Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Eulogy

Dear Mom,

Approximately one month ago, I was also drafting a letter to you. However, that letter was to you and Dad as an expression of my gratitude for the gifts that you have given me and the beautiful wedding that was about to happen. That letter flowed to the paper almost seamlessly. This one, however, I am convinced, will not.

As I stand here today, it is hard to believe that I have lived for three days without my best friend. And, even more difficult to believe, is that I last heard you tell me you loved me at 8pm last Friday night.

Throughout my short 29 years, I was amazed by you on a daily basis. Each day, you strived to make a difference. As an instructor at Barton, you taught your students the value of hard work, the importance of responsibility, and the necessity of communicating well. Many of them learned the hard way that it was Mrs. Barrows’ way or no way. Students that doubted you soon learned that grades in your class would be earned and that whining would not be tolerated. Many of my favorite stories were about those that thought they could get something past you… was always amazing to me the incidence of printer breakdowns and computer crashes by your students surrounding finals week…I sure hope that none of those students went into IT. You challenged your students to be the best writer that they could be and rewarded their efforts. You also believed in those who just needed the confidence of another to be a good writer. Your greatest joy was seeing the ‘underdog’ succeed. You treasured those students that were working hard both in and out of your classroom, whether that was raising a family or working two jobs to pay for school.

When it comes to Barton though, I am a little curious about one small detail now. Who is going to teach the athletes? If you aren’t there to take attendance and hold them accountable, I am not sure who will. I doubt that any of the other instructors would pull an athlete off the basketball bus on their way out of town because he didn’t get his paper turned in. For those of you that don’t know that story, he finished the paper and they were able to leave……about 2 hours later.

Barton was not the only place that you strived to make a difference. I firmly believe that the doors of Rush County Memorial Hospital would not be open if it wasn’t for you. Since being selected for the board almost ten years ago, you have made incredible strides. You fought valiantly to keep the doors open and to keep the hospital operating in the black. You also worked to increase the salaries of the help and reward their hard work. To your credit, construction will soon begin on the remodel of the facility. To me, however, your greatest legacy is the CT scanner that was purchased. I remember helping you decide which model you would need and encouraging you about how much that would benefit the community and help to create revenue for the hospital. It was only fitting on Saturday afternoon, that you got a CT in YOUR scanner before being life flighted to KU.

However, the greatest difference that you made was in your life at home. Each day, Dad and I both knew that we were loved unconditionally. As I said at the wedding, your love for Dad was a love for all times. In fact, you were thrilled that I selected “Through the Years” for your dance with Dad because you felt it was the most fitting of your love story. I would have to agree. The hardest thing about your love story to watch however was on Monday. I sat there as Dad held your hand and looked at me and told me that he didn’t know how he was going to do this because he has never done anything without you.

As you know, you were my best friend. It’s only fitting that I am having an incredibly hard time trying to find the words to express what I feel right now. If I were writing a paper, you would tell me to get out the Family Word Finder…. Unfortunately, that’s not going to help. As a mom, you led by example. You taught me to fight for what I believed in, despite opposition, and to argue fairly. You helped to teach me the importance of community involvement and social responsibility. But the greatest gift, other than snuggling, was teaching me how to love. As you know, I love Bryce with my whole heart, and I am able to do that because you modeled how to do that in your own marriage. You loved me when I made poor choices and supported as I worked through them. You never let me down…..I occasionally got frustrated with your persistence, but you were only looking out for my best interests.

Each day is going to be a struggle for while….and I am going to miss a lot about you and even some of your habits.

I will miss:

Talking with you everyday on my way home from work.

Going to see Steve and Paige at Nordy’s with you.

Listening to you tell me that you have nothing to wear and that we need to go shopping so you have something to wear to school.

You putting a cool rag on my head when I have a migraine.

Calling to read me some of those horrid papers and laughing together.

Hearing you tell me that Bryce is a ‘gem’

Knowing that I can only call during time outs and half times of KU basketball games

Driving in the car with Dad and hearing you tell him that he needs to focus rather than gawk at the real estate.

Listening to your speech about how we all make choices.

The Snapple rattle in the back of your Lexus because you could not be without it.

Finally, I would like to share part of an email that I received in the past few days. My mom worked with Coach Bechard while he was at Barton. He is currently the Head Volleyball Coach at KU.

Mary Barrows was special to me because:

She saw potential in everyone, and demanded they demonstrate that potential.

She always CONTRIBUTED more than she CONSUMED, the outcomes of her students were far more important to her than any credit she may receive.

She was committed to her values, she was consistent, and she was fair.

She had a great sense of humor, a sparkle in her eye, which always made you wonder what was coming next.

She taught many of my former players, she taught my son, she made them better people, she made us all better!!

We’ll miss you Mary.. We love you… Rest in Peace

Mom, I can assure that I will keep the promises that I made to you in the final days and months of your life. I promise our children will have lots of books and I will always take care of the Buckaroo.

Well, Mom, I best let you get to work. I heard you were making a list on your index card of all you need to get fixed in heaven.

Thank you mom for making me the woman and writer I am today. I love you.



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