***The following is an excerpt from the eulogy I delivered at Sue's funeral, in October of 2013***
Sue and I, between the two of us, had 8 kids in 12 years. We were in the mothering trenches together and would talk on the phone pretty much daily, as we tried to figure out how to stay sane with all these kids. We would have long talks about how it was going to get easier, this baby or that baby would eventually stop crying so much, that toddler would get potty trained. Someday we would be able to use the bathroom in peace! We would make it!
One day she called me and said that her mother-in-law had told her a story about when her kids were little. She told me, “Every year on the first day of school she would go to Hudson’s and get herself a Maurice Salad to celebrate.”
The Maurice Salad became a symbol for us of the glorious day when our kids were older, were independent, and would go off to school for the whole day. We started making plans for our “Maurice Salad” days. One day she called me, all excited, because she found out that a local restaurant sold Maurice Salads. We cemented our plans. I would go out to lunch with her on the day her youngest started Kindergarten and she would go with me on the day Ben started.
When the kids were in school we would then be what we called “living the dream”. We would have a quiet house for a few hours and would be so much more patient and happy to be with our kids at the end of the day when they all came home.
I can’t count the number of times I would be having a really hard day, with crying kids, or feeling like I was failing as a mom, or I was just plain exhausted and she would say, Just think, only a few more years until we are going to get you that Maurice Salad and we will be living the dream! She encouraged me countless times at some of my hardest moments.
Well, the day her youngest started Kindergarten, Sue’s Maurice Salad day, our dad was very sick. We had no time for going out to lunch, I think she spent that day at the hospital with him, and she didn’t get to have her salad.
The day Ben starts Kindergarten will be in early September of 2014. When I go to have my Maurice Salad she will not be with me like we planned. We will not get to “live the dream” together like we always planned.
But, I am going to march into that restaurant that day in September, and I am going to get that Maurice Salad that we have been talking about for 12 years. (I might need some of you there for moral support) I am going to have that very important salad for both of us. Because I know she would be so proud of me for making it to Maurice Salad Day. And I will live the dream, but just in a different way. And I think she would be proud of that too. And I will look up to heaven that day and hope and pray that she is having her Maurice Salad too, and that she is living the dream too, just in a different way.
I will miss her always, I will love her always, and I will live my life in a way that would make her proud. I will torture her kids for her, and love them with all my heart, I will laugh as much as humanly possible, and know that there will never be another person like her in my life.