Eulogy for my Daughter

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


When someone we love commits suicide, I think people have a natural tendency to get angry, to rail against the universe, to demand an explanation where none exists. We blame the victim, the world, ourselves.

But I can’t do that. I can’t do that because even though I will never be able to wrap my mind around why Moe chose to end her life, I cannot allow anger and despair to overshadow how very grateful I am that she was my daughter; how her presence in my life enriched me and made me a better person. So I choose to celebrate her life, however short, and to remember her in the same way I saw her in life, with love and admiration.

And there was a lot to love to admire.  

My daughter was fierce. In all my life, I have never met another human being who had more conviction for doing what she thought was right and fair, consequences to herself be damned. She never hesitated to take a stand on moral grounds, or to stick up for the underdog. I loved this about her, and her courage inspired me to be more courageous.

My daughter had a stunning intellect. She read voraciously, all her life, right from the beginning. We would often see her moving through the house with her nose stuck in a book, to the point where we became a little concerned that she’d fall down the stairs from not watching where she was going. Books were her lifelong friends, and her love of reading was a cornerstone of who she was. She consumed information about her world with the curiosity of the elephant’s child, whether the topic was Dr. Who or social commentary on feminism in the modern age. And nothing made her happier than to share this passion with others.

My daughter had an amazing ability to care for and invest in other people. She was passionate about social justice. In spite of facing discrimination herself, she spent considerable effort in trying to see the world through the eyes of those who had less privilege. She cared about feminism, and the LGBT community, and those who couldn’t care for themselves. My daughter loved meat. Steak, bacon, sushi – she loved it all. But when she decided that eating animals was not an ethical act, she did not hesitate to become a vegetarian, because it was the right thing to do, even though it meant giving up something she thoroughly enjoyed. It’s who she was, and her ethical consistency and ability to sacrifice holds me to a higher standard, as well.

There was time when things weren’t easy between us. We both spent her teen years being angry and hurt. But as she approached adulthood, we turned a corner, and adopted the attitude that being right was not nearly as important as being family. I cannot express how profoundly grateful I am to have had the opportunity to rebuild my relationship with Moe on a foundation of trust, respect and mutual support, and I know she felt the same way. Getting to know one another as unique human beings with our own priorities and desires has been one of the most precious and sacred experiences of my life. I’m so thankful to have done this work, and to have done it with someone whom I love and admire so deeply.

I will miss my baby girl every day of my life. But I will remember her positively, in all her glory and uniqueness, in all her awesomeness. She really did march to the beat of her own tuba, and I’m grateful, utterly grateful, to have marched with her, however briefly.

I’d like to close with a quote from Winnie the Pooh:  "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

12 comments:

Stacey said...

That was lovely. I always looked forward to seeing Moe and will miss the sci-fi, cos-play and reading conversations. Fierce is a great word. My own fights against inequity have been revitalized by her. You - and SmartMan - gave her an environment of complete acceptability and that is truly priceless. I will smile each time I think about her.
Love and Hugs to you my friend.

She-who-must-not-be-named said...

Breathtakingly beautiful. I admire your strength. Lots of love. xoxo

Laura = ^.^ = said...

Thank you for letting us know her through you. It was a beautiful tribute.

Megan said...

You're all over my thoughts today.

usono said...

What Megan said.

That was beautiful, and I'm so sorry you had to give it.

Carol Elaine said...

Thank you for sharing that, Janiece. That's beautiful.

I love you, my friend. You're in my thoughts and heart today.

Womanji said...

I never met Moe, but from the beauty you wrote of I feel like I have met her in my soul.

You and the family are in my thoughts and prayers. Strength and love to you.

vince said...

That was a beautiful eulogy. I love you my friend, and you and the Smart Man are in my thoughts and prayers.

kimby said...

Beautiful words, for a time that is anything but. Much love to you my friend. You and The Smart Man are in my thoughts.

PaulM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PaulM said...

Janiece, I don't know you outside of Facebook or this blog, but I think of you as a friend. My heart aches with you. I cannot imagine what you're going through at this time, nor adequately express my deepest condolences for you inexpressible loss.

beatrice in Paris said...

Janiece, I don't know you outside this blog, but through it, I've got a glimpse of your family and it's a beautiful one. I can't add anything to what has alrady been said except "hang in there!"
Beatrice