Eulogizing Mom

by Kelly (Veneo)


It’s hard to believe a whole year has gone by since I shared about my Mom when I honored her with something I wrote for this newsletter last May. If you read that article, you would have come to know that my Mother’s breast cancer had resurfaced after she’d been cancer-free for about 12 years. She fought this battle again for three years before passing over to the Other Side on March 12 of this year. She was 63. Before she crossed over, Mom had time to do the things she wanted to do and say what she wanted to say to her friends and loved ones. In that way, things went the way she wanted … gradually, over a period of time. My brother Bill and I found out from Mom’s dear friend Sharon that Mom also wanted us to have the time to come to accept that her time had come to go back home. That was my Mom for you, always worrying about everyone else’s feelings before her own.

I didn’t get the chance to eulogize my mother at her funeral. My brother and I both had things that we wanted to say about Mom, but the funeral was arranged by her husband without our input. We did share what was in our hearts that day in conversations with family and friends there to pay their respects. But I want to share some special things about my Mom and her crossing with others as well.

Besides my brother and me, Mom had two stepchildren, Ed and Dana, who are both married. She was particularly close to Ed’s wife, Darlene, with whom she had a lot in common. They were both Sagittarians who were orphaned at a young age and raised by their older sisters. As you can imagine, that created quite a bond between them … one of kindred souls. Darlene gave us a poem she had come across that really spoke to her of Mom. I don’t know who wrote the original, and I changed it a little, but Bill and I really liked it too.

When tomorrow starts without me
And I’m not there to see,
If the Sun should rise to find your eyes
Are filled with tears for me,
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today
While thinking of the many things
You didn’t get to say.

I know how much you loved me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
Know I’ll miss you too.
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand.

He said it was time to come back home
Here on the Other Side
And that I’d have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me
I’m right here in your heart.

While it is certainly true that there is comfort in knowing that our loved ones live on in our memories and our hearts, it’s even more comforting when we are able to recognize the qualities that we admired in them that we have taken on and made a part of ourselves. That is the best way we can honor them … in this way we do better than just remembering them, we become active, living tributes to them. The void that is left in our lives can be eased if we become aware of the many ways they are alive and well as a part of us. I am the person I am today because of my Mother’s wit, generosity, kindness, compassion, courage and strength. She taught my brother and me so much by the example of her life.

My brother likes to share that it was because of our Mother that we became so independent and self-sufficient. Those were qualities that she instilled in us, although she later regretted it a bit when we both moved away from home. She was always trying to talk us into moving back home so she could see us (and her grandchildren) more often. It bothered her that we didn’t talk to each other all that often and went through her for updates on one another during our weekly conversations with her. There were many relationships in our extended family that were estranged, but Mom’s passing has brought us all back together. Since her passing, we have promised one another that we will be closer and in more frequent contact, and we have already begun to do that. So far, my Dad and Stepmother have been down to visit, and my brother and his family are coming down in June. We have Mom to thank for that, and I’m sure that she’s up there smiling about it.

I had a conversation with my Mom over Christmas about how I would know when she was around me after her passing. The idea came to me via my mother-in-law, Diane. She has had her bout with cancer as well. She suggested I have this conversation with my Mom because that is what she would like to do if she were at my mother’s phase of the illness. I asked her what our sign or symbol would be that would let me know she was around, should the time come for her to pass over. Mom said that she wasn’t sure, and she asked me for a suggestion. At the time I couldn’t think of anything, so she said, “Well, let’s sleep on it and see what we come up with tomorrow.” In the morning, she told me she knew what our sign should be — a butterfly, because I have a butterfly tattoo. I told her that the butterfly was perfect since I have butterflies all around me at home. I also thought it was interesting since the butterfly stands for transformation, which was what she would be going through, and oftentimes cancer patients draw butterflies. When I heard her share this story with others, she would say “Free like a butterfly…”  

I shared this story with many who came up to me at the funeral home, and it was amazing how the butterflies began to make their presence known. First there was a basket of live plants that had a butterfly pick in it at the funeral home. My sister-in-law Lynn was looking for something to wear to one of the viewings, and the saleslady helping her picked out a scarf that matched her outfit perfectly. It had butterflies all over it. Lynn said, “That’s the one.” The last example was the icing on the cake, and it gave many of us chills. My Aunt Carol, Mom’s only sibling and her childhood guardian, told me about it the morning of Mom’s funeral. Her friend and neighbor Edith (which was my mother’s middle name as well as her mother’s first name) called Aunt Carol from Florida to let her know that she was out walking that morning and saw a butterfly that made her think of my Mom, which prompted her to call my aunt. Edith knew nothing of the butterfly story. I love this story, because it just goes to show the immortality of the soul.

Of course I’m sad and miss my Mother’s physical presence in my life. Holidays and special occasions from this day forward are going to be hard, but I know that she is with me in spirit and in my heart and that it won’t be long (from the perspective of the Other Side) before we are together again. I find great comfort in knowing this, and that my Mom is still around me when she’s not too busy with her activities on the Other Side. I owe a lot of thanks to Sylvia Browne, who has helped me so much in my understanding of the soul’s eternal journey through her books The Other Side And Back and Life On The Other Side. I’m also happy and relieved for Mom because I know that she is no longer suffering, and is as Free as the butterfly! I Love You Mom … please feel Free to visit me from the Other Side as often as you can … you’ll always be in my heart, and I know that you are there giving me your love and support from where you are now.