My mother died two weeks ago. She had a heart condition, and at the end of June she went into the hospital for valve replacement surgery and didn't come out.
These are the words that I spoke at her memorial.
Not everyone loved my mother.
The cashier at Wal-Mart didn’t.
She bought a magazine, then remembered something else she wanted and went right back to the front of the line.
The nurse at her doctor’s office asked my mother's doctor a question when my mother left. “Why was that woman mad at you?”
My mother got mad at me once for putting a supermarket cart back in the rack.
“What are you doing that for?” She said.
“Because my mother taught me to put things back.” I replied.
“No, she didn’t.” She said.
My mother gave me a tip about dating, that she said she got from her mother.
“Go out with anyone who asks you, because you never know who their friends are.”
My mother took us to get library cards the moment we moved into our house.
She went to the library every week and would get at least a dozen books.
She'd have to take at least four of them back because she’d already read them.
My mother grew up on a farm, and she hated home-made things.
Books were the best gifts, so we got her a club card from Barnes and Noble.
We loved her. Anyone who spent time with her remembered her, and they appreciated her. Some of the things people have told us over the past few days have included these words: wonderful, infectious laughter, voracious reading, quick wit, proud of her family,
interesting subject for a biography.
My mother loved Judge Judy, and Solitaire and Free Cell. She loved pictures of flowers, yellow roses, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
She loved her family, and raised us in a way that helped us to be who we are, independent and self-sufficient.
One day as we watched Oprah talking to a mother and daughter having problems, my mother said she didn’t understand why the mother would spend all of her time obsessing about and interfering in her daughter’s life.
I told her, “Well, you could be like that mother, but then you’d have to put down your book and get up off the couch.”
Then my mother laughed, her loud laugh, and admitted that I was probably right.