In Honour of the Woman Who Built Me …

So often, you hear me refer to my Mother, the woman who inadvertently guided me to be the perfect person to do this work. In fact, the very first public speech I ever gave … was her eulogy.

So on this day, the day that is and always will be her birthday, it seems only fitting to share those words once again, for those who never got to meet her and for those who love her, even if they never got to sit in a room with her.

Here it is …

Today we gather to celebrate the life of the most fantastic woman I have ever met, my mother. No matter how you knew her, as a friend, a family member, a neighbour, or as a casual acquaintance Mom had the gift to touch the heart of all she encountered. My Mom loved life and all that it entailed. The silliest things could make her giggle and the smallest of events could make her smile. I am happy to share that that did not change, even in her last days. As my brother and I encouraged her recovery, she laughed at the hospital food and all of our other silly comments. In the end, the battle just proved to be too hard and with heavy hearts we realized it was time to say good-bye.

Years ago, after the passing of our Dad, each of us children made a point of telling Mom, as often as we could, just how much we loved and cherished her. When I was searching for the words for today, I looked over poems that I had written for her over the years and the words I wrote then seemed just as fitting now. So today I share with you just a brief glimpse of who my Mother was to me…

All of the good things I possess I learnt from my mother: the undying love for my children; the appreciation and love for my partner; the strength to endure life’s ups and downs and the love of life. All I l have learnt from my mother.

At different times in my life friends have commented; “You are just like your mother” and I smile for to me there is no higher compliment.

My mother was my advisor, my friend, my strength, my support system and best of all, my Mom. As her daughter, my mother has given me many wonderful gifts over the years but the greatest gift she ever gave me wasn’t the newest Barbie year after year, or the brand new bike, or the sweater I would kill for or the funkiest earrings she could find. The greatest gift she ever gave me was her teachings.

My Mom taught me to be strong like she was because she knew there would be times, like this, when I would have to be.

My Mom taught me to love my partner with all my heart as she did as she knew one day I would find the man worthy of that love.

My Mom taught me how to love my children, unconditionally and constantly, as she did every day of her life.

My Mom taught me to laugh, to cry, to share, to care and to live.

My Mom has been my inspiration, my guiding light and my goal in life. She has been there for me through it all, the good times and the bad. She has encouraged me, assisted me, scolded me, hugged me, and kicked me just when I needed it the most. She never ceased to amaze me.

Like my Mother, I love flowers. To Mom each bouquet had a special meaning. In honour of her, so does our family bouquet:

Our bouquet contains 38 roses to represent each year she loved Robert. Add 3 Belles of Ireland and you have each year she amazed me. Add 3 snapdragons and you have the 44 years she inspired Ernie and finally add 13 lilies and you have the 57 years she loved George. In total, there are 77 flowers representing each year of her life. Each flower is different yet beautiful in a unique way which is exactly how my Mom saw each day of her life.

Often over the years Mom shared how she was here just for us, her children, and that when the time was right she would finally get to be with Dad again. She waited for 24 years to get her wish. Through this time we must remember that she got her wish and not one of us should doubt how very happy she is now.

I ask all of you today to focus, not on the fact that my Mom is gone but instead, do what she would want, and focus instead on the laughs you shared, the memory of that sparkle in her eye as she showed off her latest sweater, or the mischievous grin on her face when she had a good joke to share. In rough times, Mom preferred to laugh rather than cry and I know that each and every one of us enjoyed sharing a laugh with her.

Thank you for joining us today and helping my family honour my Mom.

Thank you.

I love you!

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