The past several weeks have been stressful, emotional, and fast. My mother experienced much pain unnecessarily, was hospitalized, recovered, was again hospitalized, discharged to hospice care, and within a few short days of that, she passed away.
Before I could finish making my case with her medical provider regarding her care, before I could follow-up on my demand for an actual doctor, Mom died. I have plenty on my mind, but little that I’d like to share. Not yet, and possibly not ever.
Except her eulogy. I wrote that, I spoke it at her funeral, and I’d like to share it with you. Let’s start there, and in the weeks and months to come, I may or may not post more. Death is like that. It creates uncertainty, leaves questions that might never be answered, and turns your heart to confetti. Sad, walked upon, the-party-is-over, shredded.
Despite my grief, I wanted Mom’s eulogy to convey who she was; not the immense pain I was feeling. It needed to have humor, and it needed to be candid. Just like Mom. Here is Mom’s eulogy, daughter to mother.
“On behalf of my family, thank you all for coming today to say farewell to our mother. It’s heartbreaking to lose a parent, and I’ll miss my Mom until the end of time, just as I have missed my Dad since he passed 18 years ago. But, seeing so many people here who care, there is comfort in that. And we thank you.
Mom could light up a room, get a laugh from even the most stoic, and was always the life of the party. She was usually throwing the party. And she never walked away from a good poker game.
Mom believed in giving people a chance, a second chance, and sometimes a third. She was truly a champion for the underdog. I know this because I watched her hire people who asked for a job, lend a little cash if it was needed, or simply sit and listen. Or she’d tell you to shut up. She was honest.
Mom had only an 8th grade education, but with that, she landed a factory job when she was just a teenager – when other kids her age were in school.
Sewing pajamas at Munsingwear was her first gig, and it was after a shift at the factory when she and Dad first met. Then, just as she was doing a few short weeks ago, Mom lit up the room, and for them, the rest was history. I often wonder if Dad knew the wild ride he had signed up for.
Mom and Dad raised a mess of kids, which is quite an accomplishment because most of us were not easy children. They both worked, and kept a small summer home in Minnesota. When they bought the Amberg Pub, Mom took on the diner – she created a menu, ordered food and supplies, hired help, and handled the bookkeeping. With an 8th grade education.
If you knew Mom, you also knew she was a pistol. Strong willed, I believe is the polite term. But her chutzpa, her confidence, is what I admire most about my mother. The words ‘I can’t’ were not in her vocabulary. She had dreams, and she made them come true. She set goals, and she achieved them.
Even though Mom and Dad were married for over 50 years, she was fiercely independent. She was a force, and she never stopped. Again, God bless my Dad.
I am incredibly proud to be Donna Gropp’s daughter; she taught me so much. And although there will forever be an empty space in my heart with her name on it, it makes my heart smile knowing that Mom and Dad are together again. This funeral is for us, because all is not right in our world, but now it is in theirs.”