Eulogy at my mom’s funeral… a strong Haitian woman
Thank you for your love, support and prayers today but most importantly for these past few years as my mom struggled with Alzheimer. Though she lost her memory, she did not lose her joy, her sense of caring, her smile… this is evident by the legacy she has left behind and recently demonstrated by the many nurses I met at Villa Belle Rive. On Sunday evening, their testimonies were a blessing to our family and reaffirmed for us her true inner beauty.
Where did this strength, joy, love come from? It was not easy… My mom, born Fleurise Bouzi in Les Cayes, Haiti on February 7, 1918 received the name of her grandmother. Her mother was Emelise Pierre and her father Thomas Bouzi. She had three brothers and one sister. Her sister Bella Bouzi who is 95 years old and lives in New York City survives her. While still a teenager, her father passed away, years later her mother Emelise also passed away leaving at that time three children William, Bella and my mother. William and my mother were sent to a caretaker. My mother spent her initial years in Haiti and then in a convent that took her to Curacao (Soeurs Salesiennes) where she lived with the nuns and considered becoming a nun as well… of course, this was before she met my father Anibal Pierre who swept her away! J They were married and lived in Curacao for a while and returned with me to Haiti. Later after the passing of my dad, she left Haiti and settled in New York. In New York, my mother did odd jobs that included cleaning homes, as a factory worker, etc. She later became a nurse’s aide at Montefiore Hospital. I believe that during these years I learned a valuable lesson from my mom …the meaning of providing for your family. As a single parent, my mom worked hard and still found time to assist others, go to baseball games, and attend wrestling matches at Madison Square garden every week in NYC, we were never in need of anything. Her days began at 4:30AM; she traveled for two hours by train and bus to get to the Bronx for work. She did this for nine (9) years and was never late. A legacy of hard work, commitment, consistency, self-improvement, inner strength is what she has passed on to her children. Her grand children; Cedryck, Jonathan, Danielle, Savannah should try to emulate these attributes.
Her “Quiet Determination” and “Simplicity” I believe comes from modeling a life after this verse in Psalm 23: “ L’Eternel est mon Berger, rien me sera manquer ou Tu me conduis…” “1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. “ My mother was our shepherd and a great example for our children and us.
Selfless caring and giving
Provision of a safe home
Faith in God, a woman of prayer
Positive, joy, friendship
Though at times I am certain she was tired, disheartened it was never noticed or disturbed our lives.
To the single mother, grandmother please never waver in your tasks as mother to your children. In simplicity, there is strength. By demonstrating your faith in God you will share with your children the importance of leadership, for if you decide to follow God, put Him first, your children will do the same no matter how long it takes.
To the worker (anyone), she taught us to be consistent, repeatable… never late attitude; failure was not an option, never to give up.
A protective spirit. My mom provided all for us, we were not rich but we learned that we could attain anything if we try and believe that it is possible. My mom was always available even when she worked 2 hours form home. We grew up understanding the importance of staying connected, to be available, to lead in simplicity.
My mom was the strongest woman I know. I remember how I used to watch her leave our home at 4:30AM to wait for the bus to start her journey to work… never complaining about the weather and never sick.
My mother leaves a legacy of inner joy that has been difficult for me to understand until today. As I shared with you, her teenage years or as a young adult would be described as a difficult one nowadays however, out of what appears on the surface to be painful brought forth a constant song, forgiveness, care, friendship, love.
My mother was discerning, like a shepherd she knew before we did what was good , wrong for us (she would tell us always to be careful.. hr favorite line was “Prier Veiller” “pray and be watchful”.
My mother was “detailed oriented” if you knew her, you remember that she saved everything; somewhere in a box was an important piece of paper, her passport, our papers etc. A few dollars was always available somewhere in her room. She prepared for trips months in advance; she had a keen knowledge of her TV programs, baseball, wrestling schedules, the news, soaps etc… Her towel, perfume was always ready. She saved new dresses, clothes, shoes, etc for months and sometime years before wearing them… always saving for a “special occasion”.
As my mom leaves us physically, I know that she is now with the Lord. Not because I wish it but simply because she has accepted Christ Jesus as her Savior (and, Shepherd). She was not perfect but she knew where her strength came from, she learned from Him the simplicity of Life, the importance of being steadfast and to be responsible. Her legacy is one of faithfulness to her children, consistency in all that you do. Moreover, to be a positive force without the use of many words.
Mom, we love you, you are now resting, not gone, for when I look into the eyes of all you have touched during your years on Earth I still see you… today we are sad to say goodbye but as you have taught me we will continue to pray and be watchful until we meet again. You have taught my sister and me a great “life lesson” one that allows us to know for sure (and understand) that we will see you again with a new body in Heaven…
Au Revoir Manman!