Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Eulogy for Mother

A Eulogy for Mother
Frances Wauneta Beck Host Coughlin
October 1, 1922 to 5 May 2007

Ode to Frances by Julie Coughlin

It’s hard to believe that you’re gone.
It doesn’t feel like you should be.
It just doesn’t feel right.

I suppose I kind of thought you were invincible
But this reality hit me, and you weren’t.
In denial and crying,
I thought it was a nightmare.
A nightmare I couldn’t wake from.
But the nightmare is reality,
And still so hard to accept.

There’s a hole in our hearts,
Now that you’re gone.
We’ll miss you always,
And love you till our ends.

A big family,
We know you loved us all.
Not one person forsaken,
There was a place in your heart
For Everyone.

And even

Your kindness knew no boundaries,
Your love knew no end.

You were well-liked in the community,
And also a very good friend.
You were kind and polite to even those
Who were rude and selfish.

You helped others whenever you could,
Making smiles and happiness spread
Everywhere you touched.

I love you Grandma,
We all love you,
We’ll miss you always,
I hope now you’re with Grandpa,
In a much better place.

Sometime between 10 p.m. 4 May 2007 and 9:00 a.m. on 5 May 2007 our Mother died. She took her usual sugar reading at 1000 p.m., her usual routine; she would have then had a small snack to stabilize her sugar through the night, dressed for bed in gown and sleeping bonnet (she liked to keep her hair nice after Lowell’s girls made it so beautiful) and retired for the night in her favorite recliner chair. It’s been a long time since Mom slept in a bed. When she didn’t turn up for breakfast Saturday morning, the aides at Northwoods Commons went looking for her and found her peacefully passed on in her favorite chair.

This is a tribute to our Mother, Frances Wauneta Beck Host Coughlin.

Frances married Raymond Host in 1945 and they had a daughter, Jane Marie. The marriage did not last but the relationship with the wonderful Host family did, and they are represented here honoring that love and friendship.

On December 18, 1948 she married the handsome John Coughlin, the love of her life for 50 plus years. She missed him everyday for the last 7 ½ years since his death. They are now reunited in Heaven and I know that she is happy and smiling.

Mom inherited two wonderful stepchildren, Dan and Dolores. It took a long time to cement that relationship but she loved them and they ultimately returned that love. Frances and John had two children, Kathy Alice and Timothy Kevin, born five years apart and five years after Jane. It was almost like three separate families, but we had fun and spent lots of time with Mom and Dad’s families with lots of cousins, and aunts and uncles.

Her best friends over the years were her sisters and brothers, especially Lois, where we spent many fun days and wonderful meals with our cousins. Mom and Lois are together again and probably doing Toni home permanents on each other. Heaven is filled with the “holy odors” of curling hair.

Mom was a very smart lady and remained that way until the day she died. She was an avid reader and her favorite books were Romance novels because she says she learned about so many subjects and visited many far away places all based on real research. She leaves behind a legacy of hundreds of paperback novels. She says she skimmed over the racey parts.

She also enjoyed working number puzzles constantly which stimulated her mind and kept her brain young. She was a wizard at managing the household budget which was not large when we were growing up. Somehow she always had money for what was needed, whether an Easter dress and shoes, or a treat of Coney Dogs from Louie’s, or sandwiches from Crume’s dairy.

She was a tough and independent woman to the end – a true women’s libber though she did not work outside the home for most of her life. She lived the life of a libber taking care of everything while her husband worked out of town. Sometimes her tough independent nature was hard on those she loved and caused hard feelings on both sides, but we worked through those situations, and I believe we came out stronger for it.

There are two very amazing and admirable qualities about my Mother that I want to highlight. The first is that she never complained that her children didn’t visit often enough or long enough or call frequently enough. If asked, she simply said they have very busy lives and she understood that. We, of course must now suffer with the fact that we did not have more time, visits or phone calls before she left.

The second quality is that she continued to the end seeking to improve herself. This is so incredible to me. I guess I thought that at the age of 80 who would care about or be capable of self improvement-- but she did. She became a reader of self improvement articles, listening to Dr.Phil and preachers about love of self, love of God and love of neighbor. She talked to me about it each time I visited or we spoke on the phone. I think she felt that she had not lived up to what God expected and she was still working hard to change herself. We should all follow this example. Amen!

Now I want to lighten the moment with a few stories:

Tabatha’s Impromptu talk as summarized by Julie Coughlin:

Tabbi talked about how we all thought Grandma would be here forever. So, we wait just one more day to call or to stop by and visit. Well, a lot of us regret that because we didn’t call or visit when we thought of it. We took it for granted that Grandma would always be there. Tabbi said that from now on she, and she hopes everyone else, will take the time to call or to visit or to do, because that “I’ll just wait one more day,” well, that one more day might not be there. So, take advantage of what you want to do now before it’s too late.

