Grave thoughts

My cousin’s  husband died a few days ago of heart failure, at 70, and his two children gave the eulogies at the funeral service. Both his son, a film editor, and his daughter, an assistant principal, recounted anecdotes that typified their dad’s take-charge, no-nonsense attitude. They laughed, they cried and they embraced each other. Their dad came alive through their passionate, personal, honest and articulate eulogies. They conveyed intense love, respect and, most important,  understanding.

Jamie Lee Curtis after she gave the eulogy at her dad's funeral in 2010

Watching and listening to these two adult children as they stood before their dad’s flag-draped coffin (he served in Viet Nam in the sixties), I could almost visualize my own two children standing above my coffin (actually urn, since I’d prefer cremation.) Would they reveal that they really “got” me and appreciated my essence? Would they say I made an impact on their lives that they will never forget? Would they know how much I loved and respected them, even if I didn’t always show it the way they would have preferred?

I hope so.

P.S.  When FOF Jamie Lee Curtis delivered the eulogy at her  father Tony’s funeral, she described him as, “a little mashugana” — Yiddish for crazy — but always full of life.”All of us got something from him. I, of course, got his desperate need for attention,” she joked.

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6 Responses to “Grave thoughts”

  1. Penelope More says:

    Very sad situation but yes, not so unusual. I notice that mothers are held to a tougher standard than fathers and are frequently blamed when it is primarily the father who transgressed.
    I was not close to my mother. I found her cold and critical but I figured I’d be a dutiful daughter anyway even if I couldn’t muster much warmth. When she passed, I only felt relief and some pride in doing my best in a tough situation. No more need to make dutiful Sunday phone calls with a knot in my stomach waiting for the next nasty comment.
    I was not a perfect mother if there is such a thing, but thankfully my grown children seem to have gotten over my shortcomings and we genuinely enjoy each others company. Yes, I realize that is such a blessing. As I grow older I want to remember to be good company, to listen more, advise less and laugh as much as possible.

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  2. sharon Segal says:

    Hi from Long Beach on this very hot day. How sad not to have contact with a parent. How lucky my close friends are with their children and grandchildren. Grow up, life is too short and when ones parents are gone its too late to make up ! It takes to TANGO !

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  3. Norma Byrd says:

    My comment will probably shock a lot of mothers. My son and daughter decided several years ago that they would prefer to live their lives without me and I have had no contact with them since. No explanation, other than that they “had an unhappy childhood” because their father was emotionally abusive. He was, to all of us. But I’ve forgiven him because I know he was not an intentionally mean person. They apparently have never come to terms with the fact that I didn’t have the know-how or guts to leave him while they were small, however they do still see him now, as far as I know.

    Do I try to reconcile with them? No. Why would I put myself in the position of being rejected yet again? Do I regret their rejection? Of course. I have been stripped of one of the main reasons for existing—being a parent. Have I let it ruin my life and affect my day-to-day happiness? Never. I feel I have to keep moving on and it’s as much their loss as mine.

    Interestingly, in the seniors complex where I live I’ve leaned this is not an uncommon thing, and people handle it in different ways. To all mothers who still have the love and understanding of their children, please be aware of how fortunate you are! To those who do not—know that you are not some kind of freak, and you are not alone.

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    • Blue Bear says:

      I always maintain that nobody knows what a marriage is like when a couple closes their bedroom door. Your children have judged you and you’ve chosen to let them do so and live your life. I see nothing whatsoever wrong with your decision. I am a huge believer in karma. When they are your age, they will realize that a marriage isn’t as simple as they believed it would be. People stay in marriages for a variety of reasons, e.g. economics, the children, their religion, etc. You loved this man and you saw his faults and his virtues through a different lens than these children did. The fact that they see him now after judging you for putting up with his emotional abuse and then saying they had a bad childhood because of it is very indicative of children who are spoiled brats and immature. You are in an untenable situation and this impasse is not only your loss but your children’s loss as well. Peace and happiness to you!

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      • Becky says:

        I am sorry this person’s children don’t associate with her. My mother passed away about a year and a half ago. I had not spoken to her for many years and while I am sad at anyone’s passing, her death had little to no effect on my life. She was indifferent to me during my child hood but what was unforgivable was her knowing one of my brothers tried to molest me many times and she did nothing to stop it. I was petrified and didn’t know what to do. Toward the end my aunt, her sister, told me she loved me. I told her she may feel that way but a mother wouldn’t allow anything like that to continue to occur if she truly cared.
        So, the door swings both ways. Mayhap the children won’t speak to their mother not because of what happened but of the feelings and memories associating with her (and/or him) bring up. Cut them a break. You never know what the other person’s reason really are.

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  4. Susan says:

    A little sobering, but good to ponder. Awhile back I saw something on the web which was a questionnaire for your parents; what they thought of the experience of having a family, what they would do differently, regrets, joys, etc. I sent it to my mother and had her fill it out. Now I have to find it and fill it out myself, for my kids. Contemplation of your effect on the ones you love is a good thing…………….

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