Eulogy for Carolyn Davies (1937-2014)

This is the eulogy that my dad, Steven Davies, wrote for his mom, my Grandma, Carolyn.

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My mother was crazy.  I do not say this as insult or with any judgement and ask you not to take offense on her behalf.  I say this to put into context what comes later that you may see it as I have come to see it for all of its sparkling brilliance.  My mother was crazy.  Her world was not as ours.

In her world, Angels hovered just out of sight — smiling, and demons lurked behind every corner — plotting.  In her world, the vast battle of good and evil was being fought on the most basic level, about the most trivial things but, with our help, good can always win.  In her world, crystals were a strong defense against the dark powers, flower essence can change your day, and the right vitamins could heal any sickness.  In her world, the keys to a clean house, losing weight, financial solvency, or just keeping track of your stuff were in a dozen or so unread books sitting in a pile somewhere in her house.  In her world, catalogs were a window into a safer, funner, more comfortable, or convenient life.  In her world, there were never enough stationary supplies, flash lights, or umbrellas.

She made no secret of the abusive horror of her upbringing and perhaps that broke her, making our reality just not available to her.  What it also did, however, was to create a magnificence that I am still coming to understand.

She was brilliant at perhaps the one thing that ever really matters.  She was a genius at Love.  I want to teach you what she taught me about love.  Love is patient, kind, gentle, selfless, generous, warm, bottomless, respectful, ferocious, and unyielding.  She loved without reservation or hesitation.  Her love obligated no one but herself.  My mother loved with her whole being.  This is not a love the ignores fault or denies failing.  She saw right through it, to the victory she was absolutely sure that was waiting for you on the other side of this moment of weakness and suffering.  She was brilliant at knowing, really knowing and believing, that you are doing your best and knowing you can do better.    She loved her children, her grandchildren, her clients, her friends, and her care takers.  She loved her husband – then her ex-husband, and loved his wife for loving him better than she could.  Her love wasn’t about her, and it wasn’t about us.  It was who she was.  I think she filled up the cracks of her brokenness with God’s love, then took every opportunity to flex herself and let that love shine.

I have continued to see her in her decline as she slowly lost everything.  She forgot her life, she forgot her clients, her friends, her homes.  She slowly forgot her children, and her grandchildren.  Then she forgot me.  Sometimes she saw me as her father, or her husband, and sometimes, I was her son.  She never forgot to be kind to the people around her.  She never forgot that no matter how much pain she was in, or how scared she was, these people were people who needed love and kindness just like she did.  But even when she forgot everything, even when the world of her craziness overwhelmed her and she did not know who to trust, she trusted what I have trusted.  She trusted in her love and she never forgot that she loved me.   She never forgot the only thing ever worth remembering.  Love.

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