Taken at Ensenada, Mexico, 2009
Today AJ and I, along with family and friends, said goodbye to our beloved Mom, Di Hazelhurst. We will love her forever and it is with sadness, but also great love, that we release her!
For family who were not there, here is the eulogy that was read on my behalf.
For My Mom
Just a few weeks ago, I spent ten of the most precious days of my life at my mother’s bedside. I am deeply grateful to have been there and to help make decisions that kept her at peace and comfortable during her last few weeks with us. I cherish every smile, every typically-mom-like gesture, and every moment that we shared as she stood face to face with this incredible transition to the next world. It was a true privilege.
I remember when my grandmother passed a few years back, Mom saying that she felt so honored to be with Gran, to send her off with grace, dignity and love. Unfortunately, I have had to return to the United States because I have two little boys to care for, but I count it one of my life’s greatest prizes so far to have spent these ten very special days with Mom.
You all knew Mom very well:
- Some of you attended St. Martin’s and home group with her, and knew her often irreverent but truly authentic faith and love of God.
- Some of you are very dear or very old friends – the kind of choms who are more family than friends, who know that she would do anything for anyone, and that her door and home and arms were always open – abundantly so!
- Some of you worked with Mom, and know how just how meticulous and thorough she was, without exception!
- And some of you are family – from near or far – who have loved, admired and known Di with only the intimacy and honesty that family can.
Thank you all for being here today.
As her children, my brother and I have known Mom in ways that no one else has – and so I’d like to share a tiny bit of my remarkable mother with you all:
- Mom was likely the most beautiful, independent, creative, caring, sociable, strong and determined person I will ever know. She was renowned for her resourcefulness – for her ability to make something out of absolutely nothing – whether it was a party out of a few toasted-cheese sandwiches and a liter of Coke; a last-minute nativity costume out of an old bed sheet and a necktie; or (very recently) fixing the Ethernet connection on her beloved computer Wally with a couple of pipe cleaners and quite a bit of willpower.
- My Mom was always a fun Mom – golden, carefree and exuberant! As a young child one of my most enduring memories is driving the Pretoria to Jo’burg road to visit my Granny on Sundays, windows wide open, sun streaming in, Neil Diamond or Barbara Streisand belting it out on the old eight-track in her little yellow Austin Apache, AJ and I bouncing around on the back seat in the days long before seatbelts.
- Mom was also very glamorous to me as a little girl. She and my dad would attend Jaycee functions – Mom stunning in a full-length halter evening gown, her shoulders tanned, her long, golden hair swept up in a loose knot.
- It’s no surprise to any of you that Mom loved to travel. Over the years, she’s visited us in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. She’s been to Israel, Mauritius and the Seychelles, to Oberammergau, and the many places she loved throughout South Africa. Her curiosity and zest for anything strange or novel meant she was always happy to explore new places!
- Mom’s grandchildren remain her living angels: Mitchell, Jaimey, Sarah, Andrew, Tau and Maceo – she designed and crocheted for each one their own, very unique Granny-Di blanket for them to remember her by. And while she never got a chance to hold my youngest, we did spend a lot of time with her on Skype, Maceo bouncing up and down on my lap, Granny Di blowing him big kisses and loves through the screen.
- Over the years, my mom taught me many practical things for which I am thankful every day:
- How to knit, sew and cook – WELL!
- To be passionate about books and reading and music and writing – that the soul, without art, is somehow less blessed.
- Most importantly, she showed me, through the daily example of her own life, that women could and should stand strong and capable, on their own.
- Yet, I think the greatest gift Mom gave AJ and I, was that of learning to be open, gracious, hospitable and generous with what we have. To always give others the benefit of the doubt, to always reach out with an open hand.
There are many people who cannot be here today – in particular, I’d like to acknowledge Mom’s best and closest childhood friend Beth McGregor, affectionately known as “Bunny”; her cousins, who were her brothers and sisters really: Colin, Lynne, Clive and Dawne; also, those close friends up in Pretoria and Durban with whom she either worked or raised her children – her lifetime friends. And of course, there are many others. Mom was a person whose net was widespread because her arms were always open!
Above all, my mom was just that – an incredible mother! And I find these days that I can only be a mother because of the example she set. Her children were her crowning achievement, the prize of which she was most proud, and her very greatest love!
My brother and I would like to thank Anthony and Tracey Done for being the son and daughter she so needed when we were always far away. We’d also like to thank them for their incredible hospitality, and for truly walking that extra mile, with and for Mom, during her last days.
My dearest Mom, may your joy be complete, may your faith be fulfilled, and may you rest in peace with our beloved Granny Sylvia and Grandpa Pieter! We will love and cherish you forever!