A Daughter’s Last Words to her Mother

by dale on September 7, 2015

Mom at 16 years old

My mother’s funeral service was this past Friday, September 5, 2015 at Fairhaven chapel in Maryland.  My brother sang “It is Well with My Soul” in a voice that can only be described as angelic!  I then delivered her eulogy, as follows:

“On behalf of my brother and me, thank you for being here today to join in the celebration of Mom’s life.  I want to share our special memories of our mother and also what the Fairhaven community meant to her.

Mom had a caring and gentle spirit.  As I look back, it was the everyday moments that are etched in my mind:

  • Sitting on her bed as she taught me to tie my shoes
  • Sitting in her lap in the church parsonage as she took committee meeting minutes
  • Walking beside her to school during 1st and 2nd grade, a total of 6 miles each day which she walked in high heels!

As the years went by and I became a young mother, states away and often feeling overwhelmed and alone, she supported and guided me with long distance phone calls, most everyday.

Allan experienced her unconditional love and support during and after his divorce and job loss.

She was our rock.

As our families grew with spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she had an amazing knack of keeping up with each family member despite the distance, with family living in Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Richmond and Atlanta.

When possible, she traveled to visit each of us and our families to enjoy everyday moments and milestone events.  Despite health challenges, she attended every graduation and every wedding of her 4 grandchildren.  At the age of 78, she delighted in finally getting her first computer.  She quickly learned to Skype and view photos from her Facebook friends.  She loved to say she had entered “the world of technology.”

Let me share what Fairhaven meant to her.  In 2008, after a health and life crisis, she chose to sell her home and move to as she called it, “that place on the hill.”  She said she felt like she had finally gotten to college and was living in a dorm.  She was blessed to have her lifelong friends, Jean and Sarah, stay with her to the end.  But, at Fairhaven, she found a new family, the residents and the staff.  She told me she learned so much from talking with and getting to know others.  She especially enjoyed mealtime, truly the highlight of each day.  Mom would invite Allan, Jan and me to join her at meals when we visited.  We were stunned to hear our quiet mother engage others in conversation.  We knew she had found her “home.”

As cancer began to take hold, she chose to fight.  She told Allan that she would fight to the end with every fiber of her being, and she did.

In retrospect, we truly believe she fought to continue impacting lives.  The wonderful aides, nurses and staff were so loving, caring and professional.  But they were more than that.  They became her “true friends.”

Mom came to Fairhaven, physically ill and broken in spirit.  She departed, an integral part of the Fairhaven community, feeling loved and respected.

As I think about the way in which Mom lived each and every day, I am reminded of the quote by Mother Teresa, “Do small things with great love.”

If Mom could speak to us today, I know she would simply say, “love you and thank you.”

We love you Mom!


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(July 25, 2015 . Contact:  Matt Gurwell, Founder & CEO, Keeping Us Safe, LLC.  (877) 907-8841 or info@keepingussafe.org)

(South Bend, IN) – Do you wonder if the older driver in your family may be experiencing diminishing driving skills as a result of the natural aging process?  Has your parent become lost recently while driving on an otherwise familiar route?  Have you noticed mom bumping into curbs, mailboxes, or scraping the side of the garage when she backs out?  Are there unexplained scuff marks on the corners of dad’s bumpers?  Has dad been involved in a minor parking lot fender-bender recently, or does he complain about being honked at all the time?  Do either of them seem easily confused or more forgetful when you talk with them on the telephone?

If so, don’t panic; you are certainly not alone.  The most important thing to remember is that the time to start addressing your concerns over driving is now, before “concerns” turn into “tragedies”.

According to AARP, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day for the next 18 years!  Tragically, an average of 15 people ages 65+ die in car accidents every day in the United States.

The issue of taking the keys away from a parent can be extremely sensitive and emotional.  Having this discussion has been likened to trying to throw a diplomatic hand grenade at your parents and the “talk” has been known to divide entire families.  Adult siblings, otherwise close to each other their entire lives, can end up at war with each other (and/or with their parents) on how best to address the driving issue.

“There is a solution.  Keeping Us Safe has developed a workbook titled ‘Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families’ says Dale Carter of South Bend, Indiana.  “The workbook is designed to reduce the family’s opinion, emotion and speculation from what can be a very difficult family issue, and reduce everything to simple facts.  From that point, the family and the older driver can make appropriate decisions about the individual’s driving future.”  Carter serves the greater South Bend area as one of Keeping Us Safe’s Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals. [click to continue…]



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