Nan Player Hermus
Below is the full text of the Eulogy I delivered for my mother on August 18th, 2012. It was written to be spoken, however, and I have not edited it for this blog post. A video of the actual speech is located here.
I have in front of me many words prepared, but we all well know that words are not, and cannot, be sufficient for an occasion such as this. Like in all other things, we can only try our best, and that is what I shall do as I attempt to honor the life and the memory of my mother, Nan Gwynn Player Hermus.
I am not a great family historian, and thus we are spared a linear recounting of the events of Mom’s life. I say spared, because though I often regret my lack of knowledge of some details of her past, they wouldn’t adequately convey the true essence of what made my mother so very special.
So, I set out to craft a picture of my Mother, using stories from my memories of her. As it turns out, curating from a lifetime of memories is a daunting task. In the minutes and hours after her passing, I attempted to conjure up some warm, happy images of Mom to hold close during that difficult time. In shock, I found that I couldn’t do it, and I was absolutely overcome with panic. How could this be? I felt this incredibly intense emotion, a combination of love and loss so strong that it felt like fire burning inside of me. I could not breathe.
As sun in the Spring, she nourished all
Warm and sustaining, light without end
To others dedicated, no thought of herself
Family or friend, and acquaintance alike
Or stranger lost, with need of guidance
Like a gentle rain, to parched earth given
Herself she poured, those around her received
Life freely bestowed, to the gardens of souls
flowers and greenery, gladly brought forth
Where sadness had been, only dust before
Sparkling starlight, she twinkled and shone
A radiant blossom, for all to behold
Her song in the wind, carried far and wide
Luminescent and soft, with heartwarming glow
Offered laughter and cheer, keeping darkness away
The 10th anniversary of September 11th is almost upon us, and I find myself strongly compelled to write about it. Every year around this time, we are faced with constant reminders of that tragic day. In recent years however, I have found myself trying to avoid them. I have dodged the documentaries and retrospectives, and declined to read the many stories and articles that invariably surface. As I felt myself slipping into that mode again this year, I stopped myself and asked: why?
The answer seemed straightforward: I had been hiding from the powerful emotions that are inextricably tied to September 11th, 2001. However, that raised other questions: why are my emotions so strong, and why am I trying to avoid them? I didn’t lose any family or close friends on that day. I wasn’t actually in the World Trade Center, or among the multitudes that responded in the weeks and months that followed. On the surface, it might not seem reasonable that it had such a lasting impact on me. It did. Read more…