A Eulogy for My Mom
When my mom died after years of dialysis and a failed kidney transplant, our family was devastated. Many of you gathered here today knew her – and shared our sadness, pain and sense of loss. With heavy hearts, in anger and disbelief, we all tried in vain to make sense of what had happened.
WHY? Why would God take such a good person—who helped SO many people, touched so many lives? Why would he take her—far too soon: From my dad? From my kids? From ME?
We all reflected on the times we talked with her, worked with her, laughed with her, ate with her, prayed with her, were comforted or healed by her.
Many of us, myself included, were angry about the unfairness of it all.
The irony… The tragedy. That affected us all in such a deep and personal way.
She died 11 years ago. The process of healing for my dad, my brother and I was slow, but over time we came to accept what had happened. She lived on through our memories, stories, traits that she passed on to us, and all the little things—the scent of her Estee’ Lauder Beautiful perfume, the quirks, all the things that made her our “mom.”
But we also knew that physically, in our daily lives, she was gone.
Three years later, my dad introduced us to Cecille. After our mom passed, we felt the void. But more importantly had always been worried about my dad. Would he be ok? Would he be lonely? The most important thing to us was his happiness so we accepted that he met someone new. She would be the companion he needed and we would be supportive of his decision… and that would be it.
But NEVER did we expect that she would be so, so much more than that—not only to him, but to our entire family. She never tried to force her way into our lives. She simply won us over. With her kindness, her fashion sense, her clear love of our dad… When two people meet and fall in love, you usually say they “grow old together”…but these two, it was like they grew “young” together: active, adventurous, always on the go. She was open and completely adored my kids. She was the only Lola they ever knew.
Like my mom, she was beautiful, strong and independent. But she also added this dimension of lightness to our lives—fun-loving, willing to try anything (from tubing to canoing, dune climbing, traveling the world) and she embraced life and new experiences.
Beyond the countless adventures we shared with her and my dad, there were also the unseen moments—not broadcast on Facebook—times that happened when the lights were dim and you could see a person for who they really are…
One of my most special memories of her was something so, so simple and pure. We were on a family trip to California, and during a quiet time in between sightseeing, the kids had disappeared from our hotel room to the adjoining room where Lolo and Lola were. After an hour or so, we decided to check on the boys. When we opened the door to their room, there were the kids. Christian and my dad were reading from a joke book (naturally), and Logan and Lola were lying in bed. She was tickling him. He was squealing, and they were both giggling with laughter. It was a moment of pure love for these kids… and I teared up as I thought to myself “God these kids are so lucky to be loved by her.”
My brother and I felt that same kind of love from her too – talking in the morning over breakfast and coffee, laughing about the kids, sharing good times and even some of our hardest times together.
She didn’t replace our mom… but she was a continuation of her. And we truly loved her.
But now… we’re standing here today with this aching sense of déjà vu. With heavy hearts, in anger and disbelief, we are all trying in vain—again—to make sense of what happened. WHY? Why would God take such a good person, who touched so many lives? Why would he take her—far too soon: From my dad? From her kids? From my kids? From us?
We are all reflecting on the times we talked with her, laughed with her, ate with her, prayed with her, danced with her or were inspired by her.
There were certainly some strange hints from the universe that somehow she was brought into OUR lives for a reason.
There was her name: Cecilia Domingo. My mom and dad’s names combined! Are you serious?
Both she and my dad were #11 in the birth order of their large families.
How could that NOT be meant to be?
But many of us now, myself included, may be angry about the unfairness of losing her. The irony… The tragedy.
The things that her body and spirit endured at the end are unthinkable. NO ONE should ever go through that. But those of us who were there with her at the hospital are in AWE of her strength and will during that trauma. To come back to consciousness, and squeeze our hands and wiggle her toes, and fight through everything to open her eyes… and say goodbye to us one last time. As awful as it was, it was a GIFT.
I wish I had the answer why this happened. As we do in this type of circumstance, we struggle to find a reason for this terrible loss. It may take time… or we may never know.
All we can do now is focus on the light she brought to our lives, and what she left behind.
· A husband who found in her a loving, vibrant companion and true partner.
· 6 kids: Carol, Neil, Michael and Louie + my brother and I, who were blessed to experience her love and support.
· 6 grandkids, who had the most generous, caring and supportive Lola.
· A room filled with family and friends who were touched by her.
There is a connective tissue, a bond that ties us all together now. One that was created because of her.
And like my mom, she will live on through our memories…of her laughter, her amazing sense of style, her kindness, her bluntness, her goodness, and all the little things that made her an amazing mom, grandma, wife, sister, aunt, friend.
We were ALL blessed for the gift of her in our lives.
Her life was a reminder to all of us: to work hard. love each other. travel. embrace adventure. dance. laugh. sing. cherish your family and friends…NOW. because you never know when your breath may be your last.