Tomorrow morning, I have to give an eulogy for mom. What the hell do I say? What can I say? Given a choice, I'd rather drink this bottle of Malbec and stress about my lack of funeral clothes. So, here goes, old blog. Let's get to writing.
Hi everyone. I want to thank you for coming out today to celebrate the life of my mom, Pamela.
I don't need to tell you what an energetic, thoughtful, friendly, person she was. We all know that from her actions. So I thought I'd share some stories about her. I was reminded of these stories going through her things and coming across some photos of our travels together.
Growing up, it was really cool to be her daughter. I knew it was special, but I didn't realize how special it was until much later, that mom enabled me to experience the world and many different cultures so early in life. My parents often talked about their time in Italy. I always had an awareness of the world that was larger than the small town I grew up in; especially thanks to the Italian Globe Bar in the library. Mom introduced me to many high cultural tastes like sparkling water, which I have come to live off of. Pasta was always spaghetti carbonara (never with red sauce or peas). And desert wasn't worth mentioning unless it was chocolate mousse. With mom, it wasn't the world on a shoestring - it was the glamorous life, even if we were at home. I remember jars of Nutella from Europe in the pantry and once my brother and I woke up to a a live lobster in the crisper! Which we later cooked with great celebration.
When I was 14, mom took me to Egypt. This was a dream trip and I look back on it as one of the highlights of my life. During the two week trip, mom would keep me behaving properly by joking that she might sell me to the many men who attempted to buy me. I understood I was traveling in a more primitive culture so I was never worried, plus there was no way mom could transport 50k camels back to Missouri!
I was an old hat at International First Class travel. While most of my trips were domestic, I would stand in the international terminal in St. Louis and dream of exotic locations. All free thanks to mom's air passes.
Later, I took a trip Istanbul with mom and my grandmother in the nose of a 747. We flew first class of course. You could still smoke on airplanes back then. A famous pop star sat a few rows ahead of us. I recognized him (he was from Milli Vanilli) and joked to mom about going to talk to him. Mom replied back, seriously, you should interview him for your school newspaper. I shrugged off the idea, saying I'd do it after take off. We had a 6+ hour flight from JFK to Paris, but mom wouldn't let me forget. I rallyed my courage and talked to him. Eventually his manager and me swapped spots and we spent a few hours chatting as we crossed the Atlantic.
Experiencing these diverse cultures at an early age gave me a larger view of the world. It has made me who I am. I'm thankful for these world experiences.
I wasn't one of these kids that hid things from their parents. (This was impossible anyway.) It was difficult to surprise her no matter how hard I tried! However, the reverse was not true. One evening we were sitting on our beds in a shared hotel room. I was playing with my computer, when from mom's side came the sound of America The Beautiful on Harmonica. I stopped everything I was doing as my jaw dropped. I thought, when did mom start playing the Harmonica!!! She still had the ability to surprise me. I thought it was so cool that she played Harmonica. She then told me about her harmonica trio. I was so excited to be surprised by her! I know playing harmonica gave her great joy.
Most of all, mom taught me I could do anything. It wasn't an explicit lesson. I saw mom do all kinds of things, so naturally I went ahead and did them too - and a lot more. I didn't realize not everyone had a mom like her. To this day, I do what I want, I am who I am because I can be and that's because mom always supported me. She never held me back (except for that one time she wouldn't let me go to debate camp). She was my biggest supporter - and while I never did anything for her approval - I didn't have too - knowing she was proud of me in my achievements meant a lot, especially my speaking and career successes.
I remember when mom told me about her cancer. Back in 2009 I asked for a miracle. I wanted her to have a few more years. There were many things she still wanted to accomplish, do, see. Mostly to see Aedyn grow up. I think she used her time well. She wrote a book and became an educational advocate for ovarian cancer. Still, we all wish she was still with us today.
I have more stories of mom, as I'm sure you all do, but I won't keep you here all day. While the physical form we called Pam, or mom is no longer with us, I don't think she's gone. I have a version of her up here - with me at all times. We all do. I know I can always talk to that person. It's a shadow of the real person we knew and will miss. But inside us, she lives on. And for now, that's the best we can ask for.