Eulogy for Marilu Rauen
April 5, 1929 - June 1, 1999
Hello and welcome. I'm Holley Rauen, Marilu's oldest daughter. It is an honor to stand before you all here today on behalf of my sisters and brothers, and my dad. We are here, family and friends, for our own healing and to honor my mother Marilu.extrodinaire. Other women call themselves homemakers because thy stayed at home...Our mom created our home for real, from the inside out. She designed every room herself with impeccable taste. She upholstered the furniture, hung the wallpaper, made the bedspreads, drapes and upholstery to match, needle-pointed the pillows, painted the walls and designed and planted lovely gardens. We always have had roses at every house; and daises, impatience and agapanthas.
Where shall I begin?.... Mom was the most talented, beautiful, classy and brilliant woman I have ever known. In fact, when we were all little kids, we used to brag to all our friends that our mom was the most beautiful mother of all...and looked just like Doris Day, but prettier. Her beautiful blond hair, fabulous all year tan, her terrific figure and bright smile made us all proud.
Mom was an accomplished artist and a homemaker
And she filled our home with magic. Her songs and bedtime stories always stirred our imaginations. Her art told many more stories about nature and travel to faraway lands. We will never forget our breakfast room on June Street where she painted a mural of the most enchanted forest. It was filled with trees, ferns and flowers in amazing detail. If you looked really closely you would find eight tiny fairies hidden among the rocks, streams and trees. We spent many happy hours imagining all kinds of adventures for the fairies in that enchanted forest. It was a shame to have to move from there,but our family kept growing and we had to move on to the Rossmore house. Our "Tara" of Hancock Park. We found other kinds of magic there. One summer mom painted the inside ceiling of our poolhouse like a big striped circus tent. She was so creative!
The houses, yes, the houses. They grew with the family population. We started out in the Fifties on Crestway Drive in View Park Area, where mom and dad designed and built their own dream ranch style house. We moved to June Street in Hancock Park when Tim came and then... oops Paula came and we were four. I remember once, while we were living there, at June Street, seeing my mom getting dressed and guessing that she was pregnant again. Mom said not to tell her mom (Gammo) because she thought she would get mad because Gammo said she shouldn't have more babies. I got to know the secret for a while and that was really fun and special. A few more babies and we moved again to the big house on Rossmore. When we began to leave home mom and dad moved to Pasadena to their beautiful Normandy style cottage. Of all four houses mom and dad lived in I think this was moms favorite. Mom and dad enjoyed living in this happy home for over 23 happy years. (We will scatter her ashes in the garden there this Christmas).
Mom not only was an artist, who loved to work in oils, charcoals and acrylic paints, she was also an avid art lover and critic. She visited museums all over the world and she volunteered for many years as a docent at the LA county museum of art. She also loved travel and adventure and often painted the far away places she visited, to all our delight.
Mom drew and printed her Christmas cards herself every year. As the family grew, she added us onto the cards until there were eight of us. She then continued to send them every year till each one of us had left home and the card was down to Dana and Sammy, our dog. What dedication and talent! The last five or so cards featured my baby sister Dana growing up into the beautiful woman she has become. Some years mom barely made the deadline, and this caused some anxiety for us all. But it always got done in enough time....though a few years we were relieved the anticipated masterpiece made it out by New Years. I don't know how she did it. Please join us at the Valley Hunt Club after this service to see our book of the mom's Christmas cards and to enjoy some of her inspired oil paintings.
Mom was always practical, fiercely independent and feisty. She wasn't particularly religious, but had her own pragmatic spirituality. Sure,she got us to mass on Sundays, but her real religion seemed to be more practical and earthy. I think she experienced God the most when she was outside gardening or painting. Perhaps she inherited her love for Mother Nature from her mother and her Cherokee ancestry. In any case, I like to think she passed some of that wise spirituality on to us. Dad says she prayed every night for her children till the very end.
