Seven years ago I stood up to speak at my mother’s memorial service. During what seemed to be a normal bypass surgery, she had a stroke, laid in a coma on life support for three weeks until I could convince my Dad that we needed to honor her living will.
It was a tough time for all us. Mom was the matriarch of the family, the youngest of her siblings, the one who many turned to, a teacher, a Nana, a loving wife, and the best Mom in the world.
I had to be strong for my Dad. He was extremely distraught, experiencing the sudden loss of someone he had spent over 56 years with. And I was strong, until I stood up and looked out over the full chapel, people standing up in the aisles, their faces, all ages, friends, family, children my mother had taught, children of children my mother had taught. All here to honor her. And that is when I lost it.. for a moment.
After a pause, I heard my mother say, “Get your shit together Monty”, in that distinctive voice that I will never forget. And it was at that moment that I realized two truths that she so soundly imprinted in me..
- Always leave a place better than you found it
- They may forget what you say or do, but they will never forget how you made them FEEL.
I then proceeded to tell memorable stories about my mother, we all laughed, that was the way she would want it, that was the way my Mom rolled.
That day I saw many people my mother had touched in some way, and they touched her. She always left a place better than she found it. She changed the world just by being who she was.
I could not ask for a better teacher or mentor. She was my hero. She ROCKED!
I love you Mom.