The hardest thing I have done to date in my 44 years, was delivering my mother’s eulogy last month. I spoke out a letter in which my father had written to her, along with funny and happy stories of my sweet mother. I just got back from 10 days away in the mountains healing and processing the loss- and while still grieving, I’m finding much peace in knowing that she is free of that cruel disease that she battled for 4 years. What a blessing for her to be able to rest, and be back home in Heaven where she always talked about wanting to go one day.
Everyone reading this has likely lost someone they loved- that is nothing unique to me or my family. Loss is something we can all share about, and connect over, because the human experience is one that unfortunately requires we lose loved ones. Learning to process loss, and find peace in the beautiful memories is what will ultimately fuel us ahead, and allow us to help others as they go through it.
Dad and I shared a beautiful silver lining through my mom’s fight against Alzheimer’s- we’ve become best friends. We’ve worked out together, been to the beach, went to Spain (his first trip out of the country!), and learned pickleball together just in the last year! It’s been my biggest personal “win” to date watching him thrive and get healthier, all while losing the love of his life (48 years of marriage!). How beautiful and special- life can always surprise us. I see and feel how special that is…
My dad just asked me if I would drive with him to the beach in his red mustang that he and my mom loved (his retirement present from yours truly representing the same type of car he had when he picked her up for their first date 50 years ago), and spread her ashes over the ocean- her forever happy place. While I know this will be filled with emotions, happy and sad, I can’t wait to do that with him and honor the amazing woman who raised, nurtured, and encouraged me.
Thanks to you Mom, Dad and I sponsored a team in your honor at the Nashville Walk to End Alzheimer’s just a month before your passing, and we were the #1 team for raising money in our first official year! And guess what, we are going to make an even bigger mark this year to help others fight this cruel disease and find treatments and maybe even a cure one day. You would be so proud of us, and it’s all in your honor- we get to help others which is all you ever wanted to do, and did, your entire life. Mom, I love you so much and can’t wait to see you again one day!
So yes, I am committed and on fire to help spread awareness about Alzheimer’s, and to help others- friends, clients, strangers- as they encounter this with a loved one. So when you receive any invitations from me to a fundraiser, or our Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall, now you at least understand the “why” behind it and know that comes from a place of wanting to honor my Mother, help others, and find a way to slow down this disease.
I’ll leave you with this piece of advice, non-financial planning related, but much more important than any stocks or market commentary- Life is short, time is our most precious commodity, and if you are fortunate to have your parents (or any close family members) within reach, go squeeze them and tell them you love them. It’s never too late to heal together, or simply reminisce of old memories, or better yet, make some new ones!
Some highlights from my mother’s eulogy:
- I remember one time when she was having surgery, and my sister, dad, and I were there…I was always hungry and dad and I went to the cafeteria where I had a burger, ice cream, all the things. We came back to the room with my sister, and my mom woke up from surgery. First thing she said was “where’s David, has he eaten, he is always hungry”. My sister was so annoyed and snapped back, “David is fine, he is literally eating an ice cream cone right now and he’s also almost 40,” then rolled her eyes. That was my mom, always thinking of others' wellbeing, even when she was literally in a hospital bed.
- All I can say is that our mom was a saint to put up with my shenanigans- countless soccer games with muddy clothes, killing a bird accidentally with my first BB gun while she cried as my dad made me pick it up, witnessing me running after my truck rolling down the street after I thought I had put it in park- in my boxers; getting straight A’s but U’s in conduct every single time, and therefore never making the honor society because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut (drove her crazy), and I could go on and on…
- …then came my sister Lori to make mom’s life easier. Lori was the perfect little angel, never got in trouble, could do no wrong- and this drove ME crazy. I tried to frame her, anything possible to get her in trouble and it never worked- even when I convinced her to walk out half naked in a cowboy hat when she was about 2 years old when my parents had friends over for dinner. She didn’t get in trouble because she told my mom “my David made me do it” (adorable, right?).
- My mother went above and beyond to make sure we had what we needed and that we felt love and comfort daily. She was a blessing beyond measure and our aspiration to live up to. The relationship between our parents was one of a lifetime and one for a
storybook or a movie…we saw their love for each other daily and were inspired by their open love and respect for one another. Mom, you are loved and will be remembered as the rock of our family forever.