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Eulogy to my mother: Louise Jean (Lapierre) Locantore (September 28, 1951 – May 11th, 2008)

Lou-Lou.  Louise is gone.  Meme’s angel died on Sunday, Mother’s day and Pentecost.  Quite a statement Mom! The birth of the church coinciding with the celebration of mothers.  She was a hot ticket as she liked to say.  As unassuming a person as she wanted to be she had some amazing reservoirs of compassionate energy and strength.  The sacrifices she made in life to benefit her family, her friends, and her church were enormous.

Throughout her sickness she continued to share the warmth of her heart, the bite of her wit, and the depth of her faith.  The manner in which her last days and hours transformed us all is something which is difficult to put into words.   Spirit is a tough experience to talk about.  What is telling is that as the story of Pentecost goes, shortly after Jesus’ ascension the apostles were all gathered together in an upstairs room in Jerusalem.  When there came a violent wind and there appeared to them tongues of fire.  This Holy Spirit which came over those apostles I’ve never really understood to be honest with you.  It always seemed so abstract.

Literally, Spirit is like a breath of air to Life.  It is the spirit that is with us in the first and last breaths we take.  It is the spirit which breathes life into this mortal body.  It is the spirit which prompts people to speak, to learn, and to care, and to communicate.  She embodied the spirit of her faith to the fullest and her life and her death testify to its strength.

Her life might not have been the easiest, but one would never know that from her.  From experiencing both her father passing away when she was 17 to her two older brothers and future husband going to Vietnam, to her mother then dying when she was 21,  I cannot imagine a place in my heart that could withstand such a burden.  But she bore it, with grace, strength and humility.  She raised two children and kept her family together through it all.  A more loving and supportive mom I cannot imagine.

I look at the countless lives she’s touched to give testimony to the qualities of her own loving.  From Her special devotion to young people to her unending compassion for the sick and dying, her boundless energy was difficult to keep up with.  I never fully understood her devotion to caring for and being with the dying until having had the honor to share in her passing with so many others who all loved her as much as I did. 

From the heights of suffering she talked with us and joked and laughed and smiled.  From the depths of fear and doubt she comforted us and cried with us.  As she stood in life for causes close to her heart such as the fight against cancer, the support of young people, and the role of women within the Catholic Church, so too those things stood for her in her time of need.

She died an amazing death.  The gathering of the spirit in that room was incredible.  Her life has changed the world through those who knew her.  It is because of her I am not afraid.  It is because of her that I am not in pain. It is because of her that I am full of wonder and admiration rather than sadness and loss.  For today her spirit lives in all of us, beyond fear, beyond pain,  

          While the world is certainly a diminished place today, I feel in my heart that through the miracle which she accomplished, her spirit is now amongst all of us.  There was a point shortly after she had passed where out of the pain I was feeling I felt this overwhelming feeling of joy and almost laughter.  I cannot explain it but in that moment I spoke with my mother as if she stood in front of me and, I know that there is no need to suffer, no need to grieve.  Be happy for her; embrace her cheerful and loving spirit.  The sadness is ended, there is no more fear, there no more pain.  Hear her laughter again and know that there is only love.