Friends, family, we are gathered here today to solemnly remember the passing of my wonderful mother, Gertrude Anna Bonhoffer. Words can hardly express the depth of emotion that springs forth from my soul in remembering the best memories we all shared with her before her passing.
Why, it was only a few weeks ago she told me the story of when her parents had her baptized at Sea World at age nine. What a blessed day that had been for her. In a surely divine moment, the whales leapt out of their tanks and sang "We are Family" when they saw her dip into the water. Even then, at so young an age Momma touched the hearts of everyone around her. She was so fortunate some people even joked she was born with a silver shovel in her mouth.
Momma was also a light-hearted woman, full of mirth and joy. After the baptismal and still in her bathing suit, Momma used the whole highway as a slip and slide to get home. Up until the time they passed, Grandma and Grandpa both so fondly remembered that day. Even when they had to call a forklift to pick Momma off the street.
I had dinner with Momma seven weeks ago. We went to the same diner we always went to as a family, the one that installed the speed bumps by the buffet just for Momma. Boy did we have a heck of a time getting her inside, too. Had to grease her up and hold a Twinkie on the other side to get her through. Then, when the waiter handed her the menu, Momma said "Yes, please." Just like the old days.
Father, you remember the time Momma went to the beach and Greenpeace tried to haul her back in the water? I was six years old, and I'll never forget. Uncle John, remember the time she sat on the Nintendo Gamecube you got me for Christmas and turned it into a Gameboy? Aunt Susie, how about the time Momma wore that jacket with the "X" printed on the back, and helicopters kept trying to land on her the whole afternoon? How weird was that? And Andrew, my brother, remember when Momma fell in the Grand Canyon and got stuck? Such wonderful memories.
But mostly, I remember all of Momma's little idiosyncrasies. How she deep-fried her toothpaste, ate her dessert out of a kiddie pool, and had the uncanny ability to sit on four quarters and make a dollar. How did she ever manage that trick? I'll never know.
Momma was a person of character, too. She remained strong even after the doctors diagnosed her with a flesh eating disease and gave her five years to live. She held on until the bitter end.
So now, as we gather here around this casket the size of Shea Stadium, let us remember Momma for the full person she was in her life. She was once, twice, and three times a lady. Momma, I promise one day I'll figure out a way to pass your memory along to everyone I meet. Everyone in the whole wide world should benefit from your legacy. But for now, just know that we love you, and we'll never forget you.