Setting sail for Europe.

Setting sail for Europe.

My mom passed away last month. I felt compelled to speak at her funeral, the hardest public speaking event of my life (despite knowing it was the most sympathetic audience I’ll ever have). I feel compelled to share that here, too.

My eulogy spoke of what my mom gave me — besides life & good looks — and there are three main things:

  • Love of music. While she didn’t always love what she called my “blatt-blatt noise,” she did enjoy music, and would blast Edith Piaf and make me stop to appreciate it. She would also burst into song if what you said reminded her of lyrics.
  • Love of travel. She always told stories of her intrepid solo travels through Europe, of riding her bike (sometimes getting a ride to the top of mountains from truck drivers), of seeing new places, of making new friends. From a super young age, I knew I wanted to follow her traveling example.
  • Love of friends. Mom had friends from grade school, high school, Europe, church, her neighborhood. So many people, when I called to tell them about her passing, said, “We were going to meet soon for lunch.”

The really amazing thing, though, was that Mom’s love of friends included MY friends (and my sister’s and brother’s, too). Our friends were invited to dinners, to functions, to weekends in Sonoma. In this way, Mom expanded her family.

My mom gave love. And I hope to carry that forward, to be half the friend that Colleen was.

And a piece of advice from Mom: “Put on some lipstick. It will make you feel better.”