I had to google how to write a eulogy. In my mind it seemed so cut and dry that I thought for sure I was missing something.
I’m supposed to tell you how my mom was born in Brantford in 1951 to Betty Foster Hamilton, and George Jones, both of whom passed away before her 20th birthday. I’m supposed to tell you she had a brother, Robert, who also passed away before her. I’m supposed to tell you she grew up poor, and died not much richer. I’m supposed to tell you a synopsis of her life but none of that will matter tomorrow.
But I can tell you what she’s leaving behind, and what will be missed.
Becky, my mom taught me the value of friendship. She met her best friend, Karen, when she had barely started public school, and they remained best friends through loves and loses, births and deaths, health and sickness. I’m proud to say that I know my mom’s best friend well enough that I could recognize her laugh in a crowd. I hope that I’m lucky enough to have you as my best friend not only for that long, but for my girls to know that they have someone looking out for them just as much as I am. My mom taught me how important it was to be friends, and to keep them close like family.
She left behind her laughter with my brother, Matthew. Mashed potatoes behind the furniture. Food fights. Tripping over someone’s face. Karate kids crossing the street, applecores and bad jokes. The ability to see the punchline before the joke has been made. The unique talent of laughing straight from the gut. Her humour is in my brother and sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.
She left me the rules on being a woman. She showed me that it’s okay to be beautiful, smart, funny, strong and independant all at once. She taught me that I should be proud of that, and never hide it away. She taught me that Prince Charming might be a fairy tale, but that’s no reason I can’t be a legend.
Halia and Leona, your grandmother left strength behind for you. Your grandmother had balls of steel.
Great. Big. Fucking. Shiny ones.
She took life obstacles head on, bashed her way through, and came out stronger on the other side. She didn’t always aim her fight in the right direction, but she was a force to be reckoned with, nonetheless. Life handed her a lot of shit, but she still fought on till the end. If I ever teach you anything, I hope that I teach you to have even half the strength that woman had.
When we have reached our final day, our whole life will only amount to the legacy we leave behind, the lessons that carry on beyond us, and the standards with which we held ourselves accountable.
In my last conversation with my mom, she told me to ‘be good.’ Such a simple sentiment, but one we often take for granted. I’m sure part of my mother’s message was intended to remind me to stay out of trouble, but the greater lesson was to be a good person. Be the person you want to be. Be the person you wish the world to see. Be the standard that others live up to.
Just be good.