Yesterday I did the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I had the honor of speaking at my mother's celebration of life. I've spoken to crowds, given lectures, taught lessons and more in the past. But this was so much more. It was heart wrenching and the hardest thing I have ever done, because it meant that my mother was gone from her earthly body. Going into yesterday, I wasn't sure I would be able to do it. I wasn't sure I would be able to get the words out in a clear and coherent manner. But when I walked up to that stage, I felt her with me more than ever before. I felt her strength and her love and her encouragement and with her right beside me, as if she was somehow within me as I spoke.
This is what I had written to say- it's not exact, I was able to add even more... but it is close.
Thank you Mom for helping me get through this. Thank you for teaching me to be strong, to be passionate and creative, loving and bold. Without you, I am nothing. And because I have you, I know I am everything I need to be.
I would like to begin by reading a native American prayer. My mother loved the native American culture and I remember seeing this once in her things when I was younger. It has been a comforting thought to me and one that at one point in her life meant something to her.
I give you this one thought to keep -
I am with you still - I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush,
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone -
I am with you still in each new dawn.
I was blessed to be born to the most amazing mother. I spent thirty one years trying to tell her in various ways what she meant to me. How much I loved her, how grateful I was that she was my mother, how much she taught me, inspired me, encouraged me and loved me. After we got the call that she had passed, my husband said something to me that hit me to core and stuck with me. He talked about how comforting she was and how she always made him feel so safe. And he was right. And I still feel her comfort and her safety today and know that I always will.
She taught me more than I could ever sum up in words that still, especially now, do justice to the truth. There are two key lessons that I would to share today.
She taught me to tell and to show the people that I love that I love them. Growing up my brother and I never went a day without hugs and kisses and the words "I love you" being said to us. She never let a phone conversation end without those three important words. She never sent a note, card or letter without them and never left a message without those being the last words she spoke. Even now I can hear her tell me she loves me from the voice messages that are saved and treasured. Because I knew I was loved from the minute I was born it was instilled in me to do the same for the ones that I love and hold dear.
My mother also taught me to be an active, passionate dreamer. That it was never too late to achieve your dreams and continue to dream new ones. She lead by pure example in this with her life, her education, her career and her unending determination and drive to reach her goals and live her dreams. She was working for, striving for and achieving those dreams until the end. I am grateful for the example that she set for me, for her granddaughters and everyone who was blessed enough to know her. I look out in this room and can see the impact that she had on so many people and it makes me swell with pride and the honor of having her for a mother. Especially her students, past and present. I see you and I can see the impact that she had and cannot tell you how blessed you have been and how blessed she felt to have been able to teach you. Rarely a phone conservation passed where she did not tell me about her class and her students and how much she loved watching you grow and learn.
Being Linda Ansick's daughter is my honor. For she was not simply my mother. She was my best friend. She was my soft spot to land when I needed one. She was my teacher, my mentor and my example of what I wanted to be and everything that I could be. She was the encouraging words and the swift kick in the rear when I needed one. And perhaps the most cherished role she was to me was the role of grandma to our two daughters Roslyn and Vivienne. When I look at Roslyn I see so much of my mother in her. In her strength, her drive to do the best and the most that she can, her wit and her wisdom beyond her years. To look into the face of Vivienne is to look into the beautiful face of my mother as a child with those eyes so full of wonder for everything around her, wanting to learn everything that she can. When I think of my mother, I'll forever see her smiling and holding her grand babies, with a joy that I'm convinced only a grandma truly knows.
I could go on forever talking about my mom, and it would never be enough. To put it simply, she was and will always be my hero.
Khalil Gibran said:
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
Thank you for being my sheer and abundant delight mom. I love you.