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My last gift to Mom...VERY long--be warned


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This is what I read at Mom's funeral and then at the memorial service at the school:

"In the Catholic Church, we see each Mass as a celebration. A celebration of the Eucharist, a celebration of coming together as a family, a celebration of beliefs. This Mass is no exception. We are here today to truly celebrate the life of my Mom, Beverly . Our first reading today reminds us there is a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. There will be plenty of time to mourn Mom later. Today we celebrate her life.

The musical Rent asks the question, “How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?” How do we measure Mom’s life? You can measure life in the hardships a person has overcome—Mom certainly has done that. She battled health issues for over 30 years, she attended far too many funerals of loved ones, and after Dad died, when she was just my age, she raised three children alone. Just putting up with my brothers was hardship enough, believe me! But to measure Mom’s life through tragedy would be to cheat the memory of who she really was to so many of us.

I think if we measured Mom’s life through laughter, you’d see a better picture of her there. Think of the times you laughed with—or at—Mom. She was fine with either. Her beloved Ghetto Girls, the Church Ladies of our youth laugh over Bev’s devotion to sports—particularly OSU baseball. Mom would leave social functions, yelling on her way out the door, “Gotta go—the game’s on.” She even went so far as to drive her family in the direction of the only radio station in the area playing a regionals game one night. We sat in a Wendy’s parking lot in Tahlequah listening to the game. Thankfully, OSU won that game, or it would have been a long ride home.

And what memories could you share? Perhaps the Caney Carliles would laugh at the young woman and her equally naïve husband, who thought it was “fun” to take all 7 young siblings into their one-bedroom apartment for the weekend. I know their parents laughed over that!

Our friends could laugh at the image of Bev, the Hostess Hurler. When we brought high school friends to our house for the first time, Mom would stand at the door of our pantry and ask politely, “Anyone want a Ho-Ho?” If anyone did, she would fire said snack cake at them, from where she stood. She had a groundbreaking view of what was required of a hostess. Her rule was, the first two times you visited, you were a guest and she would wait on you (or throw Twinkies at you)…after that, you were Family, and you were on your own to get your own drinks or snacks. Personally, I think she hated wasting her arm on someone who knew what was coming.

Her cadre of Cafeteria Ladies at St. Elizabeth’s school could laugh at “Bev the Rebel” sneaking seconds or desserts to polite children who may not have finished ALL of their salad, but asked so sweetly she couldn’t or wouldn’t refuse them. Chris recently confessed that she taught some of them how to move their food around, so it looked like they had “tried it.” Her grandchildren laugh at the image of her yelling answers at her TV while watching game show favorites like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, or force-feeding them more Kool-Aid Jammers so she could make her famous bags. I laugh when I remember Mom trying to teach me some moves for a 50s dance I was attending during high school. She put her 45 of “Rockin’ Robin” on the stereo at the house, and danced in the living room yelling, “More hips! More hips!” at my sophomoric attempts to dance like her.

On Wednesday the hospice nurse said to Wiley, Scott and me, “I haven’t had a chance to get to know your mother really well. Tell me a story about her.” Tell just one? It wasn’t that we didn’t know where to start, but had a hard time knowing when to stop. Mom jumping out of her car in the parking lot and shaking her bony little fist yelling vehemently, “Oh, just blow it off!” when a man infuriated her by stealing her parking spot. It was the worst thing she could think to stay on the spot. This is the woman who could play a mean game of four square, was a ping pong wizard, and was even known to strap on a pair of roller skates and jaunt all over River Parks in Tulsa with her kids…sometimes taking out her youngest son rather than fall herself, but she just explained to him, “Better you than me!”

The musical Rent answers its own question on how to measure the life of a person. The conclusion? Measure it in love. Mom was loved. Mom showed us how to love. Above all things, she loved her faith, her family, and her friends. She had a tremendous love of God and the Church that helped her throughout her life. She loved her family and friends fiercely, and God help you if she ever thought you had slighted them. Today we celebrate that love, that life, and that laughter. I pray that today you will share your stories of laughter in the life of Beverly today. Share them with each other, share them with her grandchildren—share them with me. No music or song could usher Mom into heaven more appropriately than the sound of your laughter."

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I have followed you and your Mom since I joined this site and I am so grateful that you took the time to share this with us. What a beautiful tribute to an incredible woman.

Sending love and prayers to you and your family,


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I now feel that I really did "know" your Mom. What a wonderful, funny, incredible woman - Did you read that yourself at the funeral? Tremedous courage and strength on your part, maybe you inherited that from someone???? Much Love, Sharon

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Yeah, I read it.

Right now, doing the "big things" (like reading at her funeral, etc.) is easier for me than the little things (checking email during work--she used to send me several messages a day about routine things--now they are gone). I know I'll always miss her, but I know she gives me strength.


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How incredibly touching a tribute to a wonderful mother!! I smiled and laughed my way through reading that, remembering some of the same types of things that my own mother used to do. Instead of hurling snack cakes at people, though, we would sometimes throw the plates across the room as we set the table! LOL And "toss me a roll, please" was often taken in the literal sense!

I completely understand about the big things being a bit easier to handle right now.

I'm walking with you, right beside you...Feel me. We'll share strength and hope and the love of our Mom's and we'll make it through the little things, too.

Much love,


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