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A New Loss

26 Aug

I am finally finding time to write, but must interrupt the regular format of my posts with sadness as our family has lost one of its great matriarchs. I use this word with purpose, especially after reading this definition: “A highly respected woman who is a mother” (“Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, 2000. Web). My husband’s Aunt Helen became my aunt from our first family event. She epitomized the “Other Mothers” I am grateful to have had; as I wrote in my post, https://iwishmymom.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/other-mothers/.  Even one week before she succumbed to non-smoker’s lung cancer at age 86, she shared her wisdom and positive spin with me. While I think I was one of her biggest fans, I realize that her entire family and her friends tie for first place in that category. She was also a fan of each of us, always interested in and supportive of our endeavors. I appreciated her subscription to this blog. She read it and commented to me as an “other mother” and as a regular reader.   I am glad that she and my mom had the chance to meet. My mom, being a great judge of character, immediately liked her. Her daughters, son, grandchildren, brother and all of us nieces, nephews and cousins have been inspired by her and will miss her greatly.  As Aunt Helen, generous and selfless, would have wanted, we are not dwelling on our loss.  She would be glad to know we celebrate her and carry on with strength and optimism.

Just a few weeks later, I watched a dear friend, my husband’s stepmother, grieve as her mother passed away.  She had the great fortune to enjoy a very long and wonderful relationship with her mom who died at age 92. Yet, losing your mom, at any age, is so difficult.

I have actually debated (with myself, in my head), if I would find losing my mom harder had she lived longer. As silly as it sounds, I think maybe I’d be even more spoiled, more used to having her around. I might not have learned to make certain decisions (right or wrong….) on my own.  I would have become more dependent on her advice, help, etc. I wonder, would the adjustment to life as a motherless daughter and parent, be more difficult if my mom had lived another 20 years? So, when a relative or friend experiences this loss, I sometimes think, “Oh she has it so much harder than I did.”  And, then, I almost get angry with myself as I realize that A. I had it really hard. When my mom died, I was filled with agony. I could  not have imagined a more painful period of time. My adjustment was not easier than anyone else’s.  B. What I would have done or would still do to have been granted more time with mom. It would have been wonderful to share even one more day with her. And C. It’s all so personal, unique and unpredictable. We cannot measure the suffering we experience when our mother dies. No one’s is easier, better, harder.

It just is.

Another Celebrity Inspiration: Clive Davis’s tribute to his mom as he eulogizes Whitney Houston

20 Feb

I must first admit that I was glued to the television yesterday to watch Whitney Houston’s funeral. For the past 8 days, many people, famous and not, have praised her voice and her songs.  Ever since she entered the music world, when she and I were both 16, I have been entranced. I was more obsessed with following her funeral than with many other celebrities who have died. Perhaps it’s because we share our age and New Jersey that I am particularly intrigued by her. I thought it was really neat that we were pregnant around the same time and years later her daughter attended the same day camp as many children from my area. I love the story one friend told about Whitney following the camp bus to make sure her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was okay.

While watching and listening to the songs and speeches during the funeral, I thought of Whitney’s daughter and mother. And, then, Clive Davis gave a speech filled with deep understanding. I was struck when this older, very famous, successful and powerful man spoke about his mom dying at the age of 47, when he was a teenager. He said, “I’ve felt my mother’s guidance and she’s helped me throughout my life.” He told the audience and emphasized to Whitney’s daughter that his mom is always with him even to “this very day.” In sharing his personal history, he comforted Bobbi Kristina in a warm and endearing way. This motherless son expressed exactly how I feel as a motherless daughter.

It is a tribute to incredible parents that they can continue to guide us after they have died. Instead of letting anger or defeat get in the way, Clive Davis, a destitute orphan, found his mother’s voice inside of him. Without parental support, he attended NYU and Harvard Law School on full scholarships. He spoke about being a father figure to Whitney and, after reading about him, it seems like he has taken that role with many artists.

During this eulogy, he spoke directly to Whitney’s daughter advising her to always be proud of her mother.. He told her to remember that “She’ll forever be looking after you and will never let go of your hand.”

I love that thought—that even after your mom has died, she will hold your hand. That, in essence, is what I feel and why I write this blog. I am grateful to have had an incredible mother who, I feel every day, is looking after me. I hope that you feel the same or can create that feeling with someone in your life.

 

Citations:

“Clive Davis Biography – Facts, Birthday, Life Story – Biography.com.” Famous Biographies & TV Shows – Biography.com. 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2012. http://www.biography.com/people/clive-davis-20740991.

“Whitney’s “raising the Roof” in Heaven, Clive Davis Says – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News.”Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News – CBS News. 18 Feb. 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2012. http://www.cbsnews.com.