The Roughest Draft

Right now I’m “leveling up,” in the game of adulthood. Today my brother, sister and I are in the midst of completing some boss-level emotional video game sh*t.

When the dust clears and the tears have dried (temporarily,) I’ll regroup and figure how to unpack all of this for y’all. Until then, here’s the hardest thing I’ve ever written, my Mother’s eulogy, I’ll be reading it right about the time that you finally pull your hungover lazy asses out of bed, you lucky jerks. See y’all on the other side of this gut wrenching gauntlet.

 

Love you all (yes, EVEN YOU!)

– Lauren

Love.

Love.

Today we say goodbye to our Mother, Kathleen. She left us far too early, exactly one week before her 60th Birthday. And while we are devastated at the sudden loss, I also am comforted by an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

I’m grateful that in those short 59 years, Mom lived an impossibly full life. The youngest of 4 children, she already had a built in audience at birth. In High School, she was the star of multiple plays, musicals, and was the president of her Thespian troupe. It’s that love for drama that awarded her a scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin, where she met her life-long best girlfriend, Laura, or Aunt Laura as we have called her since birth.

Aunt Laura set Mom and Dad up on their very first date, and all these years later, my Father is grieving the loss of his best friend. For 41 years my dad loved mom unconditionally, and in these last few years, Dad also became her devoted caregiver.  I’m grateful that I was able to witness such a deep and unwavering love between my parents.

After college, my Mom chased her reporting dreams all the way to the top, in just 6 short years she made Editor in Chief at not one, but 3 newspapers, simultaneously. Throughout her award-winning career as a professional journalist, she clung to one principal, Truth above all. In her free time, Mom reconnected with another passion of hers, teaching. First she taught the youth in our church, Sunday School, but eventually, that love of teaching lead to the classroom. For 22 years, she taught journalism, history, and to all of us, proper grammar.

I’m grateful that she touched so many students lives, over 2,500 of them.  Among her former students are brain surgeons, actual rocket scientists, teachers, a broadway star, journalists, and photographers. During this hard time, many students have sought us out and told wonderful stories of my mother’s generosity and unconditional support. One particularly touching letter came from Decoscia. Decoscia was great student. She possessed, good grades and a real talent for leadership. When she found herself pregnant, my mom didn’t flinch in supporting her and assured her that she would be a great mom. She was the first former student to reach out and told us: “Your Mom believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

I’m grateful that my sister Katherine is continuing my mother’s legacy by teaching high school journalism.

I’m grateful to have witnessed Mom on cloud Nine celebrating at Katherine’s wedding to Matt, a wonderful man that she loved as her own son.

I’m grateful that my brother Austin inherited my mother’s love of music and made her so proud by becoming a world-class trumpet player, and an accomplished musician. I’m also so thankful that Mom met and loved Austin’s great love, Lauren, who to avoid confusion at family gatherings, graciously adopted the nickname Dos, as she is the Second Lauren in our family. But, if we’re going on who’s the kindest, sweetest Lauren with a beautiful heart, Dos is most certainly uno.  Afterall, my entire life I have always identified with and rooted for the Disney Villain, and ever the supportive parent, Mom embraced my less than heroic sympathies.

I’m grateful that Valor’s best pal, my Dad, AKA Grandpa, is here and healthy ready to carry out the many plans Mom had for Val.

Speaking of best pal’s I’m grateful that my Mom mentored so many teachers, including my best friend since college, Abby, or Aunt Abby as Valor has called her since birth, and JoDee, who as a first year teacher, found herself overwhelmed. Mom had the perfect wise words for her. JoDee went on to win New Teacher of the Year for her district.

I’m grateful that Mom loved the love of my life, Mace.  Friday, the final day that we’d ever see her, one of the last things she told me was to “thank God every day for Mace T.” I do mom, each and every day.

I’m grateful to have had 36 years with Mom. Mace and his brothers Thane and Gavin were not as fortunate. They lost their father Jim, nearly 18 years ago. I was lucky enough to have both parents guide me through those terribly stressful first months as a new parent.

Unfortunately I suffered some complications after giving birth, and spent the better part of 4 months making daily trips to the hospital. My parents were there the entire way, dad would drop mom off every weekday so that she could help care for us both. One particularly cold December morning, I received some bad news about my bloodwork.  As I looked at the sparkling lights on my Christmas tree and snuggled my soft little infant, I began to weep. “Mom, I don’t want to die. I want to be here for Valor.”

