better than others, and for the most part I kept a positive attitude and assumed that we would be fighting the good fight for a few years as mom met the recurrences and physical setbacks head-on.
Unfortunately, mom lost her fight on August 6. She never wore any of the clothes I put labels into for her.
We had a wonderful memorial celebration for mom on the 22nd, and it was a perfect day. Weather, flowers, music, pictures, friends, family. All the things mom loved were a part of the day. In place of hymns we had friends of mom’s play some country/bluegrass. In place of tears, we laughed and smiled about the slideshow and stories we shared. No one spoke, no eulogies were offered – we just visited, and hugged, and remembered what mom meant to us.
My favorite thing was the memorial card. I can’t stand those little things you get at funerals that have the date of birth and death listed, and the pallbearers and family members… blah. You feel like we should keep them, because the person is someone you cared about, but it’s such a piece of crap that’s so impersonal and has the little ad on the back for the funeral home… you don’t want to keep it… So what do you do??
We printed 4×6 cards with mom’s name and birth and death dates and a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I thought was fitting. Also, a little note thanking people for their support over the last year and their love for our mom. On the back, we pasted 4×6 photos that mom took in her garden. We made 100 out of 10 different photos – so people could pick their favorites. It was perfect.
Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The quote was so fitting for the legacy my mom left. I hope it inspires you to be a success in your life as well.