I haven't updated my blog in over a week because things have been very hectic. Patsy died last Monday, very early in the morning. I only found out when I came home from stage that evening, so it was rough, because I knew that it had probably happened sometime that day, but I didn't know any details. It is a crying shame but it was for the best I think because she is in a better place now... Of course, it hasn't sunk in that she has gone for me, even after seeing her yesterday at the funeral. It is all so surreal and I imagine it will be like that for a while. I told Patrick yesterday how I could still hear her voice so clearly in my mind. Every time I think of a memory of her, she is just there, beside me. It's strange to explain, and I didn't think it would feel like this, but I suppose that is what it's like to loose someone you were close to. It is the first death of somebody that I was very close to, aside from my grandfather, but I was too young to remember much of that experience.
I also had a mole removed the morning that Patsy died, so a week ago now, and I was super freaked out at the sight/sound of a blade near my body after having spent the previous night in the hospital for several hours. Anyways, the procedure went well, so nothing to worry about there. It has been more the emotional strain, plus having to juggle all the prep of school with all the prep of funeral arragenments and such that were taking place over the last week.
The funeral was very nice and so many people came. We are lucky to have such supportive friends, neighbors and relatives. It was a great turnout, and so many people sent beautiful flowers, too many in fact! But it was very thoughtful of everyone. The clencher for me was when Patrick made a speech... I had read it beforehand and knew that I would ball my eyes out, and sure enough, I did. He started crying during it, so of course that just set me off. And then towards the very end of the service, they played "Spirit in the Sky" and Patrick went up to the coffin to say his final goodbyes.... oh my God, I've never been so touched in all my life.
I will leave you with Patrick's words that he dedicated to his mother yesterday, they say it all...
On behalf of my family and I, I’d like to thank everyone for being here today to celebrate the life of my mother, Patricia Luce.
There is no need to talk about how young my mother was when she passed away or the suffering that she endured, what I would like to talk about is the way my mom choose to live her life when faced with the greatest of adversity possible.
She lived life as if there was no alternative but to live. That the choice to give up did not exist, that there was no other way to live but to keep on being alive. And she lived each day finding the joy and beauty in the simple things in life, not because she was forced to enjoy them like most would feel, but because she choose to truly appreciate what she could take from living in the moment.
In part what I would like to offer to you is a small insight to the great gifts my mother has left with me, and perhaps they can leave a meaningful imprint with you as well:
In my mom’s last weeks, she said that “Even under the same roof we can all be strangers if we don’t take a moment to appreciate one another”. And she took every moment she had to make sure we knew she appreciated us. She found value not just living life through the motions, but acting in ways that made people know she loved them: every time we would be close to her, for whatever reason “out of the blue” that she could think of, she would not hesitate to wrap her arms around us and say “I love you”.
Even in her last hours she cared so much about the well being of others, that she had the strength to crack a joke or two, around family and loved ones, while not even having the physical strength to swallow properly. Thinking back on it now, what courage, bravery, and love must that have taken!
Many of us question, what is to happen to me when I pass on? Where will I go? And what will my legacy be?
For me, my mom’s legacy lives on deeply, not in memorials and trust funds, but in me, my sister, my brother, and certainly my father, and perhaps everyone that had a chance to see my mother live, whether she was battling cancer or not. In a way her passing has made my life clearer and more tangible in many ways. When faced with adversity I ask myself, what would mom do, what would mom want me to do, and as if by some special connection that can never be undone, her voice shines through, her qualities, and strengths to overcome all of her adversities in life are reminded to me, and the problems I deal with in life become so manageable. For me my mom’s legacy lives on in me forever, when I take the time to appreciate every kind and unselfish act she has ever done, and of course taught me.
As for what is to happen to me? And where will I go?
I will share some personal insight from my mom that gives me strength that life and death are not such unknown things.
Growing up with my mom I have had the privileged of discovering that my mom possessed a special gift. The ability to see bits of the future in dreams. I know for some this may seem a little difficult to believe or perhaps for other it has maybe happened once or twice, but with my mom I have witnessed at least a dozen of these premonitions come true. Some of her premonitions where comical, like someone losing their false front teeth, and some were very deep, like knowing a loved one was ready to pass on, and although my mom never embraced this gift, it’s ability was always very apparent and obvious throughout my life. These dreams would come randomly, and she would talk about them a little, and days or weeks later the event would happen, for some strange reason this was just something we learned to accept, that was just part of who my mom was. This in itself could be very meaningful just in and of itself, however there is much more. When my mom gave birth to my sister there was vast number of complications, but among them was the fact that she almost died while giving birth. Without going into great detail about the experience, I would like to share with you a very special experience my mother described during that moment:
She said that when she lost consciousness from a severe complication while giving birth to my sister, she felt her soul leaving her body, and rush that felt like pure bliss, and warmth all around her, she clearly saw the white light, and even saw deceased family members. She said the experience was so pleasant that she found it difficult to not leave, the only thing that allowed her to stay focused to return to her body, was her desire to not leave her daughter alone in this world without a mother.
Later on I learned that she also had a similar experience when she was very young. You may take what you will from this, but for someone to have actually lived many years with my mom and having experienced these things, I can tell you that in my heart my mother is in a much better place now. And that her life was such blessing, and that only now in her passing I can truly realize it.
It is unfortunate that most of us are creatures of such comfort and habit, that we only realize the value of something when it is gone. And of course I am no different. There are times in the past that I truly wish I could have taken more time to do things with my mom, or have been a better son, but those thoughts fade when I realize, they won’t do my mom’s passing justice. Those thoughts won’t allow me to pass on her legacy, her lessons of life, which she not only spoke of but proved to me through her own actions.
So in closing I would like to leave you with two of these lessons that I believe are quite profound and meaningful:
The first being; never hold anger for anyone, it is waste of time, energy, and ultimately you forget to love those you care for most.
And the second is, never believe you can’t do something.
I believe these two beliefs allowed my mom to live almost 8 years beyond what the doctors expected.
Imagine if we were to allow ourselves to have the same beliefs, what could we achieve in our lives?
My sincere thanks to everyone here in body and spirit.