I’m grateful for my mother’s outstanding wit and perfect comedic timing, she always knew when we needed a laugh, this particular tree-side sob-fest was prime for her incredible sense of humor.

“Oh Sweetie, don’t you worry,” she assured me.  You’re going to be just fine. After all, you’re a villain. Villains live forever. Only saints and goody goodies die young, you’re far too much of a jerk.” That much needed laugh served as a reminder that I was indeed too jerky to die young. From that moment on, I knew I would heal.

I’m grateful that we have such an amazing and supportive network of family, friends, and well-wishers. I will forever be thankful for the love, help, and encouragement.

I’m thankful for this very church, these pastors, and the wonderful people who are part of our church family. This is where Valor was baptized and the place that I’ve taught Sunday school for almost 4 years.  I teach because my mother’s passion was just that, teaching. I’ll be teaching tomorrow morning, because I can’t think of a better tribute to her legacy.

Let us rejoice and be grateful that our Mom Kat is pain free and basking in the glow of eternal life. By leaving us so early, she proved by her own words to be a “true saint, a real goody goody.”

God Bless each and every one of you weeping with us today, know she loved you just as you loved her.  Thank you.


Comments

The Roughest Draft — 9 Comments

  1. Your strength is an inspiration. You are your mother’s daughter- full of wisdom and a gift for expressing it to others. You have both given me some of my most needed advice. I know she must be so, so proud of you. Your bother and sister did a great job too. The music was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful! What a beautiful service to honor your amazing mother.

  2. This is so beautiful, you did an amazing job. Thank you so much for sharing this tribute to your mother, who sounds like an amazing person who had an awesome life. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  3. Lauren that is such a beautiful tribute. I’m grateful for the love and encouragement that your Mom gave to you. And you in turn shared with me during our college years. Love you Bro, your family is always in my thoughts and prayers. Muah!

  4. Classy girlie. Your love for her shone (that is a word right 🙂 ) through every word. Wonderful mothers are a gift from God , those of us who had one are truly blessed and try daily to pass that on to our children and grandchildren

  5. Lauren, you did an amazing job today. I love all of you and am so grateful to have shared this weekend with you. Thank you so much!

  6. Thank you for posting this. I really wanted to be there for you today. But at least here, I am able to hear your beautifully written words and I can hear your voice in my head. I truly believe that no matter what religion we follow (or if none at all) we are all here to achieve some spiritually defining purpose. I think evil people live longer because they have more to learn and good people die early because they are ready to move on to their next level of development. Some good people live longer because those around them need their help in their own journeys. The point is that we are all part of something bigger that our religions really can’t even begin to describe. And while our hearts hurt and long for our loved ones who move on, we can be assured that they can still surround us spiritually and still see every step we take and still affect our path. She’s not gone. She is only transformed. And you will see her again when you finish your own path. This I firmly believe. I’m crying with you today (at work even lol), not because I knew your mom well enough to mourn her, but because I love you and have compassion for your pain. I hope you find peace and rest through all of this. And I promise to be there if ever you need me.

  7. This eulogy, written from the heart, was perfect. Your mother was such a special person, who dedicated herself to her family, her profession and making a home-like atmosphere in her classroom. She was such a spectacular person and she lives on the the three of you, something I could see so clearly at her service. It warmed my heart to see the three of you together, because each of you display different facets of your mother. Again, that shows how fantastic your mother was – it takes the three of you working together to equal the magnificence that was your mother.

    She and I were two news junkies pulled together by our love of the written word and the thirst for news, and the truth behind it. I remember the horror of 9/11 and hanging out in your mother’s room during our conference period, as we dealt with the horror and shock of that day.

    Her classroom was a warm and loving place, much like a home, a family, rather than some cold and sterile room. The ambiance and compassion found in her room was like a magnet for students and teachers alike. Some of us called ourselves, “The Golden Girls” as we gathered to discuss the news of the day. My goodness, we were the original View and probably should have had our own television show.

    Perfection in her yearbook and getting it right, particularly names in addition to spelling and grammar. I can even remember one day after school where we had to rip one page out of each yearbook before it was ready to go out to the student population. Your mother also inspired the rest of us to do our best and produce the best possible work we could.

    She loved all of you so much and talked about you in such glowing terms that I felt that knew each of you so well. Kathleen Mayse was pure love, a sensitive angel that lived among us. The years that I worked next door to her were the best of my teaching career.

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