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I spoke the following words at my mother’s funeral several years ago. My life was very different when I wrote these lines, and now I’m married with children of my own. But in revisiting these words for the first time in years and with the perspective of a man who has seen a good deal more of life than he who wrote them, I am reminded more than ever of how true they are.

There was nobody like her.

Mom & RK on the Beach

It’s Worth Everything To Know That No Matter How Bad You Fuck Up, Someone Still Loves You.

***

It’s impossible to capture in words the full measure of someone you love and admire so deeply as I do my mother.

Many of the people here today knew my mother well, and are acquainted with her many superlative qualities. She was an intelligent, accomplished, funny, loving woman.

But sometimes there are subtle aspects to a person, which are easily overlooked because they are qualities which run true and deep.

In my mother, one of these characteristics was her tremendous strength of spirit.  My mother was a gentle woman, and so often it seems that gentleness is mistaken for weakness. This was never so with my mother; she was fierce in fighting for the people she loved, and resolute in defending the things she valued.

My mother talked to me often about my father’s death, and how that event had impacted her life and would shape the remarkable woman she would become. A self-described “surfer girl,” she had envisioned for herself a life as a homemaker, and had never given serious thought to a career. But when she found herself widowed and pregnant at twenty-five, she found also her own strength, which was to become so characteristic of the funny, fearless woman I grew up knowing. My mother became a woman she never dreamed existed.  She worked hard and made sacrifices along the way, many of them in private.  She never complained.

Sometimes, including her recent illness, well-meaning people would suggest to my mother that she’d had a rough life.  My mother was honestly surprised by this sentiment, as she felt very fortunate to have lived the life she did.  She told me many times that life was full of sorrows, but that life’s joys outnumbered them, and that was the point of being alive. She kept this attitude to the last of her days.

People have asked if my mother suffered during her illness, and yes, she did suffer. But she lived every day of her life.

My mother enjoyed being alive, and drew her joy from the people around her – friends and loved ones. To her, the people and animals in her life were more valuable than all the riches of the world, and she was grateful for their love and attention. My mother believed in unconditional love, and in championing those things which matter. She believed that kindness trumped anger. She believed that faith and hope triumphed over suffering and despair.

{My mother} was the most amazing woman I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet.  I’m so much luckier that she was my mother.

Still Miss You

You’re A Hard Act To Follow.

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