Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For Deb

My Mom, Susanne Fancher Doughty, died on February 28, 1998 of renal cell cancer. She was 56 years old. At her funeral service, when the pastor delivered the eulogy, she said in part:
Quite a while back I took a group of teens to see the AIDS quilt project when it was here in the Elmira area. One block in particular from that massive quilt captivated my heart. It was a procession of penguins passing beneath a rainbow. Once the pudgy little black and white penguins went through the arch of the rainbow, they were transformed. No longer plain ole' black and white, they took on the colors of the rainbow. Blue and white, orange and white, purple and white penguins waddled under a banner that said "Just passin' through." That's what Sue's life has done for so many of you during the time she was "passing through." She transformed your lives giving them color and beauty and joy.
Yesterday Deb's Mom, Marti died from ovarian cancer. And I'm certain that the same could be said of Marti, that she transformed the lives of all she touched, giving them color and beauty and joy, during the time that she was passing through.

I know first-hand some of the feelings Deb is experiencing today. Relief that it is over, that her mother is no longer suffering. Gratitude that Marti made it to her 70th birthday, which was celebrated with extended family and friends. Sorrow and grief at the loss of someone who was such an integral part of your life. Numbness as you go through the motions of final arrangements, attending a service, saying good-bye, and ultimately comforting those who are trying to comfort you. Joy as you remember the good times and celebrate the life that was, that will carry on in your heart forever.

It is a lot to feel all at once, a dizzying heady mix of emotion that ultimately leaves you wrung out and exhausted. I'm almost shocked at how easy it is to recall exactly how I felt back then, 14 years ago, how quickly all of that can rise back to the surface. Today I'm wishing for Deb grace and strength and laughter and joy.
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. ~Kahlil Gibran

15 comments:

humel said...

Cheri, this is such a lovely post. xx

debs14 said...

Beautifully said. It's so hard to lose your mum at any age, and when it happens, it's hard to believe you will ever feel ok again. I am sure that Deb's family will all pull together to help one another and in the meantime, that image of the multicoloured penguins has made me smile and give thanks to my mum, who I lost to cancer in 1997.

scrappyjacky said...

Such a heartfelt post,Cheri....so beautifully put.

furrypig said...

a really lovely post and a beautiful photo too

Sian said...

A lovely post with lots for us all to ponder. I really like that image of a loved one "Passin' through" - there's a lot of comfort in that.

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful post, and a fitting quote.

Melissa said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom & to Marti.

Karen said...

What a beautiful post, Cheri. I lost my mother when I was 20 years old---more than half a lifetime ago, but I still recall so much of what you describe here. You expressed it perfectly.

Amy said...

Cheri, I really appreciate you sharing some memories of your Mum today, I can appreciate how Marti's death would have bought these back to you.
Your post is reflective and beautiful, perfect.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Cheri,
What a beautiful post. I can't believe how hard it is to lose a parent, especially since so many of us will go through it. Thank you for sharing,
Rinda

alexa said...

A most beautifully written post, Cheri. That penguin image will stay with me. And I also recognise those feelings and how they can wash over one, all over again. I hope Deb will take comfort from your graceful words today, as I have.

Jo said...

This is such a beautiful post. My dad died 4 years ago after 12 years of suffering and you have summed up exactly how I felt at the time.

S said...

Oh what a lovely post you have written. It's such a difficult thing to lose our Mothers at any age, especially when they are relatively young. Thanks for the sharing the penquin analogy.

Alison said...

A lovely post Cheri
Alison xx

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Cheri ~ I read this post shortly after you had posted it last week, and I was so struck by the accuracy of your description of emotions I was feeling at the time (many of them are still present for me as I type). I just couldn't have articulated my thoughts so perfectly as you did at the time. I now have a true appreciation of what it means to lose my mom, and something that will allow me greater understanding for others experiencing the same thing.

Thank you for taking the time to honor my mom with this beautifully written tribute. And thank you for validating my feelings with your insightful post. xo