Fourteen years ago today I received word that my mom, had walked on to the Summerlands. She passed on the Dec 29, 1999, but I was another day and world away, serving my country in Australia. I spent most of that day listening to Kenny G's Instrumental version of Titanic .
After 14 years the pain is still there, and I wish she had lived to see that I have found someone who loves me so much, to see the wonderful wife and step-daughter, who have come into my life.
The following I read at my mom's memorial.
I have been nominated to write something about our Mom, by my brother’s Steve and Joe. The reason they gave me was because of my so called writing ability. I guess it was a mistake to write that article in the Monacan News, thanking my parents for what they have taught me. Now everyone thinks that I am a writer. Well Steve was always more poetic and Joe the individualist.
In that article I related how my parents have always taught me to be proud of my Indian Heritage. And how, they instilled in me the Indian approach to Life; a respect and love for nature; the principles of truth, honesty, generosity, equality, and brotherhood, as a guide for my conduct in everyday affairs.
I do not know how good my writing is, or how well, I will be able to articulate my feelings. However, I do know that if it wasn’t for my mom always reminding me to use correct English, and encouraging me to read and write, I would not be writing this.
Too often, we are remembered by our occupations. We can use the words like Model, Den Mother, Telephone Operator, Hotel Owner, to describe Mom’s occupations, but this isn’t who she was. These were additional duties to her primary job of being a Mother. Mom was a Mother who provided comfort, discipline, kindness, love, protection and understanding. She was a Mother, who gave unconditional love to her three sons, even when we made mistakes.
She encouraged and supported us to take risks, for she knew that the greatest danger in life is to risk nothing. By risking nothing we may think we are safe and are avoiding pain. But, oh, how boring a life we would lead and what a lie our life would be. Only through risk can we feel, learn, grow, live and love. She wanted us to love, to live life on our terms. She wanted us to believe in our self. For, she knew that if we believe in our self, so too would other believe in us. She did not want us to be carbon copies of anyone. Yes, she may have been disappointed when we faltered. And at times, felt that she failed as a Mother. But she still loved us unconditionally. And Mom, you did not fail us as a Mother.
She taught us that everything that happens can teach us a lesson of Life. Happiness, sadness, advancements, setbacks, the greatest moments of grandeur, and those of sheer stupidity, forges us into the individuals that we have become. For without these test, our Life would be just like a Merry-go-round, Dull and pointless!
She took great interest in our Indian Heritage. Never seeking or expecting recognition, she was glad to make anonymous donations to the Monacan Nation. Just this past October, she gave several boxes full of sewing books, supplies and material to the Tribe. Sewing and quilting was something that she was very good at, until the arthritis in her hands became too painful for her. Yes, it was hard for her to let all of these sewing supplies go, for she never gave up hope of one day being able to sew again. However, I suspect that this past October she realize that her time remaining was growing shorter and these things could be better utilized by the Tribe than by sitting in the sewing room.
There are many things my Mom taught me; I would like to share 26 of them.
Admit your mistakes
Continue to learn something new each day
Delight in the small things
Enjoy your family and friends
Follow your own path, while doing no harm
Give thanks for all that you have, all that you experience, the good and the bad
It is easier to be helpful than harmful
Jump for joy as often as possible.
Know your limitations, and then expand them
Laugh from the belly, and often
Miracles are real, they happen every day
Never intentionally harm someone
Opportunities to do good are always present
Plant as many trees, and flowers that you can
Quiet time, spent alone is important
Respect tradition, respect the Earth, and take responsibility for your actions
Smiles are free, give them often
Take no one for granted, for tomorrow the may be gone
Use every second and every word wisely, neither can be retrieved
Visit family and friends often
Welcome big problems, for they help us grow and may also disguise big opportunities
Xmas is the time for families and gentle falling snow
Zoos are fun
I loved my Mother, she was my friend
My Mother, my friend has walked on
What more can I say
The poem ends
Softly as it began
I love my Mother, she was my friend
Good Night, God Bless, I Love you