Sunday, October 17, 2010

This is What I Said

My comments at my Mom's Memorial Service 10/15/2010. Words finally came to me.

" To be honest, standing up here to speak about my Mom in the context of her Memorial Service was never something I thought much about, even during the months of her declining health. I’ve struggled to find the theme that felt right for today. After a few false starts yesterday, it was at dawn today on this lovely fall morning that I found my stride.   

There are so many ways to remember my Mom, Doris Evelyn Bain Thompson. What I’ve chosen to focus on today was likely the greatest love of her life; HER FAMILY. None of us in this room who knew my Mom could ever deny how much she loved and cared for her children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren. And, as a testament to their reciprocal love for her, her entire family with their spouses and partners are gathered here today to honor her life and legacy.

Gathered here are three generations of her family; three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. We fifteen persons share a common genetic lineage which would not exist precisely as it does were it not for the union of Doris Bain and Dean Thompson nearly 70 years ago. And so we honor not only Doris Bain but also Dean whose love and devotion to my Mom is obvious to everyone present here today.

At Doris and Dean’s 69th wedding anniversary this past April, we celebrated with a party to honor their years together. I have many memories and photographs from that day. I know she enjoyed the celebration as did my Dad who still comments about the three piece band that played swing music.  We are blessed to have witnessed and to have learned from their lives together. Mom once told me that LAUGHTER was the key. In later years, Mom said many, many times; “Your father and I have such a good time together; just laughing”. I believe she’s right. Laughter with the one you love is a balm that smoothes out the rough edges. 

Mom not only loved her family; she was proud of her family. She expected the best from us and encouraged us to be who we were meant to be; whatever path that might take. She was an amazing writer of letters; her own special form of communication, her own special way of expressing love, concern and support for us. She was also the consummate teacher; whether it was instructing us in the making of traditional Christmas pudding or correcting our grammar when writing or speaking. We were to be the best we could be. Always. She reveled in our successes and offered words of encouragement for our struggles be they trivial day to day tribulations or the bigger issues of life. 

Mom did so much to support me when times were rough. A few examples come to mind. When one of our cats died, she wrote a special eulogy.  She sat with me and held my hand as I wailed at the injustices of the world when neighbors decided to cut down a beloved bank of trees between our properties. She stood up for me when I felt downtrodden, weary, and sad. She’d say, even if all I can do is just SIT with you, I want to do it. Such was her love.

Mom’s greatest fear was that she might lose a child or grandchild or great grandchild during her life. I know she prayed daily for our safety and asked the Lord to protect us as we journeyed to and from. I’m thankful she never had to suffer what she would have considered her greatest loss. 

In her last days, Mom asked to “go home”. I knew she was finally ready. To Mom, HOME was a powerful word, a metaphor for a safe haven, a place of peace, a place of beauty where sadness and struggle is no more. May God bless you and keep you, Mom. May the Lord shine his face upon you and give you peace.  I love you always."


  1. Oh Kate, you found the words. May God bless you, too.

  2. You did well, girl!

    In a difficult time, you did what I would probably have stumbled on. Thanks for sharing your mother's life and yours with us.


Leave a comment!