My Mother, My Best Friend…

My mother passed away on Friday, June 1st.  These past few days have been very hard for me and I know it’s not going to be easier for a long time.  I wanted to share the eulogy I read at my mother’s funeral.  She was so such an incredible person and I appreciate you reading this:


I can’t believe I’m standing up here today talking at my mother’s funeral. I thought my mom was invincible.  She was such a strong woman.  She had been through so much in her life and yet, she was always able to bounce back.

In her last years, my mother was like a fish out of water.  Could you even imagine not being able to breath?  Gasping for breath?  She couldn’t breath.  And that’s what eventually killed her and that is why my family and I decided to have all donations go to the American Lung Association in her memory.

She never complained. She didn’t feel well most of the time but with her happy upbeat demeanor, you wouldn’t even know. She cared about everyone.  But if someone did something to her or to her family, she would never forget and that would be that.  They were written off.

My mother was always my confidant.  I told her everything. Everything from the littlest detail to the most important thing to me.  I talked with her every day, sometimes more than once a day.

She was always interested in the things that I did and knew who all my friends were, especially at work.  She knew my entire staff and asked about them often.  She was the honorary grandma to them.

And talking about grandma, she was an amazing grandmother.  She loved all her grandchildren– Stefanie, Jessica, Raquel, Aaron, Zoey, Derek, Max, Ben and Jacob.  They lit up her life.  She knew everything that was going on with each of them and they could tell her anything.  She was a cool grandma. She was a very cool mother.

My fondest memory was my recent 50th birthday a few weeks ago. Since my folks moved to Florida nearly 15 years ago, I hadn’t celebrated any birthdays with her and it was her birthday too. (For those of you, who don’t know, my sister and I were born on the same day and my mother celebrated her birthday the day after.)

She had just gotten out of the hospital and was trying to recover.  There were hospice nurses round the clock and she was upset that we couldn’t go out to eat because of her breathing.

But I didn’t care. I was so happy to have spent my 50th birthday with my mom and dad.  It was so special.  We talked and laughed and just had a wonderful time doing absolutely nothing.  I will never forget it.

The night of my birthday, we were filming a video that mom and dad wanted to make for the grandchildren when Lori came in the door.  I was shocked but so excited that the three birthday girls could spend time together.  (And it was great to spend time with my brother, his wife Andrea and their kids too.)

I couldn’t have asked for a better 50th birthday.  It made me so happy to be with mom and dad.  We ate a lot of Cold Stone Ice Cream, Yummy delicious Publix birthday cake and I even made my mom a lopsided vanilla on vanilla cake for her birthday.

Before I left, I told a couple of the women in my office that I didn’t want to go to Florida because I felt like this was going to be the last time I saw my mother.  And you know what, it was.

I did book another trip this past weekend.  I booked it because I wanted Mom to spend some time with Zoey and Derek. The hospice doctors told me that the time was near but I tried not to believe them. We booked a flight for 5:30 pm on Friday.  But on Thursday, when I heard that Mom was so sick, I decided that I would change my flight.  As I was driving to the airport, my sister called hysterical. “I’m getting on your flight,” she said. “The nurse told me that if I want to say goodbye, I have to see her now.”

My sister, Jessica and I were on the plane.  I was sitting in a window seat when suddenly the sky became one big rainbow. I wondered what that meant. I just wanted to watch it.  I didn’t want my eyes to go off of it.  It was beautiful.  I flipped open my computer and turned on Facebook.  As I wrote about the rainbow, my mother came up on my friends list. I went to her page and wrote on it.

When we landed, the three of us got a ton of text messages. We were told that my mother passed when we were still in the air. We were devastated.  “My sister screamed out why couldn’t you wait for us?”

She didn’t wait but you know what, that’s okay because we said goodbye every day.  My last conversation was the day before when she told me that she couldn’t wait to see us and she told me that she was proud of me and that she loved me.

I was lucky to have my mother for 50 years.

Mom, you were my best friend.  I learned how to give and share from you.  You were always giving to those in need even though you and dad needed too.  We all learned how to love from you.  And we learned how to be strong, no matter what the obstacles were.

I often wondered what life would be without my mother?  And now I know… lonely.  A hole in my soul that I could never fill but yet, knowing that I have all of you here with me gives me some comfort.

Mom I love you with my heart and soul and miss you so much…..  Mom, I hope that air is no longer an issue for you and that you are in peace.


  1. Sziegler

    Absolutely beautiful, Hilary.  And I know how difficult this must have been to write and deliver while your heart was breaking. 

  2. Sharon Yamamoto

    Hilary, my heart goes out to you.  There is no doubt in my mind that the rainbow was your mom saying goodbye.  I’m so sad for you.  Thank you for showing this to us.  XOXO

  3. Abby

    What a beautiful tribute Hilary.  I remember when we were young and would hang out together at your home. It was clear then that your mom always had your back and truly loved all of you unconditionally…..

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