The Eulogy I read at my mom's memorial service (7.16.10)
by Tamara Lee Norman (Notes) on Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 3:41pm
My mom was born in Ogden, Utah to the parents Thomas and Violet Harris. She had two sisters, Judy and Jeri Lin and one brother Kim. My mom moved to Covina, California when she was a teenager and graduated from Covina High. She soon married and had two sons, Michael and Jeffrey. After her divorce, she married my dad and I was born...finally a daughter. They later divorced when I was two years old and over the years she married a few other great men. But this last man she married, Calvin or as we like to call him "The Calvinator”, was just what she needed; they were so great for each other on many levels. They moved from Covina to Roseville and started a new life together and were happily married for 12 years.
She had a great passion for arts and crafts and you would often see her crocheting, painting, drawing, sewing or playing the piano. She took various college courses over the years and most of the jobs she held were of a sales nature. On the job, she was very organized, methodical, and took great pride in her work and it showed by the many awards she received for top achievement. She loved cats and I can’t tell you how many she had over the years. Most of them were strays that she had taken in and nursed back to health. She loved to bowl and was on a league for many years. I would have to say that the mountains were her favorite place to escape from reality. Often we would just go drive to the mountains and grab a bite to eat somewhere along the way.
She liked to call us “PamTam”, the mother/daughter team and even had custom shirts made for her to wear that said PamTam on them. Each time I went to visit her she always made me feel loved. She would always tell me that she was lucky to have such a great daughter and how proud she was of me. In turn, I would tell her she was the best mom ever and that I loved her very much. What I liked most of all was when she would call me her “Pumpkin”. Despite all the ups and many downs she had in her life, she always made me feel special and provided for me as much as she could. I am grateful for all her love and effort to make me feel special as I thought she was a pretty special too.
Some of my fondest memories of my mother come from the many weekend visits I had with her growing up. I remember when I was in living in Alta Loma, I could see the main street from the backyard at my dad's house and I would stand out there just waiting for my mom's car to pass so I could run out to the driveway and jump in the car. She was the coolest mom and we laughed so much just being silly. She loved music and would always crank it up in the car. I would always think how cool we were blasting the radio to AC/DC, Michael Jackson and Madonna. I will never forget the first time she picked me up in Apple Valley for visitation. We were heading towards the freeway and we hit a storm of tumbleweeds. They were flying all over the place. All of a sudden a huge one, that we swore was bigger than the Volkswagen Bug we were in, came right at us. We were laughing so hard and felt like we were in a video game dodging all the tumbleweeds. One of my favorite stories that I always asked her to tell me over and over was how she would watch my dad cook at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant when she was pregnant with me. She said she would sit at the counter and just watch him cook. He wore a tall white hat with holes on top and my mom said every time he tilted his head forward, he was adding salt and pepper to the food. I don’t know why, but I always loved hearing that story and thought it was so funny.
Over the last six years, my mother was able to reunite with her two sons Jeff and Mike. She was grateful that she had the opportunity to finally speak to them as she never thought the day would come. She learned that she had several grandchildren, one from Jeff and four from Mike. She told me about the conversations she would have with each and what was going on in their lives. I was happy for her that she finally got to talk with them and I know it gave her some piece of mind that they were doing well. Unfortunately, Jeff passed away a few years ago before we got to meet him. I went with my mother to his funeral service and we got to meet his son along with Mike and his family. My mom continued to keep in touch with Mike and we even went to go visit him at his home in Twin Falls, Idaho and spent some time with his family. My mom loved his children and enjoyed being Grandma Pam. Over the next few years, she got much enjoyment by sending them birthday and Christmas gifts and getting pictures from them.
The last few years were very trying on my mom as she was suffering from many ailments. She had several surgeries and seemed to be on the road to recovery, when something else would happen and set her right back. She was in a lot of pain and on a lot of medication and seemed to be very depressed that her quality of life was not getting any better. Calvin and I were there for her along the way for support but she appeared to be giving up and was tired. She was so tired of being in pain, going to doctor appointments weekly and being in and out of the hospital.
