My mother passed away just before Christmas. The following is the eulogy I gave at her Memorial Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida on March 24th, 2018. time restrictions forced my brevity. Mom was one of the great ones, with an irrepressible spirit. She touched many lives.
Thank you all for joining my family and me in honoring my mother, Marti Adams. I am John, Marti and Gordon’s third son.
There is an unreal quality in the loss of a loved one. Ninety years of memories, suddenly gone. Especially my mother, who knew me before I knew myself, and who nurtured me to the end.
The last time we spoke, a day before she passed, she assured me she was fine. She didn’t want me to worry. She was strong.
After all, in her nineties, while planning a trip, she had a personal trainer at the gym.
I can’t sum up Mom’s life, but let me give you my sense of her.
An early memory is Mom playing Beethoven’s, Moonlight Sonata on her piano. Her attempts at private time were always interrupted by us kids.
I don’t think I ever heard her complete it, but that pensive, opening movement has always been a favorite. Mom perfected her private time doing her art.
Mom’s signature phrase with us was “Fair is fair.” She used it to settle any dispute. But she also applied it in her spending habits, like when she bought each of us three boys, a giant, stuffed poodle dog for Christmas. Or the annual, festively wrapped socks and underwear under the tree.
We never pinned down exactly what ‘fair is fair’ meant, but it almost always stopped an argument. If things continued out of hand, Mom aimed her famous and dreaded ‘raised eyebrow’ at the perps, and that would be that.
Marti and Gordon met during WWII, at the University of Michigan while Gordon was there for Marine officer training.
I recently found a letter Dad wrote to his Commanding officer, requesting permission to marry ‘Miss Daligga,’ our future Mom.
Dad declared he knew “Miss Daligga and her family for over two years.” I shared it with Mom and laughing, she said “more like two weeks!”
Mom and Dad made marriage look easy. As easy as clearing the floor and dancing the ‘Lindy’ to Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.” They were a great team. I never saw them argue.
Friday night was date night for Mom and Dad and that meant fish sticks or tuna fish over rice for us four kids.
On our many road trips, Mom always brought hard boiled eggs for snacks, saving Dad from stopping every twenty minutes. Six weeks on the road and she always had hard boiled eggs. How did she do that?
Mom got much of her spirit and spunk from her mother, another strong and beautiful woman.
For a year in the late fifties, Mom basically raised us four kids solo. Dad was starting his business in Wilmar – two hours west of us. Although he came home on weekends, it must have been lonely for them both. But we never knew about that.
Mom kept us busy with projects, like gathering berries from our garden to make jams and jellies.
We moved to a rental house in Wilmar, near Dad’s office. On cold nights, the furnace would go out. It was below zero outside and no heat inside. Mom just got us dressed for school in front of the oven.
One Saturday, we kids discovered Rocky and Bullwinkle on TV. Our laughter drew Mom in, to see what mischief we were up to. She joined us on the couch and ended up laughing harder than the rest of us.
Mom was always practical when faced with a challenge. She told us, ‘Never, ever give up.’ One night we needed to pick up my darling sister Jan, from her piano lessons. Mom had poor night vision. And it was foggy.
While Mom attempted to drive the winding two-lane highway, I was hanging out the rear, driver’s side window while Jeff watched out the passenger side.
I called out “Mom! Mom! Go to the right. You’re gonna hit the curb” – (which would be the curb on the left side of the road).
Mom pulled over to the right and stopped. She decided it was safer for Jeff to drive, even though he was unlicensed. He could see. We all got home safely.
Mom was a fighter. Mom petitioned the court for us to keep our dog, Sam after Sam scared some bicyclists. The judge wouldn’t listen. Mom persisted. He threatened her with contempt of court. Mom wouldn’t give up.
He didn’t reckon on her using ‘fair is fair’ followed by ‘the eyebrow’.
We got to keep Sam.
Maryann and Lori Ann from St. Patrick’s rectory tell me Mom’s parishioner number was #1. They are now retiring her number, so Mom will always be #1.
Though we are all here today to celebrate Mom’s life, I have it on excellent authority that this separation we feel is only temporary. We’ll see you again Mom. Thank you.