Monday, August 19, 2013

Eulogy of Rainne Dempsey, Feb 17, 1977 - Aug 4, 2013

Rainne's husband, Jason, asked me to give her eulogy. Here is the transcript of what I said at her memorial on August 17, 2013 If you knew and loved her, you have my permission to share this post high and low all over the internet. If you knew her and didn't love her, I'm really sorry about that.

Several months ago, when Star Trek: Into Darkness came out, we went to see it as a family, (because MOAR CUMBERBATCH). Beforehand, Rainne, Epona, and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant for tacos. Because I was something of a regular at the time, I introduced Rainne as my daughter (and Epona as my granddaughter) to the waitress. Marcella was blown away and looked at Rainne for confirmation - she grinned and giggled, you know the way. Then Marcella, knowing a teenager couldn't bluff, asked Epona "is this true? She's your grandma?" Epona nodded silently, grasping a chip in her hands like a squirrel. We talked a bit; it was quite nice. I was proud to be a mama at that moment, and looking back on it I understand the joy had by those who come by motherhood in the usual way.

The other thing about this memory, is that it reminds me how seriously Rainne took the ties of family. Yes, calling someone who appears to be older than her "Mama" probably seemed weird to a lot of people, but we're Timelords, see, and if you're a nerd it totally makes sense. I don't know why defining our relationship that way worked for us, but it really, truly did and I am so lost now without my daughter. She gave me something no one else ever had or could, and I think a lot of people experienced her ability to love that uniquely.

When I was asked to speak to you about Rainne - my polyamorous, pansexual, pagan Rainne - I put a note up on Facebook asking my friends what they had learned from her life. It appears that the consensus is that she taught us to love with all of our might, to be proud to love so much (and show it!), and that even when someone hurts you, you can still love them without accepting that hurt or being bound by it. (There was also a couple of notes in there about being organized and using lists and g-cal like a mad woman. Had Rainne lived long enough to go senile, she would have hoarded calendars like a crazy cat lady hoards cats - and by that time in this weird alternate future, I don't see any reason why the calendars wouldn't have started to eat her body when she died there.)

Rainne lived so well and loved so hard that she broke life. It's true. This epic gathering today (but much more so the EPIC WEDDING OF EPICNESS in April) is proof of that. Each person here was touched by her life in some way and internalizing the lessons from her life is what we must all do for ourselves to remember her. It's okay to be sad - or angry, or still in shock - whatever you are feeling it is valid and feeling that way, to its fullest extent and expression is going to go a long way toward making you whole again. And no matter how well you knew Rainne, you know in your hearts that she wants you to be whole.

She never whined. Not because there was nothing to complain about (physical pain, emotional pain, inconvenient circumstances); she didn't whine because there was no time to waste feeling sorry for herself and ignoring the richness of the life she had built from the ground up. Instead, if something was bothering her, she would say so - a characteristic I've been told she passed to Kai, who is not shy about expressing his emotions, rightly so. Sometimes past hurts would be triggered by circumstances, and I remember being counsel more than a few times, and it wouldn't take too mch to remind her how awesome she was and that the pain of the moment was less important than how much richer moving through that pain with a whole heart would make her.

She was the first person to be excited and "squee" with you about something good; and always made time to comfort you if you were hurt or lost. She was fiercely loyal, and never made pronouncements or judgments on you because she knew how great of a wedge could be set between two people when one judged the other.

I watched her go through heartbreak and devastation. I saw her FEEL the hardest things and come out the other side strong, graceful, and full of love. But more importantly, I watched her love. And love. And love until she became the essence of love as she is now.

I want you to know and take with you the fact that her life was as close to perfect as she could get - and you helped her do that. Because you rule, and she never hesitated to say so.

Jason - I know she sometimes ran you ragged doing ALL OF THE THINGS in a single weekend and THEN coming over to help paint my house (while knitting the entire time); but I think we're all glad she filled your life together as full as she did. I don't even know the depth to which she loves you, but everyone who saw you together will carry that example of DOING IT RIGHT in our hearts. You will continue to inspire us in the years to come as her memory inspires you to keep having an awesome life; and I will always count you as family, and love you as a son.

Veronica and Chris - I didn't get as much opportunity to see you with her, but she did talk about you and I know you each enriched her life and I am so grateful for the love you gave to her and received from her. Thank you.

Epona - I understand just how much joy you gave her. Having a daughter is a magical thing for a woman (even when you acquire her through circumstances other than the birthing kind). She did everything she could for you, just as if you were her blood-kin, and I know you recognize how important you were to her. For my part, I am keeping you as my granddaughter, and when I die (in a very very long time), I'll leave you a haunted house with the contingency being that you have to spend an entire night there with the ghosts - and explain to your friends the weird relationship you have to me.

To the rest of the Dempsey Clan - you all gave her so much. You embraced her with open arms the way family should - as you have done with me. And as Andie told me, Rainne considered you family and so I consider you family. (This goes for "adopted" little sister Stephanie as well.)

For Dee and the rest of her blood kin - I hope today, and the time you were able to spend with her in the last few months reveals to you how amazing a woman and daughter Rainne was. I hope this weird collection of people are endeared to you because we carry her memory in our hearts as strongly as you do. And I hope we all learn something from each other through sharing our memories.

To Kai - words cannot express how deeply your Mama loved you, and I know no one here will be able to take her place in your heart, so no one is going to try to do that. But if you look around at all these people here today, all these people who loved your mama, you will see people who will join togehter and do everything we can to make our collected love as strong a hers was for you. How you feel about losing her is valid and will continue to be as you grow up. I know your daddy and mommy-Misa will remind you of this, and let us hold you close in our hearts - as much as I know both of them would rather just keep you safe inside a bubble so nothing bad ever happens to you again.

I want to wrap this up (before I completely lose my shit*) by reminding everyone again that your feelings are valid. Grieve in what ways you know how, but remember to take a break once in a while; don't try to rush through and get it over with. Make sure that you love life, yourself, and others with your whole heart, even the parts of your heart that ache; when you're with someone, show them you love them, and when you leave their side make sure they know. Love is a stand-alone thing, you do it because you must (or your hearts will burst!), not because you're necessarily going to have it reciprocated right away or at all. When you love wholeheartedly the world becomes brighter. YOU will smile all the time. YOU will grace everyone you meet with love. YOU can be like Rainne by loving life with every fiber of your being and we can all be her legacy by living as she did.

Thank you.


*Shit totally lost when Epona spoke. Luckily we got to cuddle and cry and collect ourselves.

1 comment:

Sara Hammond said...

Thank you for sharing that with us. Your sincerity is evident and moving.