Louisa’s wonderful eulogy at mom’s memorial service on Saturday, July 23 at St. Peter’s Church

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Seeing all of you here and reading your heartfelt notes has been a wonderful way to celebrate mom and relive her many special qualities. She and I were extremely different, didn’t always see eye to eye, and had times of distance.  But I came to appreciate her great qualities when I had my own children.  Here are a few of the things that mom instilled in us kids and that we will always remember well:

Don’t be fussy she would say; meaning, don’t be possessive or care too much about “things”. Things didn’t really matter to her.

Always open your home to others; several times we lived at home in our professional lives, getting back on our feet after moving to NY. Taking in boarders, or “waifs and strays” as Uncle Tommy put it; giving people an opportunity to live in New York in this warm, loving home as they began their careers.  

A great love of animals; she was always kind and welcoming to animals, and let me have a dog when I asked at age 12.  She knew the healing powers and how much it would benefit me at that delicate age.  

Teaching public high school; the relationship with the students, the mentoring, bringing them to the brownstone; I did follow her footsteps with my own teaching career, and I share a love of teenagers that no one can explain; but we both got it.

Her amazing generosity; she gave us help when we needed it, shared everything with us, and always cared that we did not struggle financially.

And her love of our children, six grandchildren who benefited from her generous gifts, the club in Millbrook, visits with Daisy, and fabulous stories of the old folk in Maine.

What you have said to us in your notes over these past two months were very powerful and meaningful sentiments. Here are a few that have particularly touched me: she was unfailingly kind to me; she and W.E.R were our anchors in Saunderstown; she was a surrogate mother to me; she was quite a firecracker; your mom was always dear to me — I knew so few working moms growing up, and she was such a role model: smart, funny, tough and sophisticated; she was one of the strongest and kindest and most generous people I've ever known; your mother treated me — not a blood cousin of her’s — with generosity and kindness for fifty years.  Exceptional; I will miss her.

This is just a scratch of the surface.  We will remember her in all these ways, and treasure what she meant to so many. She lives on in all of us, and in particular my son, Andrew, who could not be here today.

She lives on in him through his love of books, his love of animals, and his love of doing NOTHING but just being with himself. Thank you.

Note:  To see a PDF of the service program, please click here.

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