A Son Says Goodbye

Posted: January 15, 2011 in It's All Important Stuff

This is the Eulogy I delivered to say goodbye to Mom.

Regardless of whether you are 13 going on 20 – weeks from 50 – or 88 years old, your mom will always be your mom.

Remembered in spirit, seen seldom, or with her daily, your mom is an anchor to where you came from, and the genesis of who you are.

Giving up your mom is one of the hardest things you can face. It is certainly hard for us today.

And, whether you remember THIS unique soul as Grandmom
Sister
Aunt Ruth
Or Mom,
she showed us all how to enjoy life and be grateful for what we have.

One may track the days back to 1922 and believe that her life was hard. She survived the great depression, she lost two children, she certainly lived modestly, and she took care of dying parents, as well as Ralph.

Along the way, she likely invested herself in YOUR tribulations as well. Yet, she rarely expressed regret or disappointment.

She chose to see life as a simple adventure. Offering that wry smile and an occasional cackle at the kitchen table – probably more than once at your house – perhaps over a game of Cards – certainly with coffee in hand.

She believed that despite our mortal failings, everyone has something good inside of them. Ruth was an eternal optimist. Some might call this gullibility or a lack of sophistication. However, I think that mom sized people up very well.

When I was about 10, my mom watched as a relative of a relative “borrowed” my dad’s skill saw from our garage. She followed him a block or so as he headed toward the pawnshop. This guy was 25, and a recent Vietnam Vet, and mom was 50ish.

Despite the age and gender gap, she totally had his number, and when he saw her, he nearly wet his pants. He was terrified of her.

She let out a string of cuss words at him that would have embarrassed a trucker. With tail between his legs, he quickly put the saw back in the garage.

The irony is that a few weeks later, I uttered just one of those cuss words and she chased me out of the house and through the back yard with a bar of soap.

“Todd Ralph Spain, you get back here RIGHT now – I MEAN IT.” You knew she was serious when she said, “ I mean it.”
I had to hide in the neighbors’ garage for hours to avoid her.

I missed dinner that night, which was quite a punishment, as she used to be a good cook back then.

Apparently she also had a license to practice medicine, as we were rarely taken to any other doctor or the hospital.

My brother is lucky that his appendectomy wasn’t performed in the bathroom with an old Coke bottle opener.

When I was eleven or so, I was trying to help out in the kitchen and took a cherry pie out of the oven, only to drop it smack on the top of my bare foot.

This hurt like hell and instantly created a giant blister. This clearly confounded Dr. Mom – as she had to ring Dr. Melba for a consult.

Upon her arrival the two agreed on the treatment – (can you guess what it was??) That’s right – they rubbed butter on it. They clearly saved me, because I can walk today. Thanks Drs. Mom and Melba.

I never once heard her make fun of, belittle or demean another human. To her it is simply wrong to do so.

Mom did set a very high bar for her kids. She certainly never made me feel small, or unimportant, or incapable – quite the opposite – she simply expected us to be our best and be good to others and ourselves.

Are YOU being your best?
Are YOU being good to others?
Are you being good to YOURSELF?
This is HER life lesson.
Perhaps WE should listen.

She certainly let me off the hook a few times, but I knew that she would not let me get away without trying my best for long. She was simply an incredible example of strength and grace.

I hope that my kids may feel the same way about me some day.

I am not a religious man, but I am spiritual. My mom knew exactly what would happen to her after she died. She believed, and because of her, so do I.

Perhaps not here
But, there is a celebration today –
a celebration 33 years in the making. Welcome home mom.
I hope to see you both soon

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Comments
  1. Jill says:

    A really beautiful blog, so sad, in more ways than one!

  2. I’m sorry for your loss Todd. I’m sure she was a very special person.

  3. Heather Honnold says:

    Wonderful Todd! I have 2 boys and hope they can say the same of me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Margaret says:

    That is beautiful Todd, your mother was lucky to have such a loving son!

  5. […] – Three surgeries; leg, wrist, and an appendectomy yesterday – A broken thumb and two broken toes – yeah, I dinged a toe again last week – Stitches in a thumb and calf – The continued chaos that is Cisco – Acceptance that Lance probably doped – Moving from the Cleaver house to a beaver lodge – A personal investment typhoon – Love American Style – Much less time with my boys – And, the loss of my mom […]

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