I sat watching a beautiful young woman in the front of a crowded church. She was poised, graceful—and heartbroken— delivering the eulogy for her elegant and talented mother, Alison Golway Jaurique, who died last week, too suddenly and too soon.
Alison was a neighbor; I knew her only casually until her daughter Lauren opened a window and let us see the texture and the treasure of her life. Her life was not famous; but it was full: full of what is available to each of us. Sweaters she knit. Stories she told. Meals she cooked. All the moments that make up the memories for the people we love.
Death is cruel no matter what; for me this memorial brought a particularly sharp stab of pain– watching a daughter express her love and sorrow. I couldn’t help thinking of my younger self, of my mother’s funeral, of words I wished I could have said about her– even in the silent reaches of my heart.
I never got a chance to bear witness to the magnificence of my mother. Even if I had the opportunity, I don’t think I could have come up with words as exquisite as those of Lauren Klein-Baltazar. I don’t know her; but her words have stayed with me, and I thought I would share some of them:
Our mother was a movie star, our north star and our heart. She was born an angel, close to fairies, to God, to the true and deep source of love in the universe, to all that is good and divine and childlike and beautiful. The most important thing to remember about her is that she was different. She was kind beyond the realm of most people’s capacity. She was never judgmental, and found the good in everyone she met. She closed her last journal entry, with the refrain that she and her brother Stuart shared: “to be in the world, but not of it”. She was not of the world. Our mother had a sparkle, and a gentle aura that separated her from the sober and literal restraints of the world. She was our very own Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and also Beatrix Potter and A. A. Milne.
She was a quiet elegant beauty. She lit up any room, without saying a word, and without ever realizing her effect. She had the kind of innate classic charm, and elegance that the world reveres, but only few carry. She was also an intent observer, a highly talented artist, an intellectual and a powerful dreamer. She had the God given talent of transforming anything life gave her into something beautiful…spaces, canvases, journals, paper and pencils, a tiny dish of trinkets, balls of yarn.
Her artistry knew no bounds. Her drawings were perfect representations, and seemed to float off the page…… There wasn’t anything she couldn’t create.
Libraries were cathedrals to our mother. Our mother truly believed that “The unexamined life is not worth living”, and she read thousands of books throughout her life. A pile of books by her bed, and rooms with full bookcases were always a fixture in her home…
We will miss you mom, as we would miss a missing limb. It is so hard to breathe without you. It is so hard to think of our future without you, to eat, to smile, to be… without you. Every minute reminds us of you, every heartbeat of our own aches for you. We will never be the same without you, and we wonder how the world can spin without you…but we will live without you…to make you proud…..