For those of you who have not heard the unhappy news: it is with great sadness I inform you that my mother, Julia Jacobson has passed away. As many of you who have read about her in The Boy Behind the Gate, you know the world has lost an amazing woman. To me personally, I have lost the dearest friend and mother I could ever want or imagine.
Julia was the most Unstoppable person I have ever met in my life and inspired me to be the same. She enjoyed an incredible 89 wonderful years and will long be remembered for her wit, humor, and love. Losing her is a devastating blow and I admit I am still in shock.
Here are a few of the words I said at Mom’s funeral service. I hope they help you to move through this and recognize that Julia would want us all to go on living and enjoying this magnificent world.
Mom loved to laugh. She laughed at herself, at us, at things that we could control, and things we couldn’t control. We used to laugh for hours sitting on the porch swing as we spit our watermelon seeds to the wind. Spread laughter: Julia would like that.
I know that many of you are struggling to understand and accept that Julia is no longer with us. I too am sad and puzzled and don’t want to believe that she’s gone. But Julia taught us that with the closing of any door, another opens. And it is our job, our responsibility, in Julia’s honor, to look for that next opening.
Be sad but not bitter. For sad things happen in our lives, including losing our mothers. But mom taught me that life is for the living and so it is my job to be the man she taught me to be, and honor her by continuing to live with joy.
Julia was smart and she liked being around smart people. She encouraged all of us to study and be smart in our choices. She never stopped learning and never stopped educating all of us about which vitamins we should take. She used to say to me, “Be smart, take your vitamins!” Continue to be smart. Julia would like that.
Julia loved people and it showed. She loved her family and friends in her life and she never stopped telling us, “Remember to tell the ones you love how much you love them!” She never failed to say, “I love you” when leaving a room or hanging up a phone. Let’s try to be like Julia and Spread love. Julia would like that.
Julia loved life and it showed. She knew that at the end of any day, you need to be able to look back and feel like you got all you could out of each and every moment. She never stopped soaking up everything she could from life. And because of that, she lived a full life, a BIG life.
She understood life and was often philosophized about it. Her most famous quote is, “Accept or Reject, but Don’t Tolerate.” I have often fallen back to this philosophy as a mainstay in my life. Her other famous quote was, “Eat all of your chicken soup!”
The journey is what makes up our lives: Each and every day is filled with events: There are accomplishments and failures; victories and defeats, and they all tie together to make up what we call life.
Julia never faltered in seeing these individual pieces of the journey as her life; she always smiled, and always looked for the good in each and every one of these experiences. Her positive attitude and encouragement never wavered. Through demonstration she gave me the courage and strength to fulfill my dreams. She taught me to mark the worth in every day. Mark the Worth in Every Day. Julia would like that.
I learned a lot of things from my mother:
- I learned not to complain (well, not TOO much).
- To strive for more, but appreciate what I have.
- To see the good in people.
- To help others… to ALWAYS help others.
- To replace the ME in nearly every sentence with YOU.
- To see the sunrise and recognize its beauty.
- To feel the cold morning air and embrace it.
- To smile and talk to strangers. Try it; it really throws them for a loop!
- That tenacity is a skill best learned from practice.
- To live life with laughter, and passion.
- To have love in your life, and share it with others.
- To look forward to your next day with a smile, joy, and eager anticipation.
Share your love. Julia would like that. This is what Julia would want from you.
Don’t stop loving Julia.
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all that she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,
or your heart can be full of the love you shared.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she would want:
Open your eyes,
Thank you Julia for all the love you brought into our lives.
Thank you Mom, I will love, honor, and cherish you forever.