Our community lost two lovely women in the past several days, Joan Cutler and Beatrice Bruce. They were both strong and interesting and delightful people, but I was mainly struck by the comments I heard about their attributes as mothers.
With permission, I include here the eulogy from Beatrice's daughter Jane about her mom. It is an eloquent expression of that point.
In the past couple of years I have found myself talking with many women about my mother. I inevitably ask them if they are close to their mother and an answer that I get a lot and don’t really understand is, “It’s complicated."
Complicated is the last word that I would use about my relationship with my mother. It is as simple as could be. It is pure love.
My mother was never overwhelmed with the desire to have children. She told me that she never felt that maternal urge. After a brief marriage at 21, she and my father met, and they married when she was 31. When years went by and no babies came, it didn’t bother her a bit. She enjoyed her life with my father.
She gave birth to Alice when she was 38, and as she was leaving the hospital she waved goodbye to the nurses and jokingly said, “See you next year!” Sure enough, she was back in the same place thirteen months later giving birth to me.
With all the great things that my mother was and with her many accomplishments, motherhood was the role she was born to play. She used to say, “I’m the fiercest tigress in the jungle when it comes to my children.” Which doesn’t mean she was likely to take my side in any disputes with “authority figures” such as my teachers. She almost always sided with the teachers, and I WAS usually up to no good. It was very tough to put one over on Mommy.
All phone conversations between my mother, father, Alice, and me have always ended with the words “I love you." When Danny and I first fell in love, we played the “I love you more” game that I think all new couples play -- and as a newlywed of 8 years, I’ll admit that we still play it on occasion. A couple of years ago I was ending a phone call with my mother and when she said, "I love you." I said, "I love you more." She said "MORE???" as if it was a word she didn’t recognize. Again she said it in the same questioning tone, "MORE???" Then after a couple of seconds she said, “Don’t you know? There is no MORE."
A few years back we were talking about friendships and “best friends," and she said “I grew my own best friends." She wasn’t trying to be clever, she was just stating fact. And she will be my best friend forever. I love you Mommy.