Mom was so smart; brilliant as a matter of fact. She was a whiz at crossword puzzles and had a passion for playing bridge at a very early age. She could beat us all at Scrabble, and in fact beat the pants off a friend and me just a few weeks ago when she was not feeling well at all. Her smarts were humbling. She also loved to read and read at least two books a week.
Mom made sure we knew how to have fun. She gave us all swimming lessons when we were only a few months old so we were "pool safe". Our trips to the Jonathan Beach Club and Newport Beach in the summers were what summers were all about. We all could swim before we could walk. And when we learned to walk, she made sure we learned how to ski. Ski lessons for all..While mom and dad partied on the slope and off! Great memories of trips to Snow Summit in Big Bear and Thanksgivings at Mammoth Mountain.
And they say mothers' love is unconditional. My moms definitely were. With eight kids, well, we weren't all angels. In fact, a few of us (me included) were monsters. But Mom never cut us off. She forgave us all no matter what. Dad too. She was always here for us, even it was hard to believe in us. We hear about the six Rauen girls; but I want to say something about mothers and sons. A mothers love for her son is something special, and you Mike and Tim were indeed special, to Mom. Mike, your daily phone calls and talks meant a lot to you both, I know. And Tim, I'm so glad you had such a special weeklong visit with mom just recently. You will never know just how much that meant to her. You were so tender and sweet with her and dad. Your devotion was very healing for mom and means a lot to us all. Mom loved you both so much!
Mom was sick for seven long years. During that time she did not complain. She bravely faced each setback and fought to recover as long as she could. About one month after her first operation for lung cancer she came to take care of me in San Francisco when I had surgery. She was so loving and sympathetic to my postoperative pain and disability. Because she KNEW... In the end it became harder for her to keep her spirits up. She was always a fabulous cook and loved to eat, so what a blow when over the last few years even that pleasure was taken away. She still cooked for dad. What a trooper. Mom couldn't swallow and had to feed though a stomach tube. She was so short of breath, she couldn't get around much. So she found joy in the little things. Especially in her small grandchildren and the newest babies Jack and Orion, Maggie and Tricia's gift to us all.
During the last few months, when things got more difficult, dad never gave up. You were GREAT, dad. Marilu and Pat's (mom and dad's) relationship was special...it was deep. They didn't have to talk much because it was obvious that they were telepathic. And dad was mom's greatest support. Each one of us all had quality time with mom over the last year, and I know that meant a lot to her.
Mom KNEW her time had come. We all were stunned when we realized how much she prepared. Last week she had an entire new automatic sprinkler system for her garden and sent out all the rugs to have cleaned and returned by today. She had her hair and nails done...The last few days she was clear. She did not want to go to the hospital. The night before she died, on the way up the stairs; she turned around to dad and gave him a hug. A tight, long, and passionate hug. It was as if she was saying thank you...and good bye. She knew. The next morning, after waking up and saying good morning to dad, she laid back down. Mom died peacefully in her own bed, as she wanted it. God took her soul in the peace and comfort of her own home.
A number of mom's close friends also reached out to her in friendship and love. Her Bridge Group, her Painting Group, and her YPO friends all gave her joy and companionship over the years and in the last months as well. Mom traveled the world over on adventures with more than a few of you here today. My dad wanted me to especially mention May Powell and Dee Maechling and thank you both for the special love and support you shared with her. You were both such special friends and helpers to mom. Dee, your food and flowers still are coming and May, your weekly cards and cartoons kept mom going through some really rough times. Thank you both so much.
So, Even though I haven't looked at these notes much; I think I covered most of what I wanted to share with you all. Its been raining and cloudy since the day mom died, but today, after three full days of darkness, the sun is shining again as If God is saying "Welcome Home Marilu". Thank you all for being here to share in a celebration of mom's life. Please join us all after the service at the Valley Hunt Club.
Holley Rauen 1999