Julie’s Story:

The story I would like to share isn’t exactly funny, but I always thought it was cute.
I was a child; I can’t really remember how old I was, I think 10 or so. But me, Mom, Dad & Grandma were at K-Mart so she could do some shopping.
Well, Grandma needed a new purse, and she was having trouble deciding, so she asked me to help. I picked out this white purse with multi-colored patchwork, & she loved it. She carried that purse for a really long time I think even till it fell apart. And every time I saw her, she would tell me how much she loved that purse. And for about 3-5 years after that, I became her official “purse picker.”

Jane’s Stories:

One of things that all three of us remembered was the trips to town-- on foot. Mom would walk to downtown to pay all her bills in cash and in person with one or more children in tow. We complained about the walking 10-12 blocks but we always stopped at the dime store after for treat of some sort. My favorite was the crumbly hamburger or the barbeque. Can any of you imagine walking 10-12 blocks to pay bills? It made her strong and kept her in shape. Now we need a gym to keep in shape.

Her granddaughters, Tabatha and Jennifer, remember her roving eye – all in good fun – but she loved the guys, especially Billy Ray Cirrus and David James Elliott, the hunk from JAG. One granddaughter even remembers Mom guy watching and cat calling. She loved the teenagers and always enjoyed a handsome guy. We got pictures of her favorites to tuck away with her-especially her # 1, John.

Feisty-- Mom was always feisty. Dad would say “now Frances just calm down.” One granddaughter’s boyfriend, Teresa, I believe, ran into Mom at the Doctor’s office and apparently things were not going well. The boyfriend tells that is one feisty lady; oh my God, I can’t believe that she is 80 years old.

One day Jordan was visiting Mom and Dad for the day. Dad and Mom were in the Eye Dr’s office; Jordan went next door and bought them both a Root Beer Float with his own money. Mom loved to tell that story – either because she was impressed or because she conned one of her grandson’s. Either way, she loved the story –guess you had to be there.

And last but not least, my favorite. As Mom got older it became more and more difficult to figure out what to buy for Christmas, etc. She had always been a music lover and so she decided a couple of years back that she wanted a CD player for Christmas. I searched for a really simple one that she could operate easily, mailed it off and when I arrived there in May to visit she sent it home with me because it was too difficult to operate. Score one for Mom. Last year she told me she wanted an electronic keyboard – a simple one. We sent the simplest one we could find. A couple of months ago she told me to take it home when I next visited and give it to my grandkids. I found it lying on her bed unopened. A month ago she told me that she thought she could handle a record player if I could find one for her 33 rpm records, and oh by the way, did I have the old 33s? Oh yes, and then there was the request for the MAGIC Bullet for her birthday—I had to draw the line on that one. Was I feeling like the “SUGARMAMA? Not at all – it was fun to buy her what ever she wanted even if she didn’t use it.
This prayer is one I found among Mom’s things in her apartment. It must have meant something special to her because she saved it. I would close with it.

Just for Today

Just for Today, Lord
I will live through the next 12 hours and not try to tackle all of life’s problems at once.
I will improve my mind. I will learn something useful.
I will not find fault with friend, relative or colleague. I will not try to change or improve anyone but myself.
I will have a program. I might not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two enemies—hurry and indecision.
I will do a good turn and keep it a secret. If anyone finds out, it won’t count.
I will believe in myself. I will give my best to the world and feel confident that the world will give its best to me.

I hope you have enjoyed these stories as I have enjoyed sharing them. Thanks for being with us today and thanks for honoring our Mom.

Jane Marie Host Deis Hunt


Julie Coughlin said...

First off, let me say who I am. I'm Julie, the 13th grandchild. Also author of the poem that I hope everyone who reads it likes.

I thought that at least some small summary of what Tabbi said in her speech should be posted, because what she said was indeed powerful and true.

I don't remember every word exactly, but here goes.

Tabbi talked about how, like I said, we all thought Grandma would be here forever. So we wait just one more day to call or to stop by and visit. Well, a lot of us regret that because we didn't call or visit when we thought of it. We took it for granted that Grandma would always be there. Tabbi said that from now on, she and she hopes everyone else will take the time to call, or to visit, or to do, because that "I'll just wait one more day," well, that one more day might not be there. So take advantage of what you want to do now before it's too late.

I may have tweaked that some with my own thoughts. I'm a writer, I love to write, so I can't help it. My brain just runs away with a train of thought sometimes.

Anonymous said...

In theory I' d like to write like this too - taking repeatedly and earnest endeavour to erect a good article... but what can I say... I delay alot and never have all the hallmarks to win something done.