E U L O G Y
Dear friends, about my mother Mary Emma Martha Odierna
My mother was born in Transcona, a suburb of Winnipeg Manitoba Canada in the winter of 1925.
She was a good, strong and sensitive woman who lived a long full life that reached just over 94 years.
She passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of March 20th 2019 after a kind heart and very tired body said “I’m ready for my place of rest in the heavenlies”.
She loved me, my father, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren very much, and never hesitated to state or display her affection to any of us. She was married a remarkable 70 years to my father Armand Odierna, and they were inseparable. She was wholly committed to him until he left this world on Thanksgiving Day of 2017.
My mother was a devout Catholic who seldom missed the traditional Masses and Holy Day services, unless she was significantly ill or drawn to an emergency. She prayed the Rosary daily until the day she left this world. I personally believe her commitment to praying the Rosary made her a vessel more like the Virgin Mother herself. She was a woman who could experience sorrow on a very deep level.
Although she respected achievement and those who worked hard to become successful, she preferred the meek and unpretentious souls of this world. I believe she was the happiest when she was attending to and/or comforting someone in need… listening to someone’s confession like a priest to a sad or complex matter of someone’s personal trouble to deal with. I believe this desire to comfort someone in the shadow of life’s downside was her defining spiritual characteristic, an open ear and heart, kind, non-judgmental and loving.
My mother was a hard-headed woman who was fortuitous. Having been raised on a farm, she became a bit of a Tomboy, and had a 4″ scar on her leg to prove it. She received it jumping a barbed-wire fence, : ) She always said her mother Lucy favored her boys!… maybe this action was an attempt for her mother’s favor. She was born to a large family (ten including her) her mother, her father Zephirin, five brothers and two sisters, all of whom she kept in touch with throughout her entire life. They were all marvelous folks who worked hard, loved to laugh and had successful families. She kept the commandment to honor her father and mother all the days of her life.
My mother was a voracious reader (she had records listing hundreds of books she had read), with her favorite topics being mystery, intrigue and romance. If all three of the aforementioned themes came into play, all the better! The love to read and stay mentally vigorous stayed with her to her near-dying days. She had a superb memory, and loved staying on top of local, cultural, political and international news. She also enjoyed watching golf with Dad on Sunday afternoons, : )
A personal story of rags to riches or accomplishment acquired through perseverance and/or determination was of much interest to her. She also had a dark-side, but I won’t take the time to discuss that part of her nature in this letter, some topics are for close family only.
Her marriage to my father meant challenging herself, like many women of her generation, to travel from one distant area of the continent to the other. In her case, that meant following her man to California from Detroit Michigan, with no guaranteed prospects of work to make their new home in the sun, and that’s exactly what she did. They both found stable work, and bought a new car and home in the idyllic American dreamland of Anaheim (Disneyland) CA. Mom’s hard-worked-for retirement benefits coupled with Dad”¦ also made for a full measure of good times and adventure traveling to Hawaii, Fiji, Canada and Europe before health issues kept them closer to home. And last, but not at all least to say, she was a good mother!… loyal to me from my youth through adulthood, ever willing to support, accommodate, pray for, hurt for, suffer with, laugh and joke with, chastise and scold, feed, and of course love me with all her mind, heart, soul and strength!
Upon my last visit to her bedside, 3 days before she died, and as I was walking out the door,
she lifted up her frail head and straining voice and sang to me this simple, sweet song,
‘You Are My Sunshine’. These were her last words to me, and I say to all who knew and loved her…
that the lyrics to this song are her last words to you as well through me, : ).
May God bless my mother eternally, and all those who took the time to bless her.
Her very grateful son, Mark Odierna
p.s. No eulogy can state the full breadth of a person’s life. You all have your own special memories of my mother for safe keeping. Please forgive me if I have fallen short of any significant manner of her character that should have been stated in this letter. M.O.