A Euology For My Mother, Esther Patton: June 30, 1938 – April 23, 2017

To my father, sister, niece and the rest of the family, I love you.

I’ll keep this brief because I don’t know if I can get through it. I really hate crying in front of people.

I put together the slide show. I limited it to mostly immediate family, mainly to save time and reduce the stress of looking through thousands of photographs. There are many people sitting here who my mother was fond of. You know who you are.

I could write a book about why Mom was wonderful. Most people have character flaws, myself included. My mother had none.

She always put others before herself, especially her family. She never insulted people or talked behind their backs. She was the sweetest woman I’ve ever known.

I believe that funerals are for the gathering, so I want to talk about a few of my experiences and what we all can learn from them.

****

While looking through photos, I noticed a unique shirt that Mom wore when I took her hiking in McCreary County.

It was light purple with a pocket on the back. Actually, it wasn’t even a real pocket, just a flap with a button. It was the most absurd assessory I’ve seen on a shirt.

For my own amusement, I asked her some hard questions:

“Mom, why is there a pocket on the back of your shirt? How can you reach it…if it’s on your back?”

She rolled her eyes, having endured my attempts to rile her up on numerous occasions.

“Oh Jeremy, it just makes it look pretty.”

I found that shirt Tuesday. It was hanging neatly on the door to her wash room, so she must have worn it more than I had realized. I’ve now decided that I like it. I’m going to keep it.

Sometimes, the trivial things are important. I might not understand why a false pocket was sewn on the back of her shirt, but she liked it, so that’s all that matters.

****

In high school art class, I attempted an oil-on-canvas of two cardinals perched on a branch. I only finished half the painting, but Mom loved it.

To give you better perspective, if I had dipped my butt in paint then scooted across a canvas, Mom would have hung that up and called it art – because her son painted it.

She begged me to finish it, but I made excuses. I don’t remember why I chose that subject in the first place, but for most teenage males, painting cardinals is not an exciting project.

She had given up, but several years ago she asked me one more time to finish it. I had more valid excuses than before: I hadn’t painted in years, I no longer owned oil paint, etc.

I found it this week beside her sewing desk. Believe me when I say that if I could have her back for a short time, I’d finish that painting.

****

Everyone deals with death differently. I’ve been overwhelmed with guilt and regret. I had a good relationship with my mother and she knew that I loved her. But I should’ve taken her more places; I should’ve spent more time with her. I could’ve easily done that.

Go home tonight and give your parents a hug, or call and tell them that you love them.

Perhaps if you make more effort, there’ll be less guilt when your parents are gone. At the very least, you’ll make them happier.

Added 4/29/17