Sunday, June 29, 2008

Eulogy – April 2005

Eulogy at Eileen Busby's memorial service, held at the Point Loma Community Church. Singing "Climb Every Mountain" from The Sound of Music, one of Mother's favorite movies, was Shelli Frances:

Solomon once wrote, "There is nothing better than, that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion."

Mother found her portions and rejoiced in her works. We were all so proud of her.

As children, she taught us to love the written word. She was especially fond of novels. Our hallway shelves were full of them, sandwiched between her own childhood editions of Aesop’s Fables, A Child’s Garden of Verses and Little Women.

As much as she loved reading and writing, she loved gardening more. When we were young, she grew vegetables. Later, she switched to flowers. In every garden she tended, she always included rose bushes. And bricks, including 6,000 she laid around our swimming pool in La Mesa. Her patio at her current house is an extension of her home, an outdoor room. The last weekend she spent in her home was two weeks ago. She looked out on her patio from her family room at her blossoming flowers and said, “I love my garden.” It brought her a sense of joy and peace.

She also loved to entertain. She would have enjoyed being here today with all of you.

She didn’t like talking about her illness. She valiantly, bravely and quietly pushed through it and lived two years longer than expected. Two years ago, she said she had too much to do and wasn’t ready to go. Sickness wasn’t who she was and she didn’t like dwelling on it. She taught her last antiques collecting class at Grossmont College last July. And she was looking forward to giving a workshop on April 30 in San Francisco at the 2005 Chintz Convention. Until three weeks ago, she was still using her treadmill and doing exercises, trying to get stronger. Up until her last three nights, she still asked that her Estee Lauder anti-wrinkle cream be put under her eyes. She was hopeful and did it her way.

We’ve received wonderful e-mails and cards from around the world from so many of her friends and family. Here is a sampling:

From her cousin Herbert Holbeck: “We enjoyed our visits with her over the years. She was always so upbeat despite any difficulties, and she had the same honest directness as her mother.”

From a friend: “She was elegant and a lady.”

From a chintz collector: “I have one of her books. She was a respected and valued person in the chintz collecting community.”

From her friend and former neighbor Jo Cryder, who invited her to join her lunch group: “I'm heartbroken that Eileen has left us. She was such a glorious person. We had such good times going to lunch and getting together with friends at the First Friday Lunch Bunch. She was so full of life when I left her last September.

“She worked such miracles with the house that was such a mess when she bought it. It's amazing how she turned the yard into a blooming garden. She just didn't let anything stop her once she decided to do something, whether it was remodeling a house, creating a garden, writing a book, teaching a class, or entertaining a houseful of family or friends. I was so proud to be included in her circle of friends. Eileen spoke often to me about you all and she was so proud of you. I felt I knew you even before I met you. It's hard to accept that such a wonderful woman is gone, and I miss her terribly even from way across the country. I'm grieving with you.”

From Shirley and Klaus Mendenhall, who visited her three days before she passed and who had just lost their father and father-in-law: “Your mother was truly the kindest, sweetest lady. I cherish the sympathy card she managed to send. The first thing she said to me on Sunday was how sorry she was about Daddy. It was just so typically her selfless attitude. We’re honored to have known her.”

And from Chip Mosher, a friend of mine who met her at a holiday gathering in Las Vegas: “One of the highlights of my rather quiet life was meeting your mother at the Thanksgiving soiree two years ago. The strength, integrity, wit and intelligence to her personality are etched indelibly in my mind. I truly hope when my time comes that she is one of the persons hanging around, waiting for and helping me to ‘cross over.’ That'd be a gas.”
--Cathy Scott

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