Tag Archives: eulogy

Aunt DoDo

extended family

This week our family lost a very special person. Aunt Shirley, (DoDo) passed away on Wednesday.  Aunt Do, as I liked to call her, was 92 years old. She lived a long, happy life surrounded by the people she loved.

At her funeral on Friday, several of my “cousins” and family members spoke.  I wrote cousins in quotes deliberately because everyone who spoke about Aunt Do, said the same thing….. It didn’t matter how you were related to her, because in her eyes, you were her family. Do Do had no children of her own.  She had five sisters, who all passed away before her. Their children were her nephews and nieces.  Those nephews and nieces married, bringing in even more family members….and then they had their own children… creating more cousins, nephews and nieces…..and all of us – whether related to her by blood or not, were her relatives and no matter how you fit into this “family puzzle,” she treated you as if you were her favorite.

As she was eulogized that afternoon, every person who was there mentioned that the special treatment was just for them all the while knowing that she treated everyone of us in that same special way.

My relationship to Aunt Do is quite “far removed.” My father’s brother is married to DoDo’s niece Dale. No direct bloodline there for me. Dale’s cousin Sandy, was married to Libby. They had children and those children and I consider ourselves cousins.  Again….not related by any direct bloodlines, but connected by love and the strength of our huge extended family.  Add the husbands and kids and we get even further removed but my boys adored her and just knew her as their aunt.

That was just DoDo’s way. She had a knack for making you feel like you were the most special person in the room. When she made cookies, she hide a special can “just for me” – all the while having “secret” cans for just about everyone at the party, telling everyone the same thing. We were all special to her and she let you know it.

She loved family gatherings and she must be beaming up there in heaven right now because that love, that she helped to create has created so much more than just a family, but a family who are also friends and she was one of the dearest friends to all of us.

My Aunt Dale told me that the night before she died, she was laying in her bed and calling out the names “Al” and “Ellie” over and over again.  Al was her husband who died when I was only two years old.  Ellie was my mom. That gave me so much comfort knowing that she was looking for her loved ones to help her move on.  There were definitely no shortage of loved ones there waiting for her and I am sure she was welcomed with open arms.

Love you Aunt Do.  Give my mom a kiss from me.



It is Friday.  Another Five Minute Friday blogging day. A good day for a five minute blog because it is one of those busy days we all have now and then, and I am not sure when I will find the time to sit and write today if I don’t do it now.

Today’s word is CROWD:

Growing up, I was petrified to speak in front of large crowds.  I took everything in  me to just stand up in class and read aloud to the rest of them. My teachers would prompt and plead with me to “speak up” and raise my hand more.  It was always written as a comment on my report cards.  It lasted through college.  Presentations were so difficult.  It took all I could muster to just get up in front of all of them.

Many people who know me now, might be surprised to hear this, because today, I am quite different.  Although I might feel butterflies right before I have to speak in front of a large crowd, I actually have begun to enjoy it.  Maybe it is nearly twenty years of practice in front of a classroom.  Although, an audience of children is far less intimidating than one of my peers…most of the time!!

I had assumed that getting up to speak at my mother’s funeral as I read her eulogy was going to be nearly impossible for me.  Yet, as I stood in front a packed church in front of hundreds of mourners, I saw faces, filled with compassion and all of those fears left me.   I actually made it through the whole thing without my nerves getting the best of me.  When my voice began breaking towards the end, it wasn’t because of nerves, but because of the incredible love that was radiating through the church.  I know that my mom would have been proud.

Another Eulogy


Today, I gave a short eulogy for my sister-in-law at the cemetery.  I am sharing it here.

 We have gathered here together to offer our support to Francine’s family and friends who cannot believe she is gone. We gather for Tim and her parents, and for all of our family members.

 For those of you who do not know me, I am Timmy’s sister Claire.  Our families want to extend their gratitude to all of you who came here today and have supported us through this extremely difficult time.

 There is never a convenient time for any of us to die.  Sadly, our lives have been touched by death twice this month and how do we make sense of it?  How do we deal with it when a person’s life cut short?  We are all grieving and trying to figure out why Francine had to leave us so soon.

 Francine was not afraid of death.  She dealt with it on a daily basis while working part time in the funeral home while she finished her schooling to become a mortician.  This was her dream.  Perhaps when you regularly deal with death, there is not much about it that will faze you.   She talked openly about it to her family and friends and I can only hope that this will bring them all comfort.

 If you live in this area, you probably noticed the wicked thunderstorm that we had on Wednesday night.  The storm began with an enormous black cloud rolling in.  We did not see in the hospital, but many people saw it and it was so ominous, they remarked about it.  An enormous thunderclap shook the windows of the hospital right at the time Francine died.  There was no way to not have noticed it.  We remarked that it was a sign from Francine, letting us know that she had arrived.  Francine liked to make an entrance and perhaps this was her way of letting us know that she was crashing  through the gates of heaven.  The storm went on for quite awhile and several hours later, as we all left the hospital, the rain and thunder were over but the most beautiful lightening was filling the sky.  Every single one of us thought of Francine.

Francine and Tim had just found out that she was pregnant- it was very early into the pregnancy. They knew that it was much too early to tell anyone yet, so they had not shared the news yet.  They were waiting to get results of their first ultrasound before announcing it.

Only my mom and Francine’s mom knew that they had been going for fertility treatments.  Although my mom died before they got pregnant, I know that Tim found comfort in the fact that she knew how hard they were trying.

Sunday would have been their 6-year anniversary. They should be celebrating what should have been the happiest time in their lives with this new addition to their family.  Tim should not be spending it burying his wife.

I realize that death will leaves behind scars that don’t seem to fade, but when a death is unexpected, it just seems so much more painful.  For our family, two deaths so close together also seems unfathomable.   It will take a long time to recover, especially for Tim.  It seems so very cruel.  We can only hope that there truly is a reason for everything and that God has bigger plans for all of us.

