Tuesday, October 17, 2006
# Posted 5:49 AM by Patrick Belton
EULOGIA, 17 OCTOBER, 2006.
Let me tell you about my mother.
With like words have I entertained drinking companions, cemented friends and frightened second dates. No acquaintance of mine has passed into friendship without their utterance, nor sojourn far from these walls lacked for their bardic mention.
In an equation of existence, we defined each other, a trope of art and religion, my mother-Penelope to and from whom my own odysseys arced.
These days and more have I been hearing of the pride my mother nursed in me her son. Well, I believe it time to let everyone know, to announce to the very arches of heaven, how proud I am of my mother. So let me tell you about my mother.
Let me tell you about my mother, who was a stunner. Those who had at any point in her life seen her will agree, mothers the like of mine are an apology for Oedipalism. Her glories, May Courtdom, regnance as homecoming monarch amongst a court of lesser butterflies, a youthful modelling career, have been rehearsed already. Yet it is a Newtonian truth, a matter of first principle in scientific charting and exploration of my mother's life, of my mother's self-effacement before others. Like charity itself, to which word my mother in herself gave flesh, she suffereth long, [and] is kind; she envieth not; she vaunteth not herself, is not puffed up.
Let me tell you about my mother, who was loving, and who was generous. When the last time she and I would speak, I suspecting the time for such professions not far off, exhausted my universe of reference recounting for her my love for her, she replied simply, 'I love you more.' What was Fred, my teddy ursine become signature stroke for which mother was known, heart worn upon still better yet his nose, but an icon of love. She left, as ciphers of her affection, about her garden, stone bunnies for me, cats for her sister Laura, to discover after she was gone and read, correctly, as love letters. I have, these days and more, been hearing tidings of secret generosity from employees, friends, beneficiary associates within this their, and my, church, let[ting] not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret. Let me tell you about my mother who was love. Yes, let me tell you about my mother.
Let me tell you about my mother, and her mischievous sense of fun and humour, who was not only a Saint, to her den-maternal status within my second cherished school community next door, but could laugh heartily with such sinners as me.
My mother, who in her tenure as executive secretary to the aluminium stars of Reynolds Metal, chanced once during a lunch break upon what I believe in consecrated space I must refer to as a lad's mag, property of her immediate employer, which by the end of the heretofore referenced lunch break had received gift of paper lingerie, handcrafted with discretion and pasted in appropriate points on to each page.
She loved plastic bags. And for the incognescenti, unaware of their numerous pleasures to the appropriately educated, such as they will not recognise the manifold difference between the resealable (uses: sandwiches, crownies (an idiosyncratic mix of brownies, and cakes), green drinks dispensed during St Patrick's Day parades), those sealable with green twisty-ties (uses: pineapple juice and raisin cartons for St Bridget's school lunches, and really a terribly handy one as most things found around a house can be inserted into it, with profit), and for special occasions, the black hefty bin liner (uses to include disposal of curiously uneaten Veal Scaloppini, conveyance of ghost costumes in a pinch and ones of St Patrick, Bishop, for St Bridget's All Saints Days, and into which most household items and guests not fitting into the green twisty-tie version may also be placed, to profit).
She made my father sandwiches each day for 34 years, which I calculate a net yield of 12,410 sandwiches. Miraculously, they still maintained that - what I like to think of as freshly untutored style of cooking, that generally not displayed outside the world of the unusually undomesticated male freshman dorm rat, and as such worthy of culinary as well as zoological inspection.
Laughter is the final act of rebellion of life against the dark, breaking the silence of the grave. Let us think of mum, and laugh heartily. Mum, you who spent some not inconsiderable portion of your life deriding chrysanthemums as beastly frightful funereal flowers, have had the jocular fortune to have your own funeral during the height of chrysanthemum season. You would, I am sure, laugh. I shall nurse its echoes in my ears, mum.
Mother had no truck with funerals. Would that we could truly have followed your wishes, mother, we would today have sung the Hallelujah Chorus, soul would have clapped hands and dance, your ashes, with a minimum of bother and a bit of fun, disposed discreetly in an envelope by post to an unsuspecting postal customer.
Let me tell you about my mother, who was zealous that those whom she loved rest. Mum, I am your son, sprung of your loins, and today I am zealous that you rest. That your heart, so loving, rest now from its strenuous exertions of a lifetime. That your body, so wearied from unstinting quiet, quiet service to others, and your final illness, rest in the embrace of a loving earth which spawned you. Requiem, rest. Requiem aeternam dona matrem meam, Domine. Eternal rest, o God, to whom all flesh comes. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
In the casket of Charlotte Valdrighi Belton, until the end of the present age rests a letter. On it are written these words, which shall remain the companion of her body.
My dear, beautiful mother,
With a heartbroken heart I will always love you. I am not ready to be without you, but if I must then I will endeavour always to be heir to your virtues as well as your body. You have given me a lifetime of love, for which I shall always be in your debt. You shall always be my best friend; and I, proud to be your son. I love you, mother. Sleep well. Your heartbroken son, Patrick Belton, son of Charlotte Ann Marie Valdrighi Belton, who here rests
I have told them about you, mother. May they inscribe you within their heart, emulate your selfless love and humour, so that you shall live on through them too.
You who wished those you loved to rest, rest gently now.
You who died alone, to be discovered at the bottom of a staircase by your sister whom you loved, receive now the love with which we could not surround you in the moment you breathed your last.
You who inwardly kept to high lustre the blessed memory of two Italians whom you cherished, Charles your father and Evelyn your mother who like you her daughter was imparted to her rest at 63, your genes of which I am sole heir have today become my most prized patrimony, and mother, upon your casket I shall repay my debt for your service as consummate parent to your grandchildren whom you shall not know.
Mother, you often sang to me. May I now sing you to rest.
May the Angels lead you into paradise:
may the Martyrs come to welcome you,
and take you to the holy city, Jerusalem.
May choirs of Angels welcome you,
and with Lazarus who is poor no longer
may you have eternal rest.
In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam, Jerusalem.
Charlotte Ann Marie Valdrighi Belton, Carlata, Chicky, Charlotte Ann, my cherished best friend, mother, mama, mum, rest gently.
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