Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Tribute to Mom, by Janice Fish

Mom had wonderful friends. One of her very special friends, Janice Fish, wrote and read this tribute at Mom's memorial.

A Memorial for Marilyn
by Janice Fish, August 15, 2012

Thank you Hal for the opportunity to speak on Marilyn's behalf.

These four lines summarize for me Marilyn's legacy:

Marilyn ran the race of life as an Olympian and left for us her gold.
Memories with a golden luster that is brilliant.
Memories with rich patina that came from years of friendship
Memories of friendship left in bold streak upon our hearts.

I met Marilyn 47 years ago through a mutual friend, Lola Howard. Together we attended tailoring classes and met in my house in the evenings to practice our newly learned skills and to construct our patterns using the sewing machine. Marilyn was an exquisite seamstress. Marilyn was the perfect model – tall, slender and gorgeous. More stunning than her skills and appearance was her love for her family.

As women do when we gather, we shared stories about our children. In the mid 60s my children, Marian and John , were 3 and less than 1, Lola's son Worth was about 4 ½ and Marilyn's daughter Camille was about 3.

A story from the 60s that stands alone in my mind expressing Marilyn's devotion to Camille began with a request for a tent. Little Worth wanted one too. The moms thought it was a grand idea, and together Marilyn and Lola designed a plan for a tent for the children – an Indian teepee, that would be made with the help of Camille and Worth and decorated with designs created and painted by the children.

I know everyone in the room has at one time helped a child build a tent. What fun – crawling into that little space – separated for all the world. These devoted and talented women had a fabulous plan – just one little snag – when they presented the plan to Camille and Worth the plan was rejected. That was not what the children had in mind. Camille and Worth wanted their tent built under the dining room table. I can hear Marilyn and Lola laughing. I really think they were relieved. They just wanted to be actively involved with their children and present the very best possibilities.

As time passed and Marilyn's second child Anne was born, the family took on running. Hal shared that Marilyn tried to run with them but had to take frequent breaks. Thinking she was just out of shape, she rested and continued.

It was around 1977, 35 years ago, at the age of 40, a very, very young age for most in this room, that Marilyn learned she was not out of shape, just that her heart wasn't up to or into running.

When Marilyn heard from a leading heart specialist that she had maybe a couple of years, she told her friends that the doctor really “pissed” her off. She said she was determined at that point to show him. She would prove him wrong with her longevity. She would successfully finish her race for life. And she did. With the loving support of her sweetheart and life-long partner Hal, her daughters Camille and Anne, her sisters Margaret and Beverly, her caregiver Diane, and you her dear friends, Marilyn turned 2 years into 35 years – celebrating her 75th birthday in late April.

With Marilyn's death we have lost a good friend. In my heart she will always have a seat in the Bristol Grille or Dairy Queen. I will cherish forever the memory of our last DQ cone – just 10 days before her death – and the laughter shared as we lost the race to finish the cones before the cream pooled on our hands and the table.

And, I will forever cherish our departing hug. Her robust spirit, sense of humor and positive lifestyle will forever be an inspiration.

In closing I say to you Hal, Camille, Anne, your families and many friends, yes, Marilyn has won her race for longevity.

Now we carry her gold, her inspiration to live each day to the fullest. We carry the torch of love that Marilyn so sweetly passed on. We will forever smile when we remember her smiling face, and our hearts will be warmed by her love.

Janice Fish
8/15/12

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