Yesterday, we laid my mother to rest. It was a nice service that she would have appreciated. I was really concerned about the impact of the last few days would be on Mason. He has had to process a lot this summer for a 9-year old. He has been a champ! I had the privilege of delivering the eulogy at my mother's funeral. As I was preparing, Mason wanted to add some words. He has shown wisdom beyond his years. In order to preserve this history for Mason, I am including the eulogy below. Mason's section is italicized.
We head back to Atlanta today, as I have more doctor's appointments Friday and next week. I will post more on our cancer journey later. In the meantime, happy August 1st! It is hard to believe how fast the calendar is flying!
Margaret Harden - Eulogy 1929-2019 How do you eulogize your Mother? How do you make sure your words are adequate? The only way I know is to speak from my heart.
How do you speak about Margaret? There is so much to say. She was truly one of a kind. There will never be another like her. She had a knack for firing you up about something and then making you laugh at the same time. She was bossy and the expert on any topic, just ask her. Her favorite saying is, “well they say…..” but she never could tell us who these experts were. But she knew what they said was true….
She was born to Walter and Ollie Mae Brown. She was the oldest of four children. Because she was the oldest, she behaved more like their second mother than their sister. Her youngest brother, Roy, who happens to share the same birthday is here with us today, and he can attest to that.
Although she was technically challenged, she was an “expert” on her iPad and Facetime. In fact, she spoke to Roy, who is a youthful 86 years old, almost daily. And, She bossed him around too.
In all seriousness, she fiercely loved her family. Although she came from simple beginnings, she did not live a simple life. She endured more heartache and pain than any one person should be allowed. She was the mother of 6 children, but she had the unimaginable experience of having to bury three of her daughters all too soon. She lost her husband, my daddy, 33 years ago. My brother Rick and I marvel at her strength.
She especially loved her grandchildren. Corey and Meghan were the apples of her eye. She loved to spend time with them as they were growing up, imparting her love of collecting anything, valuable or not. As they grew up, she loved to FaceTime with them so she could see their beautiful faces. They kept her laughing; they kept her young. She loved her Granddaughters immensely and they adored her.
My son, Mason, was not born until Corey and Meghan were much older, so Mom had the privilege to experience the joy of having Grandchildren “twice”. She was 80 when Mason was born. He was her only Grandson and she adored him. I truly believe that she lived as long as she did because he was in her life. She loved that sweet boy and he loved her. My brother Rick and I are fortunate to have married Margaret approved spouses. Jackie and Jamie had the privilege of having Margaret as their mother-in-law.
Jackie has known Mom for 37 years. She has been by Rick’s side through most of my mother’s tragedy, heartache and health issues. In the end, I personally owe her a huge debt of gratitude. It is one that I will never be able to repay. During last year, Jackie or Nurse Jackie as we like to call her, took my care of my mother as if she was her own. I couldn’t have asked for a better nurse or better loving care for my mother. Jackie has a gift and was a gift to my mother.
My husband, Jamie, has known Margaret for 27 years. Although he wasn’t her nursemaid, he was her shopping buddy. They spent many black Friday’s, waking up at 3AM, to beat the rush – or join it. If Mama wanted to go shopping any time any day, she knew that Jamie would take her. He never complained. She viewed Jamie as her partner in crime. Through her life, she had may friends and family who adored her. Everyone loved Miss Margaret. She loved to be the center of attention and regale everyone with her stories of long ago. I have lost count the many times that she was told she should write a book. I do have regret for not writing down her “stories”. She had a quite a few doozy’s. She proves that Life is so much better than fiction.
Everyone knows of her extraordinary sewing skills and her love for flowers. What you may not know is that, she was a veracious reader. She was especially fond of her “cowboy romance novels”, which she would never talk about by the way.
There are so many Margaret stories to share. I will share this one. This past April 4th, she turned 90 years old. Her driver’s license had expired, so she insisted that Rick take her to the DMV to renew it. We certainly weren’t concerned that this was a possibility. Rick may have been a little aggravated, but as a good son, he took her. It’s important to know that she hadn’t driven in a year. Well, everyone should be alarmed. The DMV renewed her driver’s license! And get this, they renewed it for 8 years! She was very proud of that fact. Last night when I was reviewing this document, Mason crawled into bed with me. He asked me what I was doing. When I told him, he asked me if he could write a few words from his heart to Grandma. This is from Mason.
Grandma was a very nice person. I wish she was still here, but she is in a much better place without pain and with my Grandpa, Kimbell. She may be gone but not really, she’s still here in our hearts and in our thoughts. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
For those who may not know, I am in the midst of a cancer battle. I recently had surgery in Atlanta. Rick, Jackie, and my mom joined us in a rental house for the last few weeks preceding her death. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to be together. During that time, we all watched Forrest Gump together. Mom liked that movie, and Mason had never seen it. So now he is ending his important points with, “And that’s all I’ve got to say about that”.
Rick and I loved my mother very much and will miss her dearly. She sacrificed so much for both of us, and we know it was because she loved us. She always found a way. Her love of life and zest for living should be an inspiration to us all. I know it is for me. I love you Mom.