All this depressing stuff on my blog lately! But, it's not depressing... it's also joyous. Don't get me wrong, I can't believe my sweet Mee-mer (Memere is pronounced like Muh-may, but we also affectionately called her Mee-mer) is in Heaven, but it's been great to be able to celebrate her life with the family.
The viewing/wake was Monday and the Mass and burial were Tuesday. Everything went really well, and all of Memere's grandchildren in attendance played a role in her Mass. The boys were pall bearers, the girls did readings or provided the offertory, and I did the eulogy. Thirteen of her 14 grandchildren were able to be there, and it was so awesome to have almost everyone together.
I thought I'd share her obituary and the eulogy, so you have a little more insight as to how awesome she was. Some of you reading have met her (SB'01 girls - Memere cooked us dinner one night when we were spring breaking in Clearwater), so you probably understand her awesomeness. :)
DAUGHTER, SISTER, WIFE, MOTHER, AUNT, GRANDMOTHER, GREAT GRANDMOTHER, BUSINESS WOMAN, PHILANTHROPIST, PARISHIONER, NEIGHBOR, FRIEND…
MEMERE, AS HER GRANDCHILDREN AND GREAT GRANDCHILDREN CALLED HER, WAS MANY THINGS TO MANY PEOPLE.
SHE WAS CARING AND COMPASSIONATE, HUMBLE AND STRONG, GIVING OF HER TIME AND RESOURCES, LOYAL AND HONEST. THOSE WHO KNEW HER WELL KNOW SHE WASN’T ONE TO SUGAR COAT THINGS, AND THAT’S ONE OF THE MANY TRAITS I APPRECIATED ABOUT HER. THAT AND HER QUICK WIT BROUGHT US LAUGHS RIGHT UP UNTIL THE END. SHE TAUGHT US ALL MANY VALUES, ESPECIALLY THE GOLDEN RULE – DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. SHE LIVED HER LIFE BY THIS SIMPLE SAYING.
ALTHOUGH IT’S EASY TO BE SAD THAT WE’VE LOST SUCH A DEAR PERSON TO ALL OF US, I KNOW MEMERE WOULD WANT US TO CELEBRATE HER LIFE AND REJOICE THAT SHE IS IN A BETTER PLACE, SMILING DOWN UPON ALL OF US WITH OUR OTHER LOVED ONES WHO PAVED HER ROAD TO HEAVEN.
SHE LIVED A WONDERFUL AND RICH ALMOST 82 YEARS. SHE WAS THE 7TH GIRL IN A ROW, BORN ON 7-7-27. CAN YOU GUESS WHAT HER LUCKY NUMBER WAS? SHE HAD A HUMBLE UPBRINGING AS ONE OF 14 CHILDREN IN A FRENCH CATHOLIC FAMILY IN NORTHERN MAINE AND WAS THE ONLY ONE IN HER FAMILY TO GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL. SHORTLY AFTER, SHE MOVED TO HARTFORD, CT AND LEARNED ENGLISH. SHE MET MY GRANDFATHER WHILE WORKING AT A RESTAURANT CALLED THE CHICKEN COOP. THEY WENT ON TO BE MARRIED, HAD 5 CHILDREN – TOMMY, MICHAEL, EDDIE, MARGARET AND JIMMY, MOVED TO ST. PETERSBURG FOR A NEW OPPORTUNITY AND HAD ONE MORE CHILD, VALERIE.
WHEN MY GRANDFATHER PASSED AWAY IN 1972, MEMERE TOOK OVER THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE TREASURE ISLAND FUN CENTER, AND RAN IT SUCCESSFULLY FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS WHILE RAISING A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY. SHE WAS A ROLE MODEL TO HER CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, SHOWING US ALL THE VALUES OF HARD WORK AND PERSEVERANCE.
BUT, SHE WASN’T ALL WORK AND NO PLAY. MEMERE LED A VERY BALANCED LIFE WITH AN ACTIVE SOCIAL SCHEDULE AND INVOLVEMENT WITH HER CHURCH AND PHILANTHROPIC ENDEAVORS, ESPECIALLY THE SOROPTOMIST CLUB.
SHE ENJOYED BOWLING, PLAYING CARDS, TRAVELING AND GOING OUT DANCING. FROM BOWLING AN ALMOST PERFECT GAME OF 9 STRAIGHT STRIKES TO A NORTHERN EUROPEAN CRUISE TO DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY AT THE YACHT CLUB, SHE TRULY LIVED LIFE TO ITS FULLEST. AND, I KNOW MANY OF HER GRANDCHILDREN WILL ALWAYS FONDLY REMEMBER HEATED GAMES OF QUEEN OF SPADES, AND HANGING AROUND WHILE SHE PLAYED CARDS WITH THE GIRLS, PATIENTLY WAITING FOR THE OLIVES FROM HER MARTINI.
SHE WAS EXTREMELY PROUD OF HER FAMILY. I KNOW THAT IN ADDITION TO HER CHILDREN, HER 14 GRANDCHILDREN – CHRIS, MYSELF, STEVE, JENNIFER, COREY, ERIC, DANIELLE, JACKY, KRISTINA, JAMIE, BRANDI, MARISSA, SABRINA AND LEAH AND HER 4 GREAT GRANDCHILDREN – COREYA, JAMES, KYLE, AND BRODY BROUGHT HER A LOT OF JOY.
THAT’S QUITE A LARGE FAMILY, AND IT IS COMPLETELY A TESTAMENT TO MEMERE AS OUR MATRIARCH THAT WE ARE ALL SO CLOSE KNIT. BEING SO CLOSE WITH MEMERE, MY AUNTS, UNCLES AND COUSINS WAS SOMETHING I USED TO TAKE FOR GRANTED… I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS THE NORM. AS I’VE GROWN OLDER, I REALIZE THAT NOT EVERY FAMILY HAS SUCH A BOND, AND I KNOW WE ALL OWE OURS TO THE EXAMPLE SHE SET. TO MY FAMILY, THE BEST WAY WE CAN HONOR MEMERE IS TO KEEP THAT BOND STRONG.
MEMERE WAS A WOMAN OF GOD, DEVOTED TO HER CATHOLIC FAITH. THERE ARE MANY BIBLE VERSES, WHICH I KNOW SHE TOOK COMFORT IN, THAT TELL US BY ACCEPTING JESUS AS OUR SAVIOR AND PLACING OUR TRUST AND FAITH IN HIM, WE WILL HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. IF YOU WERE AT THE WAKE LAST NIGHT, YOU HEARD THE DEACON QUOTE FROM ST. PAUL’S SECOND LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS. HIS LONGER VERSE ENCOMPASSES MY FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE, WHICH I HAD ALREADY PLANNED TO SHARE. I THINK IT CAN BE APPLIED TO ANY SITUATION, AND I BELIEVE IT IS A VERSE THAT MEMERE LIVED THROUGHOUT HER LIFE. IN HIS SECOND LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 5, VERSE 7, ST. PAUL SAYS, “WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT.” WE CANNOT SEE GOD, BUT WE KNOW HE IS WITH US. WE CANNOT SEE HEAVEN, BUT WE HAVE FAITH THAT IT IS ALL AROUND US AND THAT MEMERE IS THERE. WE MOURN NOT FOR MEMERE, BUT FOR OUR LOSS. BUT, BECAUSE OF OUR FAITH, WE TAKE COMFORT THAT WE WILL BE REUNITED WITH THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US TO HEAVEN, AND THAT UNTIL THEN, WE HAVE ONE MORE GUARDIAN ANGEL WATCHING OVER US.