My Nana passed away two weeks ago. Her impact on my life and the person I’ve become was profound. With permission, I am sharing my Aunt Karen’s eulogy, which she read to family and friends the day we laid her to rest.
Thank you all for being here to pay tribute to, and celebrate the life of, my mother, Mary Tracy. Special thanks to my family that has traveled from afar, back and forth, and to all of those at Maplewood at Orange for their unending devotion and loving care for Mom and their support of all of us during the difficult times over the years. And to my sister, Kathy, words cannot express my gratitude. Your consistent care for both mom and dad was inspiring…and while not always easy, you never backed down or gave up. You helped hold our family together, honoring traditions and creating new reasons to gather, as she was no longer able to do so.
My mother was a force of nature, fierce before the most recent revival of the concept. Over the past 2-3 days, people have expressed admiration and wonder after reading her obituary: “I had no idea she was so involved in her community,” or “Wow, she sure was an accomplished woman,” and “What a full, dedicated life she led.” What one might easily overlook when scanning just a sampling of the things mom was involved in was that she did all of it while raising five children. Reflecting over these weeks, I realized that if asked to describe her in one word, I would say “service.” And Mom did not just leave us at home while doing these things! I can speak to her always bringing me and Kathy along, teaching us the value of civic duty.
One memory is the Hike for West Haven, a fundraiser for something in the city back in the late 60s, early 70s. I was maybe 7 or 8 and there I was with her, walking what seemed like the entirety of the city, mile after mile! Afterwards she taught me how to roll coins for the first time and looking back now, I understand how important those lessons were, how they lodged into my being… forming my understanding of what it meant to be part of a community. My family was fortunate. Even as both my parents worked hard and raised us all in a small, unassuming house, we had all we needed. And while I didn’t realize it at the time, mom taught me the importance of connecting with those around us and sharing the responsibility of upkeep and service for the wellbeing of all.
Over the past few years, I’ve re-engaged with my own community. Initially through my local animal shelter and more recently, with some political activism. Mom was always interested in what I was doing and shared with me recently, “I wish I was younger and could get out there and do something.” Perhaps that is her legacy to us all… When we see something that needs attention, don’t wait for anyone else to address it. You be the one.
My mother was a woman of core values and lived with personal integrity and responsibility. She was dedicated to God, her family, and her community. She was driven, committed, and claimed her agency, living a purposeful life with self-determination. And she was loyal. People depended upon her and she was always there.
Rest peacefully now, Mom. We are all blessed. Everything, everywhere, everyone – we are better because you were here. Your life truly made a difference. I’ve read, “This life on earth should be largely a preparation for the eternal life to come.” Mary Tracy was well prepared. I am so grateful you were my mother and I miss you so.
“I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.”