Mum's Eulogy - A Compass participant's story

Sometimes, in the work we do in Compass, with women from all walks of life and at all levels of leadership, we hear about our impact in ways that give us pause for thought. The following is from a young, intelligent, up and coming operations leader, Sarah. This young woman stands out in the crowd. She has courage and humility in equal measure. I have no doubt that we will see her advance her career and her contribution to human community accordingly.

About a week ago, she shared the eulogy she wrote shortly after her mother died last year. It’s hard to explain why, but I thought her words about her mum said volumes about what we crave in leadership. In fact, between Sarah’s insights and her mum’s attributes, I could not find a more eloquent or heart rending comment about women in her world.

I asked Sarah if she would permit me to share this with you all.

Not surprisingly, she said yes.

To all of you, with love, Fabian.

 Dear Mum,

A few months ago I was on a leadership course at work, where I was learning about who I am and why I behave in certain ways. I remember talking to my coach about how my dad always pushed me to get results and achieve and be competitive with myself which has really helped me to be successful.  My coach then asked me “and where did you learn unconditional love”, to which I replied without a second’s hesitation “my mum”.

You taught us kids that nothing is more important than family, forgiveness and fun. 

I phoned mum after the course and said
“Mum, I learnt this week that you taught me all my soft qualities, unconditional love, and that you taught me that people are more important than things, and I needed to tell you that I really appreciate and respect everything you’ve done for me,” to which mum replied “Oh don’t be silly, that was my job, now if you really want to thank me, you’ll get me some more tomato sauce Sare Bear.”

The funny thing is, we were going through photos this week and came across a diary of mums, and us kids think one of her entries was perfect to read today. We were on a holiday when I was only 13.

This is what she wrote:

My children are all growing taller, God I hope they don’t grow much taller this week or we won’t fit in the car home. I watch them, I see they have excellent senses of humour. I am pleased with this. Life isn’t always fair and one way of coping with this is if we can laugh, firstly at ourselves and secondly at different situations we get ourselves into. It’s always easy to laugh at others, its laughing at ourselves that’s the big one to crack.

My babies are growing and maturing. I am so proud of them. They have lots of lovely qualities! They show feeling for babies and they are aware of problems and have a soft spot for the elderly. Like me! Perhaps I should have more confidence in my own qualities, my soft qualities. I can only hope that these warm and caring qualities in my children have been encouraged by me.

Obviously mum achieved what she had hoped for.

- Written by Sarah Wills


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