My mom passed away on Thursday, April 19, 2012. I normally would not discuss such a sad and personal detail of my life but since this is probably something that is going to have some kind of an effect on me from here on out, I thought it best to share with you. I will not bore you with the details but instead I am pasting the eulogy that was read at my mom’s memorial service yesterday.
First and foremost I want to thank each of you for all of the love, support and prayers that you have given to me and my family.
Most of you know that I have a 15 month old so. His name is John Brooks. John Brooks is what I like to refer to as a bruiser. He barrels through life at 90 miles an hour using sheer force ad determination; falling over obstacles and hopping right back up, using all of his strength to push his way through until he grasps the object that he thinks he needs. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times since he’s learned to walk that I have thought to myself “Oh heavens we are certainly going to the ER now” only to watch him stand up, brush himself off and just keep on going.
In my mind, that force and will and determination and strength that my 15 month old displays as he barrels through life is my mom. For the majority of my mom’s life she was that force. From the time that I knew what the word meant, if you had asked me to describe my mom in one word it would be strong. She made people know that she was there. She made people listen to what she had to say. When everyone and everything else in my world was falling apart I knew that my mom would be there standing strong, remaining calm and devising a plan to conquer whatever obstacle lie I front of her. I’ve heard many people say throughout my childhood and adolescence that my mom was one of a kind – a force to be reckoned with. When I was little, literally EVERYONE I EVER MET either told me how much I reminded them of my mom or called me Leslie because in their mind they couldn’t tell the difference. Sometimes it was annoying, but more than anything I would and I do still burst with pride that anyone would think that little old sensitive emotional me resembled my mom in any way.
The thing I want us most to all remember about my mom is that the person that inhabited her body these past few years – was not her! She was sick and unfortunately her sickness changed her personality. The mom that I knew and the Leslie that you knew loved with all of her heart and helped everyone she met. The Leslie that you knew loved people and just had to be involved in everything that was going on in this town and in this church and in our lives whether we wanted her to be or not. The mom we knew didn’t want any of mine or my sibling’s friends calling her anything but Leslie and looked on all of our friends as her other children. The mother/daughter/sister/friend that we knew would walk through fire and bend over backward for each and every one of us, wanted every child she ever knew to be her “besie friend”, would give some of us a kidney, would nurse others of us back to health, would talk to any of us on the phone until 4 in the morning and would’ve helped us hide the body if it ever came to that…fortunately it never did that I know of.
The thing that my mom wanted my siblings and me to remember above all is that you never give up on your family. That if someone you love pushes you away 99 times then you better be back there on day 100 offering to help. That we should never let a fear of hurting someone’s feelings or offending someone prevent us from helping them if need be or doing the right thing. Those lessons that she taught us are what I hope that we all take with us from this place today because I know that my mom and your Leslie looked on every person in this room as family and I know that my mom and your Leslie would expect us all to take care of one another in the same way that she took care of each of us.
I love you all and I thank you again for your love and support.