I wrote my mum’s eulogy today. It was both pain and privilege. I learned more about my modest and private mother than I’d known before. From the death of her own mother when she was a young child, to riding camels in her outback town aged 12 and a shipboard romance that lasted over 66 years with my father; her life was varied and valued. She leaves behind her a legacy of children and grandchildren who carry her genes and many of her values. We loved and were loved by her, which is where the pain of loss is birthed.
Each person’s life story has its highlights, humour and pain. Although my parents’ romantic courtship and marriage was destined for the London newspaper headlines, (except the King died that day!), it’s not really about fame in the end. Their love story wasn’t always easy and it’s certainly very hard for Dad now, who is peeved to be left behind. But to love and be loved for decades by the same person is certainly to be recommended.
We can never replace Mum – and wouldn’t want to. However, we, her children and grandchildren, are her greatest legacy and therefore an ongoing comfort and source of strength for Dad. I’m sure Mum would be pleased we are around him now, as consideration for those she loved most was a strong value of hers.
Our bodies cease, but our values define our lives and the legacy we leave. That’s providing we live them out in a visible way amidst those around us. Whatever life deals us, we have choices about the way we respond and the people who accompany our journey. Although, Mum’s childhood was a difficult one which scarred her in some ways, she loved and was loved. What greater legacy can there be?
‘My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action,’ (from the Bible, 1 John 3:18)
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.