The Eulogy

we don't lose loved ones

I got through almost the whole eulogy until the end.  That is when I cried.  I was able to read all of it except the quote at the end.

This was the eulogy:

Good morning,

My family and I want to thank all of you for being here today to celebrate our mom.  We always knew what an amazing, generous and kind woman she was, and this last week, the outpouring of love and support has proven this to be true.  Thousands, (and that is not an exaggeration), of emails, texts, calls and messages have come to us.  The lines at her wake were so long, at times, they were out the door.

I want you all to know that I read all of your emails and postings to her.  I don’t know if she could hear me but if she could, I know that she would have been humbled at this outpouring.  She was never one to put herself before others and knowing that all of these people, some who don’t even know her, were out there praying and thinking of her would have moved her to tears.

I honestly do not know how I can adequately describe our mom with words.  She lived her life in the most positive way.  She saw the good in everything and encouraged others to do the same. Her actions and the incredible example that she showed her children and grandchildren are behaviors that should be emulated by all of us.  She was a true role model.  A person who possessed qualities we should all try to imitate.

My mother cared deeply for everyone she knew, whether you were her family, friend or a member of the community.  She was always willing to help out someone in need.  She had the kindest heart of anyone we knew. Her house was always filled with friends and family.  All of our friends called her “mom”, because she was like a mom to everyone.  Friends lived at our house, (usually invited by her), and they were always treated as if they were one of her own….even if that meant pulling out the spatula or wooden spoon when they misbehaved.  Our good friend Kenny, even told my dad that he thinks his grades went up when he started spending so much time at our house because of the “no homework, then no play “rule she had.

She was a person so filled with light.  Everyone knew her.  Everyone loved her.  She was like an institution in Maplewood.  She’d park herself outside on the bench in front of The Maplewood Stationers and talk to every person and dog that walked by – especially during “duck season”.  For those of you who don’t know, she was known around town as “the Duck Lady” because she organized the annual rubber duck race every year.

She was a generous, loving, supportive and unselfish woman who always put other people before herself.  She was charitable, giving, considerate and kind.  She was always involved in something. The YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4th of July celebrations, Galas here at OLS, Kiwanis, The Twigs of Overlook…the list could go on and on.

We joked that she should run for mayor because she knew EVERYONE!!!  We could not go anywhere without bumping into someone that she knew.  As kids, it made us crazy but as we grew older and we saw what a positive influence she had on so many people, it was gratifying.  I have modeled my own life around this.  I know that I am the person that I am today because of her influence.

She adored her grandchildren, DJ, Drew, Gabi and Mikey, and we know that as she got sicker and sicker with her COPD, one of the reasons she fought so hard was for them.  She saw them all of the time and each one of them had a special bond and connection with her.

We will miss her with all of our hearts and will always cherish the times we spent together. She was always there when we needed her and was the most loving and caring wife, daughter-in-law, mother and grandmother. She was selfless and always put others ahead of her.  She never wanted people to go out of their way for her.  Yet, she did it all of the time for others.

She has touched the lives of so many people and even though she is gone, her memory will live on in all of our hearts forever.  Her spirit has not left us.  Everyone who was ever touched by her in his or her lifetime should have faith that she will be watching over them because that is just the kind of person she was.

She has left reminders of herself everywhere: on the bench in front of the Maplewood Stationers, in the sound of Christmas Carols, (her absolute favorite), every time we see a rubber duck and every time The Wizard of Oz comes on tv. She probably saw, (and sang along to) that movie hundreds of times.

Our mom was a remarkable woman and I doubt she ever realized how many, many people she has had an impact on in her lifetime.  Cherish the memories you have of her and honor her memory by doing good things for others.  This is how she lived her life and there is no better way of honoring her than by following her example.  Her love for all of us, all of you, is what is going to pull us all through this.  All of the many, many people that who’s lives have been touched by her should take comfort in knowing that right now, she is standing at the gates of heaven, breathing in huge breaths of air.  That is what is getting me through this.  Knowing that she can finally breathe on her own. It makes me so happy for her, even though I am so sad for us.

So I leave you with a quote from The Wizard of Oz…

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others”.

My family and I thank you for being here today.

The Eulogy

mother story

Today was the first day since my mom went into the hospital, that I actually had nothing to do.  Since the day she went into the hospital 10 days ago, I have kept myself busy.  Whether it was visiting with her in the hospital, or making arrangements after she died, I have not had a day to actually just do nothing. I decided that I would finalize her eulogy.

When I realized that my mom was not going to wake up, (and I think I was the first one to actually grasp that), I started to write her eulogy.  Perhaps that was morbid or premature, but it helped me get through the most emotional time of my life.  After she died, I asked my dad if I could read the eulogy at the funeral.  He knew that I had been chronicling her illness all week in my blog and said that I could.

Writing and delivering the eulogy will help us all remember my mom – who she was, what she did and what she enjoyed about life.  My words will remind us of happy  memories, anecdotes and stories that made us smile. which is something she loved to do. I hope to bring back happy memories of her.  She had a booming laugh, and before she got so ill with COPD, she was such a social person.  She was the life of the party.

I think that the most difficult part of writing and presenting her eulogy will be the emotional aspect.  Throughout this entire time, I have really been able to hold it together.  Not just for my kids, my family and for my dad, but for myself.  When I write my  blog, I cry every time.  It is a release for me.  The same thing happens when I read some of the sentimental emails, Facebook messages and texts that I have received.  I cry.  So as I was writing the eulogy, I laughed remembering so many happy times, but still I cried.  My fear at the funeral is not crying in front of everyone.  My fear is that if I start, I might not be able to stop.