Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tribute to My Mom (Part 1)

I'd like to thank everyone who wrote to lend me support and provide solace. Yesterday, my aunt, cousin, and I scattered my mother's ashes. Today, I'm taking my aunt and cousin to the airport to return to Austin, Texas. I'd like to spend this week sharing the tribute I wrote to my mom--before moving on, and returning to my life.

Dear Mama,

As I’m sitting down at my desk to write my tribute for your memorial service, tears are streaming down my face. Already, I miss you so! I’m not sure there ever has been a daughter who loved her mother (and father) more.

But I will miss you and mourn you privately. Today is my opportunity to celebrate your life, share some stories, and tell friends and family members what you and daddy taught me, and how special I always felt when people said, “You must be one of the Schwartz girls.”

One of the greatest gifts I received from you and daddy was that for my entire life I have felt unconditionally loved. But perhaps my earliest memory is when I was a five-year-old kindergartner. One day when you picked me up from school, I was crying because my teacher told me I couldn’t saw wood with my left hand. You hugged me and kissed me, wiped away my tears, and held my hand as you led me back to my class. As we entered the room, you walked right up to my teacher Mrs. Sweeney and said, “I don’t want you to change my daughter. She’s perfect the way she is. You’ll have to teach her to saw with her left hand.”

From that moment on, I knew you would always stand up for me, and so you did. You also must have had a huge impact on Mrs. Sweeney. More than 15 years later when I was a senior at UCLA and taking some education classes, Mrs. Sweeney, who by then was a bigwig within the Los Angeles Board of Education, was a guest lecturer in one of my classes. Afterwards, I walked up to her and said, “Hi, my name is Susan Schwartz. You probably don’t remember me but I was in your kindergarten class at Hancock Park Elementary School.

Without batting an eye, she asked, “How’s your mother? I read her column.”

I smiled and said, “Fine.” We talked some more and just as I was ready to walk away, she paused, and with a twinkle in her eye, asked, “Do you still saw with your left hand?”

I remember laughing out loud as I left the lecture hall and thinking that I hoped that when I had children, I would be as much of a heroine to them as you were to me.

(to be continued)


Syd said...

It's good to see you back blogging again. I've missed reading your posts. I know the service for your mother was beautiful and I know that she is so very proud of you.

Please keep us posted on how you're doing and feeling. I can only imagine that you'll be experiencing a wide range of emotions over the next several weeks and months. I'm here for you!


marja said...

I've missed you too, Susan. Looking forward to this week's posts as you share about your mom. How beautiful what you have written here so far.

I often think now-a-days what I would want to say about my mom when she dies. I'm sure that I'd be the one in the family expected to give the eulogy. And I know that it will be very hard.

I hope that sharing this tribute with all of us will be healing for you.

Take care - marja

Dream Writer said...

That is wonderful in how you are making these tributes in parts about your mother and (father). I cannot even fathem the lose as both my parents are still alive.

It must be so hard. I am thinking of you and hope that you are doing well.