What is a eulogy for if the person for whom it is meant cannot even hear? What good is a good word when its goodness is not received? What reason is there for praises when the subject of such praises no longer has reasons to enjoy praise? They are past their lives and surpassed their existence. Yet the oddities and oxymoron of human rituals remain late in reacting, posthumous in recognizing, and slow in appreciating the actuality of life.
“If only…..” is the usual opening for those who wish they were there. “I would…” is the fantasy of wanting without the chance of really doing. And “I should have…..” is a regret of failing to do when the opportunity to do so was an open door.
Today is Mother’s Day, a day when greeting cards flood our eyes with verses about everything good that our mothers did. But by the time this reaches the readers view, it would have already been a week since we have had our Sunday brunches in honor of the greatest women in our lives, ladies who carried us for nine months, females who survived the biological turmoil of our own growth. Bouquets would have withered, greeting cards filed and gifts with tinseled paper all unwrapped and kept in shelves.
“Happy Mother’s Day Mommy!” I whispered while my thoughts wisped across a window through the shadows of an open sky, the light that lingers and links both space and time between souls that are parted with a relentless urge to reduce the distance that demolished so many chances for human joy. “Happy Mother’s Day Mommy! I miss you” Then tears took hold of a silent solitude.
For many of us with more than five decades in age, mothers are either gone or are at the verge of leaving. Their departure, a one-way journey towards somewhere we are ignorant about. Many of us have unfortunately failed to take hold of every possible moment to show gratitude for the so many gifts our mothers gave us. We have provided the excuses of our responsibilities and the alibi of our family needs. We procrastinate with the thought that we could do more next year, maybe even better two years from now, and perhaps the very best three or five years later. Yet we did not do. So nothing happened. Nothing at all.
Eulogies are for the living. “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy” Say it while she is still there. Say it often. Say it while her mind is intact, while her memories are still alive, and while the ability to smile has not yet left the wrinkles of her face. Greet her while you can, for she deserves a daily greeting not contrived by commercial trappings. Praise her with the sincerity that opens a heart like petals that gradually disrobe a flower from its naked beauty. Right there, beside her old chair, close to the beaten couch, together with the crumbs of the kitchen table, recall every detail of what makes her happy, of what she did that made you who you are. Do it now while the sun has not yet set, while the air is still cozy and while words are still fresh.
Eulogies are for the living. There is nothing we can offer for the dead. Our attempts to simulate it are sheer rituals that compensate our short falls. They are palliative measures that ease our pain, remedies for our regrets, sugar for our guilt. No amount of praise or thanksgiving, no matter how grand or eloquent can ever reach the ears of the departed. The echoes of those lovely words are for our benefit and the uplifting of the lonely among the crowd, those who cared to share the pang of our tears.
“Happy Mother’s Day Mommy. I can only pretend that you are here, believe that you can hear, and imagine that you are near. I know you are gone, but I cannot let you go. And in so doing, I come back to my own reunion: the gathering of my pain with my shortfalls and my failures. Two phrases, so commonly heard ring around my ear: “Let it go and Move on”. I may desire to move on, but letting go would be tough. How can I let you go when I know that the thought of your presence was what helped me persist and survive through the challenges and obstacles of my own insignificance? How can I let you go when you are the only mother who helped me love books while you read us to sleep and the only one who forced me to write letters, the outcome of which was my penchant to scribble verses and compose my essays. How can I let go of the tenderness that soothed my troubled soul when I was an adolescent searching for my own road? How can I let go of your smile that took away my aches when I stumbled as a kid? I will not and I refuse. For those are not the things I will need to let go. I will let go of all regrets for there is nothing more than I can do to reverse what I have not done. Instead, I will extend my thoughts to others so to deliver them from the same regrets of not doing what they can. I will not let go of my belief that you are here, but I will let go of the fact that I can no longer see you; for the truth of seeing is beyond the vision contained in our eyes. The continuity of our lives is not limited to the palpable and tangible realities we are afforded by the transitory state of our existence. Our lives, both past and present will always be linked by a future we do not know, a future we cannot understand. This lack of ability to know and to understand is not a curse of human limitation, but rather a blessing because it forms the beauty of hopeful expectations, the ability to accept that anything is possible. And it is for this blessing that I can let go and will let go of my regrets, for such regrets are shackles that impede me from moving on and going forward. I can only believe that you can hear me and wish that you can forgive me. But I need to forgive myself as God has forgiven sinners. And then I can move on. Happy Mother’s Day Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day to you!”
I looked out to my window. Clouds are gray. Rain drops trickle on the pavement while joggers, walkers and dogs still move around, dashing through water, briskly passing through the puddle of mud and wet dirt. Eulogies are for the living although we utter them for the dead. Memories of old times are tools that shape our future as the past comes disguised with the latest mask. Reflections reveal reveries. Sometimes I wonder, how would my eulogies be like…..?