My mom passed away a few years ago & it took me forever to get her grave marker done. Part of me was waiting for my dad to pass, part of me didn't want to deal with the final chapter of her life. Tomorrow, I get to visit and see the new stone. Its going to be an emotional day for me. She died quite fittingly the day after Mother's day. As a tribute to her I'm publishing her eulogy. Happy Mother's day.
First I want to thank you all for coming today. Mom didn't like funeral - I know that because she has lost many close friends and did not attend their services. I stand before you and apologize on her behalf. I don't why she never went. I guess on those days she could not do anything to make you happy, and as we all know, she lived to make others happy.
I'd like to share my memories of mom & how her life affected me, affected us all. Because I think a life should affect others. She may not have thought she did a lot, but in her own quiet way she did.
Born in 1920, the second of two children to Belle and Joseph Weisbart. It was in her early life that her father left, preferring booze to babies. Soon after, Belle, unable to afford the children, was forced to place them in an orphanage. I think it was for 2-3 years that they only saw their mother on holidays, if at all. Belle eventually got a job and an apartment so she was reunited with her children. My bubbe lived with us until she died in 1967. I don't think she would admit it, but I believe that my mom never wanted to be separated from her again. I'd like to think that now, they are back together again.
In my eulogy. there are 4 key areas that comes to mind when I think of her. They are Food, Humor, Wisdom & People
I don't think there is a person here that wasn't invited to join us at her dining room table. It was build for 8, but often sat 20! Mom loved to cook & it was not unusual for her to spend days preparing food. When not actually preparing food, she would be sitting in her studio, making roses & watching those early day-time cooking shows like Julia Child or Graham Kerr all the while never taking a note. Later she'd try to recreate the recipes, occasionally with some sad results. If she couldn't dazzle you with taste, she'd go for the garnish. Thanks to her, I was the only kid at 8 that could make a radish rose.
As the youngest kid. it was I who got to observe her as she whipped up tuna salad in a scalloped tomato for Earlene, our cleaning lady. She'd be constantly describing what she is doing as if there was a TV crew in the kitchen, Earlene and I could care less how to properly seed a tomato. I'm not sure why, but she did talk all the time as she cooked. To this day, as I cook, I can hear her warn me “never to add hot liquids to cold eggs, or using seltzer water is the secret to making fluffy matzo balls”.
When I was little, I used to see her rushing around as guests were arriving and my Dad would be worried about her being barefoot! (this, from a man who's feet have never see the light of day) She'd turn to me and say that being barefoot puts her company at ease, its not so formal and allows them to relax more. Truth be told, her feet and ankles would swell from standing and cooking for the last 24 hours straight. She just couldn't get them to fit in the shoes she bought the previous week! I cook barefoot all the time now & often entertain that way. I' d like to think I'm giving my guests a more relaxed, informal meal. Radish roses & all!
I may not share any DNA with her but she taught me two important things in life. How to cook & see the humor in things.
Mom loved to laugh. April fools day in our house was taken very, very seriously. I'm sure My sister Jody remembers the pancakes that couldn't be cut as there was a neat circle of flannel baked into each one. I, on the other hand, was suspicious from beginning by the shear fact there was a hot meal in the morning! She's even pulled a few pranks on the neighbors as well. Again, I apologize if her antic got out of hand. I'm sure Phyllis can remember back in the old neighborhood, the magical orange tree that somehow grew baseball sized oranges overnight, It was upon Phyllis' close inspection that she saw the words SUN-KIST stamped on each one. I like to tell people the story about the scar on my eyebrow & how she reacted when that accident happened. She was in her bathroom shaving off her eyebrows and painting them on (that was, apparently, the thing to do in 1960). anyway, She had like 4 or 5 painted on when Jody brought it to her attention that I had fallen and was bleeding, a lot. With Phyllis, not home to drive her, She picked me up & ran several blocks to the doctor’s office. They weren't sure what to make of this frantic lady with multiple eyebrows and the bloody kid. Age did no slow her down in the humor department. Later in La Mirada, she and Sherry would get dressed up on the weekends, only to crash wedding receptions at Los Coyote Country Club.
As I became an adult, she never offered any advise or voiced her opinion. Perhaps she didn't think it mattered, but I would seek it just the same. In the 25 years of our marriage my mom has never once "butted in". She kept her opinions and thoughts regarding my marriage, kids, jobs, heck, anything, to herself. Not even a facial clue to tip us off! I tried to adopt that philosophy with my kids as they reach adulthood, and its not easy!
She loved socializing with others and made friends easier than most. Even in the nursing home and without a voice, she could be found introducing new patients to each other. She loved playing bingo as all the others would eventually nod off & she'd always win. To all of you who visited her, I do appreciate it. I know in the last year or two communication was very difficult and it was hard to see her once bright light go dim, but your visits truly brightened her day. Thank you.
Erma Bombeck once said about death: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could proudly say, "I used everything you gave me."
I'd like to think my mom used all her talents as well.Thank you all for being such a special part of her life.