My mom was one of my best friends and I will always cherish the moments I had with her. I know she is in a better place now and pain free. She is with her creator and he has healed her and will now guide her though the next stage of her life…Eternal Life. I will always be grateful for my mom’s love, friendship, and guidance.
Things that will always remind me of my mom: Pepsi, Reese's Peanut-butter Cups, the song “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, the movie Pretty Woman, the mountains and of course In-N-Out Burger. I am sure she is happy that I picked this mausoleum right next to In-N-Out.
Things I will miss: Our daily phone calls, her guacamole, sharing an after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, the smell of her perfume, her smile, her loving touch, and her advice on men (she said never to settle for less than the best - which explains why I am not married yet).
While going through her belongings, I came across a poem she wrote that I would like to share with all of you...
You must make sacrifices in order to grow as a person
You must give to love
You must never hate
You must let others be their own person, so we ourselves can be also
You must believe in yourself and others
You must appreciate what you have
You must set yourself reachable goals
You must be able to meet your life head on
You must be YOU!
The one thing I admired the most about my mom was she stayed true to herself. She was never phony or tried to be someone she wasn't. She never got wrapped up in material things and enjoyed the simple things in life. She would give you the shirt off her back and the last dollar in her pocket. So I pass this poem on to all of you and encourage you - to just be YOU!
Mom – I will never forget you! PamTam Forever! I LOVE YOU!, your Pumpkin
Jeri Lin Harris Pulley Dear Tammy Your love for your mom, came though so well, you did such a good job. Love Aunt Jer
July 22, 2010 at 4:33pm • Like
Tamara Lee Norman Thanks Aunt Jer...I was so glad you and Christie were able to attend...xoxo
July 22, 2010 at 4:35pm • Like
Nancy Griffin i honestly teared up.. that was so heartfelt. its amazing reading what you wrote about your mom and realizing you are just like her. xoxo
July 22, 2010 at 4:59pm • Like • 1
Tamara Lee Norman Thanks Nancy!
July 22, 2010 at 5:21pm • Like
Julia Moreno Montes I read the whole thing and was so touched. You are both very blessed to have had each other. Thank your for sharing.
July 22, 2010 at 6:30pm • Like
Tamara Lee Norman Julia - thank you for reading it ; ) Have a great night and hopefully I will see you on a hike soon!
July 22, 2010 at 7:30pm • Like
Eric Buchanan T, This was very beautiful and very moving.
Thank you for sharing!
July 22, 2010 at 8:09pm • Like
Tamara Lee Norman Thank you sexy Texan!
July 22, 2010 at 8:14pm • Like
Eric Buchanan My pleasure.
July 22, 2010 at 8:15pm • Like
Lana Seven It was simply heartfelt and beautiful. When you read it, it made me cry, it made me smile and chuckle a little, and it made me realize that you and your mom had an amazing unbreakable bond. She will always be in your heart. And, as a mother, she will continue watching after you...
July 22, 2010 at 10:29pm • Like
Michael Mikey Rabinowitz Priceless, timeless.
July 23, 2010 at 9:09am • Like
Nichole Victoria amazing tammy! I love it.. and you!
July 24, 2010 at 10:03am • Like
Tina Castro That was beautiful. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. She raised an awesome daughter. Go team Pamtam! Xoxo take care T
July 25, 2010 at 10:48am via mobile • Like
Tieu Nguyen Tamara, your mom's memory is going to live on in your amazing heart and in the great life you live. Great job, darlin'. Thinking of ya.
July 26, 2010 at 6:44am • Like
Paul Fitz-Gibbon Thank you for memories and kind comment. Exactly how I'll always remember Pam.
June 7, 2013 at 2:00am • Like
Paul Fitz-Gibbon P.S. With memories of Pepsi, Reese's, loud music, and the Bug, I also remember her endless dancing, Pam and you driving cross-country in the T-bird, Spaghetti-Os, 3 kids and a motorcycle all INSIDE the Bug for a trip to the high-desert (and the ping-pong table she drove 5 miles balanced on top of that Bug . . .) Can you remember her large floppy hat? Or, sight-seeing on the U.S.S. New Jersey when you were about three?
June 7, 2013 at 2:40am • Like