Enter your email address to receive weekly essays:

Check your inbox for a verification request. Thank you!

notes for a eulogy

notes for a eulogy

by guest writer, Joan Berland
December 23, 2015

As part of our caregiver’s circle, a few participants have been drawn to write about their caregiving experience. This essay was written by participant, Joan Berland, who wrote about her 90 year old mother, Jean, last January. Joan wrote this eulogy piece the day after her mother died. This is a tender and poignant, two-part essay. We are honored to share Joan's writing with you.
~ Judy and Andrea

Yesterday I went home to regroup before the funeral and spent the morning doing laundry. That might seem like an odd thing to do after my mom passed away but actually the desire to do so makes perfect sense. Until I was 16 years old, my mom and I cleaned the house from top to bottom every Saturday. All the beds got changed, every knickknack was dusted, and baskets of clothes and the linens got washed, dried and folded. I may not have enjoyed every moment of it but I did learn how to be a great laundress. To this day, a stack of clean well folded laundry makes me so happy. Yesterday as I did laundry on a Saturday morning it gave me a few more hours with my mom.

I spent 3 days and 2 nights with my mom as she let go of life. It was precious time. I gazed at her for hours and tried to replay moments from our life together, but for some reason I couldn’t recall anything that had ever happened between us. There was only each moment we had left together. Each of those moments was filled with the most exquisite tenderness and peace. Whatever had happened, whatever was going to happen didn’t exist. There was only right now. 

Today as I write this eulogy I see her standing at the front door of the house on Linda Lane. She is waving goodbye to Warren, our dog Mona and me as we leave. She is waving and smiling, holding onto to us until we disappear from sight. I also see myself saying good bye to her after a visit to Willow Towers. I would hold her face in my hands and kiss her and tell her I loved her. And like Bill, her last words to me each time were, “I adore you.” Even then I grabbed those words and held them close. I saved every one of them in my heart so that I could go there whenever I missed her. 

But the last memory I have of her is the greatest gift of all. We are lying on her bed together and I am holding her in my arms. She isn’t breathing anymore but she is still warm, still my mom. Time is standing still for a few more moments as I tell her how much I love her one final time. And this time I get to say, “I adore you” to her.

Part one: a soft good-bye at bedside

About Joan

Joan BerlandJoan Berland lives in a 150 year old farmhouse near Rhinebeck, NY with her husband of 23 years. In addition to being a great traveler, for over three decades Joan was an elementary school teacher. Her experiences in the classroom lead her to pursue a deeper connection to life and to the dream of a new paradigm for human relatedness. It is this dream of a new paradigm that allows her to be so open and loving as her mother’s life comes to an end. 

Feel free to share your thoughts


comments powered by Disqus