Memories of my Mother, Enid Mark

by Melanie Mark

[Note: Melanie delivered the following eulogy at Enid's funeral on October 3, 2008.]

While sitting in my motherís hospital room during the past month, I could not stop thinking about my mother and the inspiration that she has been to me throughout my life and I could not stop thinking about how close we were, being there for me during good times and bad, during school, college, graduate school, work, vacations, medical issues and most recently my diagnosis of ovarian cancer, my mother was always there for me, to comfort me. It was my very diagnosis and treatment which became an inspiration for my mother during the past year while she was in treatment for multiple myeloma. I continued to help her fight her illness while I was battling my own cancer first through a month-long hospital stay following a 90 sec cardiac arrest on the OR table, then through my chemotherapy treatments which lead to surgery, followed by more chemotherapy treatments, and then remission.

I am now in a clinical trial both for myself and for the obgyn group, so that they can learn whether the experimental drug which I am taking will help ovarian cancer patients in the future, as well as aid in keeping me in remission. My mother suggested to me that the reason why I decided to do the clinical trial was due to my do gooder instinct as a social worker coming out. Or perhaps I come by that motivation and inspiration because of my mother and the lessons she taught me growing up.

In addition, I am now in training for a half marathon walk at Walt Disney World in Orlando in Jan 2009. My mother would always tell me when I would go to practice, its ok if you donít finish the miles, do what you can, you donít have to be anyoneís hero but in essence, I believe that I was in fact her hero when I came home from the training sessions and told her how far I walked, she was totally amazed that I completed whatever the mileage was. Deep down she knew I was going the distance in her honor and dedicating my entire marathon effort to her battle with multiple myeloma. Early on I know that my own recovery was an inspiration to her to fight and perservere through her own chemotherapy treatments.

She was in her own right, a trailblazer whether forging a new direction for the academically talented students at Wallingford elementary school where she taught for several years, or through her artwork growing from painting, to printing techniques: woodcuts, silkscreen and etching to photography, lithography and photo lithography, to book binding and then finally into a combination of techniques including photography, lithography, poetry, and bookbinding.

No matter what she did, she was my role model for all seasons. I remember touring colleges, with my parents and when we got to Wheaton, I looked at the steps up to the admissions office and wanted my parents especially my mother to go and request the interview for me, well, unfortunately that did not happen, I had to climb up those stairs to the admissions office and ask for a tour and interview, boy it was a nerve wracking experience, but well worth the effort.

While at Wheaton, I enrolled in a class taught by Professor Sarah Weddington who was the former assistant to President Carter for Womenís Issues. She asked us to present her with an essay on two women we felt were our role models. My choices were Golda Meir, the first Female Prime Minister of Israel and my mother, who continually broke new ground in the art world.