We held a small funeral service for mom on April 16, 2013 in Haines City, Florida. I was blessed enough to have the strength to say a tribute to her during the service. I thought I would share it with you in honor of her memory...
IN LOVING MEMORY of
Julia Gebert Lozano Kho
January 28, 1942 - April 12, 2013
Did we have the perfect childhood? No.
But I can honestly say that the moments and experiences I had with mom have helped me to become who I am today.
Although mom was born in the Philippines, my grandfather was a Spaniard (from Spain) and my grandmother was Spanish and German. Having been born in Manilla, she was trilingual and besides English, spoke fluent Spanish and 4 dialects of Filipino. I was always amazed by her ability to converse in these languages which broadened her sphere of influence, and connected her with so many people.
In 1961, she married Mike Kho, a chinese businessman also born and raised in the Philippines. They were married for 18 years and together, had three daughters, two of which were born in the islands and the third in Hayward, California.
After arriving in the U.S. in 1966, she worked hard to petition and bring as many of her brothers and sisters to America. It was a happy time, as I remember each of her siblings arriving one by one and staying in our small home, until they were able to find their own place. She was happy to have them close to her again.
Mom found happiness with Don, whom she was with for 25 years after her divorce from dad. He loved her deeply and they shared many happy years together. It was on one fateful morning, as they drove home together from Las Vegas, when the accident occurred. He had fallen asleep at the wheel and the car overturned on the freeway. Mom never liked wearing a seat belt and this drive was no exception. On impact, she flew through the windshield 30 feet onto the pavement. She was unconscious and hospitalized for several months but came through with some recovery. Although Don did not appear to have any physical injuries, he developed bone marrow cancer shortly after mom’s release from the hospital. It was a blessing that mom’s short term memory was affected because it helped to lessen the hurt and loss that would fill her heart for the next 15 years.
Although she was absent during some moments in my formative years, in my 20-20 retrospect, I would not change a thing about how it unfolded. She raised us as best as mom knew how and with what knowledge she had. Although she had made mistakes (and we all do), she indirectly taught us.
Little did mom know, she demonstrated in action what not to do. It was far more effective than telling teenagers not to do something because I probably would not have listened anyway. I have learned so much from her instruction. It has helped me in my marriage and bringing up of my own children. This was the greatest gift she could have ever given.
Mom was never the same after her accident and from the loss of Don, but in some ways it was a blessing. She tried to be happy and move on and although she never spoke about it, I could always sense a bit of sadness within her.
In the past few years before her death, I am so grateful for the times we did share together. I saw changes in her that I had wanted to see for a long time. She always had a kind word to say about her loved ones. Even though some treated her with disrespect, she always looked at their positive traits and encouraged me to forgive. Forgiveness is the real “F” word because it can be a struggle for anyone, especially me.
We formed a closer relationship during the times we spent together. We shared many laughs, especially when I tried to speak spanish with her. Having only had 1 year of high school spanish, my conversational skills were quite entertaining, to say the least–but she laughed ...and I loved hearing her laugh.
Mom loved to eat Chinese, Filipino foods and buffets. She never quite mastered getting her diet under control even though she had been a diabetic since the age of 40. I think at the age of 72, her small framed body just gave out. I am relieved that she will no longer need to shoot those harmful chemicals into her body to stabilize her blood sugar. Seeing what she had to go through has prompted me to eat and live a healthier lifestyle.
She was well known for her generous spirit. I think whoever coined the phrase “she’ll give you the shirt off her back” must have known her. She was generous when she had plenty and generous when she had little. Her love language was definitely giving.
On April 12, 2013, mom quietly passed away in her sleep. Although the doctor had given her 6 months, her life ended within 3 weeks of her cancer diagnosis. It has been a year since I had seen her last but she lives in all of our hearts and I will continue to see her in the faces of both my sisters.
There is no doubt, she will be missed by all who knew her. I am hopeful she is in a place that has no more tears, pain or sorrow. Surely, goodness and mercy have followed her, all the days of her life, and I am hopeful she is dwelling in the house of the Lord...forever.
Rest in peace, mom. I love you.
Su hija número uno
About the Author:
Carole Galassi is the Creative Director and founder of the FuneralProgram-Site.com and Celebrations of Life Store. To view the latest designs for personalizing funeral related printed materials you can create yourself, visit the online superstores. You can also add us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute specials and new products.