Sunday, October 19, 2014
Eulogy for Mom--Demetra Leonora Allender, May 28th, 1939-October 12th, 2014.
So it ends. The life of the person who birthed me into this world, the person whose life I fought to save, for the past 17 months, has left this world. I must write the Eulogy for Mom, for her funeral, very soon. I've already written background-info for the priest (she's having a Roman Catholic Funeral). I've listed who she is "survived-by", and written a brief bio for the funeral home which handled her cremation, because they are posting that info, as well as announcements of the arrangements, etc., on their website for us. And now? The Eulogy.... How do I begin to describe Mom? Well, she was gorgeous: a dark-haired, doe-eyed Greek beauty, with olive skin and defiant, curly black hair. Hair she often despised, as she found it "unmanageable". I'd say her hair was like Mom: untamed, and un-tame-able, Mom lived her life by her own rules. She exited childhood and leapt quickly into marriage, a marriage that although it didn't last forever, lasted a good long while, a marriage that even Mom would later say was "a good, strong marriage". A marriage that provided her with two daughters who adored her. Mom was not afraid of hard work, or getting sweaty, or dirty. Her love of the gym, running, jogging, bicycling, and gardening, all delightful for her. In a word, "Work-out" describes Mom, because in addition to the obvious act of working-out, Mom gave us all a mental-workout, as she was always up-to-date on world events, and politics. She loved all things CNN, and MSNBC. Lived for Anderson Cooper, and Chris Matthews. "Meet the Press", and "Face the Nation". Mom was active in campaigning, too. I asked my sister, Tina, if she could name one word to describe Mom, what word would she use, and she immediately said: "forgiving", and, 'sacrifice', because she made sure we always had everything we needed..." Tina's correct. Mom's forgiving heart meant we could come to her, even if we'd made a mistake--unafraid, knowing we would be unconditionally LOVED...and her total commitment to providing for others may well have been her biggest flaw, in that she often neglected her own needs, choosing to help her family, no matter the cost. And Mom welcomed us with her faith, always. For me, a person who for decades did not have a sense of God, her patience and example of selflessness deeply affected me. Eventually, I returned to the Church, and Mom, then-employed by The Jewish Center in Dunwoody, Georgia, as I discussed my flourishing curiosity about all things spiritual, remarked "You know, Lisa, if I weren't Catholic, I'd be Jewish...I love the rituals, the food, and you know, Jesus was Jewish..." Shortly after Mom was diagnosed, she said her faith was strong, but she wondered if it was 'strong enough". I saw her whip through day after day, week after week, month after month, of Radiation Therapy, and the bi-monthly Chemotherapy, and the attendant acupuncture to improve her balance, the physical therapy to help her walk a bit, the extra supplements she had to swallow, often painfully, and I saw a woman, undeterred, determined, and brave. We attended Mass together, in Newnan. We saw Mom get stellar results from her treatments that as her physicians stated, "only 1% of cancer patients receive." And when times got tougher, she was able to find joy even in the darkest of moments, by painting, or attending a drum-circle session, playing Bingo, or enjoying gelato. One day when Mom was especially tired, the Chaplain at CTCA, Newnan, came by and left a book for us, outside our door. Knowing Mom needed her rest, I brought the book, entitled "Jesus Calling" inside, setting it on a table out of her sight, as she was already falling asleep. When she asked "Who was that?" I answered simply, "Why, it was Chaplain Lawanda, she brought "Jesus Calling". "Well, tell him I'm not ready", was her curt reply. Such was Mom. Inclusive, loving, always-quick-witted, and always there for us. Sunday before last, Mom was ready, and I watched her fly away to a place of peace. We Love You, Mom.