Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ryan's Eulogy

For those that couldn't be there here is the eulogy that my brave brother, Ryan, gave for my Mom. Truly eloquent and perfect in every way. Thank you Ryan for sharing this!

"Before I speak about Mom, Brianna, Philip and I would like to thank everyone, not only for being here tonight but for all of your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time for our family. The amount of support that we have received has been tremendous and we are truly grateful. Also, for all those who have sent anything, food or otherwise, it has been very helpful so thank you. Lastly, for everyone who came to visit my Mom these last few weeks, in New York or back here in Memphis, we really appreciate the thought and I know Mom enjoyed the visits and company.

There are a few people who I would like to especially thank. First and foremost, I want to thank my sister Brianna and her husband Jeremy. About six or seven months ago when they first told me that they were going to build a new house and move in with Mom as a result, I advised strongly against that. For those of you who know Mom well, she is not the easiest person to live with day in and day out. It really turned out to be a blessing when she got sick a few months ago, however. They took on the difficult task of taking care of her every day, from bringing her to all of the doctor appointments to making sure she received the proper medication. Having two little girls to take care of at the same time did not make their task any easier. Brianna - Philip and I are eternally grateful for your leadership and sacrifice so thank you. Jeremy - a lesser man would have taken off a long time ago. Having four women yell at you every day is not an ideal situation. The level of support that you have given my sister and what you did for my Mom was an amazing thing and I want to thank you as well. Mom thought of you as a son, the same as Philip and me, and I know she would want me to share that with you.

Philip - you and Mom probably fought the most, but I think she loved you the most being her youngest. Please know that Mom was very proud of you and knew that you would succeed with whatever path you chose. You have her spirit and we all know that you will use that to be great. I would also like to thank my aunts and uncles and my Dad. Brianna, Philip and I truly could not have gotten through this without your support and love. Mom treasured her relationship with each of you (even you Dad) and I know that she was very proud to be a part of each of your families and you of ours.

When I first sat down to think about what I was going to say tonight, I honestly admit that I was a little nervous. I quickly realized, however, that Mom gave me plenty of material to work with, both good and scandalous. She would hate us standing up here talking about her but hopefully she will be ok if I just stuck to the good things.

Mom was always the brightest light in every room. She enjoyed and celebrated life, both hers and everyone else's that she knew. As soon as someone encountered Mom, they immediately felt her generous sense of warmth and love. If you asked her for a dollar, she would give you five. If you asked her for a hug, she would give you a kiss. If you needed her friendship, she gave you her love. In her spirit, she would want us to celebrate her life and all of the wonderful memories that we shared with her. I know that is a difficult thing to ask but I believe we can be comforted with the fact that she is in a better place, a place not of illness and pain, but of comfort and safety. She will also be reunited with love ones, especially her mom and dad. I laugh when I think of her mom, my nannie, who passed away a few years back and the fact that she has probably been in heaven bossing people around like crazy. Everyone will be very excited to see Mom and potentially get a brief respite from Nannie's long arm of the law.

Mom lived her life exactly the way she wanted, doing exactly what she wanted and that was being a nurse, a mother and eventually a grandmother...a nannie. She was a nurse her entire life. Helping people, most often complete strangers, was what she loved to do. Even later in life, she went back to school so she could further improve her ability to care for people and we were all so proud of her for that. As a mother, she always put herself last. I would be sitting in her hospital room and she would be most worried about me being comfortable or getting something to eat. I had to tell her to be quiet and to not worry about me; she was the one who was in the hospital bed. Now, Mom could be a real pain in the butt, but she simply wanted the best for us at any cost. That cost often resulted in us doing a significant amount of manual labor, but in her eyes, it built character. She felt that the most important thing was for us to be good people first and the rest would fall into place. Being a nannie truly completed her life. I really think these last few years with the girls were some of her happiest days. Experiencing the unconditional love of a child every day was truly precious to her. It is probably best that the girls aren't here right now because they would destroy these in a heartbeat but I have two flowers for the girls. Mom loved flowers and these symbolize that the girls were Mom's two little flowers who were always in bloom.

Although I only got to share 27 years with my Mom, she taught me an exceptional amount in that time. During times of adversity, she showed me the true meaning of courage, poise and perseverance. It is easy to live life when there is not a cloud in the sky but it is how you behave when you get caught in a storm that makes you the person that you are. She has been in her storm for the last 10 years and the amount of dignity and grace that she displayed during her struggle should be a lesson to us all.

As we say goodbye tonight, we should be comforted that Mom has returned home. A place where no storms exist...where the wind will always be at her back...where the sun will always shine upon her face...a place where she can reach the stars."


Brasfield said...

That is absolutely amazing. Tell Ryan he did an incredible job!

Ginna said...

So beautiful. God bless you all. Even though I didn't know your mom, I can see that she's an amazing woman.