My mother passed away over eleven years ago. There is not a day that goes by that I don't missed her. "Harrietisms" pop out of mine and The Madonna's mouth a few times a day and they still make us laugh.
I have turned into my mother. I don't mind.
At my mothers funeral, I delivered the eulogy. Her friends asked me, how did you do that? It must have been so hard. To tell you the truth, it was not hard at all. I started writing hastily on a piece of paper around midnight the night before her funeral. They say you should write about what you know. Well, I knew Harriet. Everyone knew Harriet! I started remembering what people said to me when they came up to the casket during the viewing. Of the 1,200 people who signed the book, yes 1,200, their comments were going to be my eulogy.
Here is what I came up with:
Everyone has a Harriet story. Today, I want to mention a few that I heard over the last few days....... At least the ones I can repeat in church.
There are four things my mom loved in this world.
1. Her Husband
2. Her Kids
3. Her Grand kids
Not necessarily in that order.
She seemed to always make scenes in front of priests---Father, you know what I'm talking about don't you?
My Mother NEVER held a grudge.
She was a "child bride"
I believed that the gray streak in her hair was paint until I was 21.
She had hundreds of good times in Conneaut throughout her life. And who will ever forget the infamous "fall under the car"
She went to weight watchers and stopped after every meeting at Eat'n Park for a strawberry sundae.
She was responsible for getting all the guys at Quincy's Pub to quit swearing and watch The Guiding Light.
I guess now my sister and I have to learn how to wash and hang curtains.
She was the only person I know who believed OJ was innocent.
She was constantly telling my father he was hard of hearing when she couldn't hear herself.
She believed there was nothing like a good night at Zalewski's.
She honestly believed the Devinney boys were angels.
We were all sworn to secrecy about how she looked in a bathing suit.
How many times have we all heard my father yell "Good God Harriet"
She was every ones Aunt Harriet. Now even her great nieces and nephews friends call her Aunt Harriet.
You see, she wasn't just a Green or a Quinlan. She was a Devinney, a McGregor, a Gallagher, and an Olzak. She was a Piezak, a Flannery, a Neuch, and a Slemenda. She was part of everyones family.
I always thought if ones wealth is measured by friends instead of money, mom was a multi-millionaire.
I want to thank everyone here for being such good friends to her.
One of the nicest things I've heard over the past few days came from one of our old neighbors. This woman lived next door to us for about two years when she was 7 years old. She was now in her late 40's. When she read about mom's passing in the newspaper, she came to the funeral home because she just wanted us to know what a difference my mother had made in her life in the few short years they were neighbors. They were neighbors 35 years ago!!!
I want to leave you all today with one last thought. There is no need to worry about missing my mother. All of my life I've been told that my mother will never be dead as long as I'm alive. That surely is the best compliment I've ever been told in my life. If I can be half the person she was, or have half the amount of friends in my life then I'll die a millionaire too.
Harriet Green Quinlan
Dec. 14, 1929 - January 19, 2000
As we say in the Quinlan Family: "Be dood to yo muddel Modwet". (Translation: Be Good To Your Mother Margret) Happy Mothers Day.
*Note: The woman I mentioned above who said my mother made such a difference, we lived next door to them when her little brother was dying of polio. My mother helped her mom while he was sick. Jimmy died when he was 5. My father was a pal bearer.