< Piro >
Thursday - May 21, 2009
...from this side.
Please know that the entire MT community expresses it's condolences, Dom. It's been a difficult time for you, but know that you have our support.
Thursday - May 21, 2009
This is the eulogy I wrote for my mother and read to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church today:
Any conversation about my Mom will inevitably segue into the same kind of story. The story will start with “The first time I ever met her, she gave me...” and end with any number of gifts, ranging from cookies fresh from the oven to a squash the size of a small child. It didn't matter who you were, it didn't matter where you came from, and it didn't even matter if she remembered your name. My Mom welcomed everyone the same way – with an open smile, a friendly greeting, and a surprisingly large parting gift.
She was so generous, she never thought of anything as being her own. The fruits and vegetables from her garden, small odds and ends she picked up throughout her day, and even her free time had no value to her unless they could be given away – as a volunteer at the Red Cross and St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room or as a room parent at Mt. Carmel.
It took me years to understand the magnitude of what my Mom gave me and my sister. She spent her entire life working to make our lives better. Every hour she worked, every penny she saved, everything she did, she did for us. The thought of spending money on herself never crossed her mind; if it did, she quickly pushed it aside and concentrated on making sure we were happy. I can't count how often she would buy us toys, or books, or candy, but I can't for the life of me remember a single time she splurged on something she wanted.
There was a downside to her self-effacing generosity – it was incredibly hard to buy birthday and Mother's Day presents for her, because she never told us what she wanted for herself. Year after year, we'd ask her what she wanted, and she'd reply “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy.” For the longest time, I thought that was a canned response, but now that I think about it, she was probably telling the truth.
That was how she lived. Mom didn't find much appeal in wealth, or luxury, or personal achievement. She found all the happiness she ever wanted in every smile on the face of a friend. She found satisfaction in every good day my sister and I had at the schools she worked so hard to send us to. She found joy in every “thank you” and “I love you.” She shared in the joy of everyone around her, and thanks to her selfless nature, she never found any shortage of happiness in the world.
In the end, her greatest gift to her children, as well as the many people whose lives she touched, was her example. She gave without complaint. She gave without any expectation of a reward. She gave without a second thought. Charity was built into her very being, and all of our lives have been enriched because of it.
If we can take just a fraction of the kindness she showed us and share it with our friends, our neighbors, and our families, then they will all be truly blessed. And somewhere out there, my Mom will smile, knowing that she brought a little more happiness into their lives.
Rest in peace, Mom.