The Eulogy of Anita Delois - Eulogy for a Mother - Eulogy by a Daughter
I’d like to begin by thanking you all for coming today. Your presence is comforting and your support is so very much appreciated. Some of you didn’t know mom. She’s been gone from North Carolina for over fifty years. You’re here to support us, her family. Thank you.
Mom has come home. She could tell you that our family has been North Carolinians since back in Colonial days. She was into genealogy and she could tell you the names of each generation all the way back to the Revolutionary war – who married whom, what children were born, who survived, who divorced, who succeeded and who failed. She loved Alaska, but she always said she wanted to come back home to North Carolina when she died. Her heart was here. Welcome home, mom…
I remember her talking about how her father, raised on a farm, put his agricultural background to work and grew just about everything they needed on their small property when she was growing up. They had fruit trees, vegetable gardens, maybe a chicken or two. He grew beautiful flowers – Azaleas… Her mother would ‘put up’ the produce for winter… She and her cousins would spend warm summer days searching for arrowheads and picking blackberries… It is no wonder she had a love for this place. It held such wonderful memories...
She was only 23 when she and my dad moved to Alaska. It was a new, wonderful world for her and she never regretted being there – she loved the natural beauty everywhere you looked. She’d spend hours outdoors walking or hiking, almost always with her camera in tow. She never tired of the beauty she’d see and her artistic eye readily captured so much of it on film. Some of the photos she took are stunning.
I suppose she did regret the fact that Alaska is so far away from her kids and grandkids. Hugh, you and Julie were a life-saver for her. You were always there – caring for her – helping her in so many ways. You made some real sacrifices for her sake and I’m not sure what she would have done without you for the past eighteen years as she dealt with her cancer… Marianna and I, and our families, thank you for all you did.
There are nine grandkids: Hilari, Brendon, Hunter, Baylee, Joshua, Nichaela, Connor, Aidan and Duncan. Again, distance was not easy on grandparent/grandchild relationships, but I know she loved each and every one (she especially loved taking care of Hillari, Brendon and Joshua when they were toddlers) and I know she was aware of all of her grandkid’s achievements as they grew into adulthood… So many of you have acquired her talents. You have some of her creativity or her inquisitiveness or her love of nature or her artistic eye or her simple determination to do whatever she set her mind to doing. And those things will be visible in her great grandkids lives, too, as they grow up. Her life will go on in theirs.
Back in the 70’s mom was quite the talented young woman. Her photography goes back to those days, of course, but she was also into music and drama. She played the guitar and the banjo. She played professionally with a group for a while. And she acted. She performed and sang in numerous local theater productions. I can’t remember exactly which ones she was in except that I know she was in “The King and I.”
She was always into something. She had so many talents – gardening, jewelry making, poetry, photography, rock hunting, digital art, music, genealogy… and she was good at all of them. If she had wanted to, she probably could have had a career in any one of them those fields. That’s how good she was at everything she did.
But probably the career she would have chosen would have been nursing. She got her RN degree back in 1964. She worked for a few years when we were young, but quit to be a full time mom. She felt that was the priority. I remember her saying that, when she was nursing, a doctor at the family practice where she worked once told her she was the best RN he had ever worked with. That was a validation that she held dear all her life. She was intensely proud to have been a nurse. She felt that becoming an RN was the highest achievement of her life – that and surviving cancer for 18 years. I think she was also very proud of receiving an Associates Degree in counseling back in ’96 at Anchorage Community College. She was a strong believer in education.
These past 18 years were hard on mom. The cancer and the onset of dementia in the past few years changed her dramatically. Her suffering and her frustration at losing her memories was not easily tolerated. She had some close friends over the years but she told me that they had all passed away (and that was so hard) When they were gone, she became more and more reclusive – wanting to be alone more and more.
Except, of course, for her two cats, Zorrie and Sasha… Those two have been her constant companions for years and she adored them. They were her family more than any of us. In her times of loneliness and suffering they were always there – they were always ready to cuddle up and give her comfort – they were always there to love her and be loved.
Our mom was such a multi-faceted woman. She never felt quite worthy, yet she had some amazing talents and passions. Her love for nature and beauty and family history and stories never ended. Her determination to beat cancer was inspirational. Her love for learning has made us all become lifelong learners.
Mom – your name will be written prominently on those genealogies you so loved. Your family goes on. You have left a legacy of good people – people who follow you in your love of education and enjoyment of nature and caring for others – in your eye for beauty and in your passion for life. For these you will always hold a special place in our hearts. Good-bye, mom. We love you.
Eulogy for a mother... Eulogy by a Daughter
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