My mom passed away 19 days ago and I wanted to share my mom’s eulogy here. It’s the story of Wendy, the story of her and God. And it’s a good, good story. And I wanted to share it today.
Oh Today, a day of pain and anger, after many days of pain and anger, filling my newsfeeds, justified anger, 100’s of years of anger and shame and sadness. Maybe even a day where we clearly saw into the many millennia of hurt that we have done and still do to each other. A day where, even if we are far removed from any of what has happened, we can not just keep going on with our good lives without something at the back of our minds saying – this is not good news…..where is the Good News….this, none of it, is it. A day where we have to acknowledge our very real positions of privilege that we, each of us, have in reference to someone else. A day of so, so many words and no one knows if they will help.
A day where it is good and right to celebrate the goodness of our ordinary lives and it is good and right to acknowledge our points of blindness as we go about our ordinary business. A day where it is good and right to start change where change is needed. And it is needed. (I found this to be good to read. Read or better listen to these words and the response to them. )
We will never any of us do this perfectly. The only thing we can do is listen, listen, listen to real, real, real people. Over and over.
Listen to my momma. The process of writing a mom’s story, for the reason of her memorial, is one that a daughter pays attention to. And she speaks to me in all of it. Her life mapped out in real, alive detail. Her life, where the love we all desperately want to advocate for today, is what she knew and what she leaves us. And she came to know this love only through the real work of choosing face-to-face welcome, face-to-face compassion, face-to-face reconciliation and all that comes from letting go because she knew herself to be loved. I am just continually struck by how hard a work love is, how hard making love, creating love, in this world is – hard because it will take everything out of us to choose to stand down and hear the other person right in front of us. It will lose us our life. And then I am continually struck by how the fruit that comes from THAT PLACE of conciliation is the fruit of God’s good world – that is the good news I need to hear today.
As I wrote the above paragraph, getting ready to share this eulogy, my 4 year old daughter made friends with a sweet, bespectacled four year old boy here at the play place we are at. His hair is a different colour than hers; her skin is a different colour than his. And they are running around playing tigers. She has come up to me multiple times to tell me how much fun she is having with her friend. He told me his name was Ahmed. I passed by his mother’s table and just smiled and said how much fun my daughter was having with her son. And she smiled and said she liked watching them. And then she invited me to sit with her, her table was big. And there was this strange longing that I think we both had. A longing to know that the bewildering darkness of news websites and instagram comments was not the last word, a longing to know that this real life connection we were choosing was indeed the truth of the world. A longing to make a new friend. And we just talked. We spoke of raising kids, good husbands who worked long hours, grandparents – and I mentioned that my mom passed away two weeks ago. And she looked at me and cried with me. And we talked about how to help kids through grief. She talked about how she missed her mom so desperately sometimes on the other side of the world. We talked about how we felt lonely sometimes. And she eventually got up to take her boys home for naps. She hugged me – the hug of someone who has known you for a long time. A fortifying hug. A welcoming hug. She told me that my mom’s prayers for my girls are still at work and would always be. She told me she would pray for peace for me. I told her that she was an answer to prayer today. And I cried. And so did she.
God always is at His work. No matter the dark – dark is as light to him because he is always at work within it, always renewing, reconciling, bringing into unity. And He does not change because of the dark. I see this in mom and her life of growing into wholeness and I saw this in the way-too-loud play place.
And I have to see it in the chaos of my home of growing humans. And I have to see it in the big, big waves roiling around my own heart.
And where I see it, where we see it, this always-upon-us work, we have to tell of it – as witnesses and participants in this good news. And call upon the darkness to move aside, to be still, in the way that only those who have been most buried can tell us needs to happen. She who has ears to hear…..
I WILL write my mom’s eulogy here. Tomorrow. It is something that I want everyone who knew her to read. But today I will sit with this gift of God in a tiring, bewildering, heartbreaking day.
Hala, my new friend’s name is Hala and she was a messenger of peace and it was good.
oh my Jacqui, thank you for this “good news” in the midst of your deepest pain. I’m trusting with you, that somehow your momma will continue to help you do the hard work of Love. Almost daily, I sense a deep wisdom … words she might speak into my life these days if she were here. I miss my dear friend Wendy! I can only imagine your ache Jacqui.
Your mom would be delighted to hear about yours and her granddaughter’s encounter today …. she would love this “good story”!!
Thank you for this Cherie. I am trying to find where her wisdom would be. I really really appreciate your words.