My Sister’s Eulogy For Our Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)

Gail Schlachter, Palo Alto

Gail Schlachter, Palo Alto

We had a memorial service for my mom, Gail Schlachter Hauser, a couple weeks ago. My sister’s eulogy:

Eulogy for My Mom: Gail Schlachter
By Sandy Hirsh
May 17, 2015

What do “energizer bunny”, “effervescent schlachter”, “small but mighty”, “a great friend”, and “a true icon” have in common? These are just some of the words that people have used to describe my mom. Her passion, enthusiasm, and high energy were infectious, her commitment, hard work, and high standards made her admirable and a role model, and her caring for and interest in others made her endearing to everyone who knew her. However, for me, she was first and foremost a loving and devoted mother, and I always felt extremely lucky.

Recently my mom had been reflecting on her own mortality. She told us that her biggest concern was that she wouldn’t know what was going on with us after she was gone – and she couldn’t stand the idea of that. She asked us to “talk” to her regularly. She said she wasn’t a mind reader and she wanted us to tell her about our lives and what was happening in them.

I think we all know why this was a concern for her. She made it a point during her life to attend every event, no matter how big or small, no matter the distance. She would drive all day to attend a baby shower, a dance performance, a school event, a birthday party and then turn right around and drive back the same night. In fact, my cousins and I were just talking about how we were “pulling a Gail” by traveling between Los Angeles and the Bay Area and back again in the same day.

Before the digital age, she loved to document these events with her trusty Polaroid camera – capturing these special moments for posterity. She never was embarrassed to run up to the front of the stage to snap a photo of me or my brother and she delighted at seeing the instantaneous results.

In addition to attending events, she was also a good phone talker! I inherited this skill from her too. She had her regulars who she talked to on a daily basis — and sometimes multiple times a day! I was one of those people. She was a great listener and always so interested in whatever was going on in my life – from daily annoyances, to the library profession, to her grandchildren, to our next trip, to our dogs – really nothing was too big or too small.

Because she was so present — at both special events and everyday events and in person and on the phone — she is woven into the fabric of every memory. And for me, because we shared the same profession, she is also fully intertwined with my professional memories as well. I feel fortunate to have so many wonderful memories to treasure. However, at the same time, it leaves a huge hole in my life and for many other people too.

I know that as much as I am aching from this, she is equally worried about missing out on what is going on in mine and in the lives of the many people she loved so deeply. Well, today, I am telling her that many of the people who love her came together to cherish memories of her, to celebrate a life well lived, to treasure the moments that they got to spend with her, to agree to keep her memory and legacy alive, and, most importantly, to promise that they will continue telling her about their lives so she won’t have to miss out.

There will be another memorial service for Gail Schlachter at the ALA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, June 28, 5 pm.

Blog Posts About Gail Schlachter Hauser’s Death

* My Eulogy For My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* From my wife: Gail Schlachter, My Mother-in-law, Remembered
* Selected Remembrances of Gail Schlachter Hauser (1943-2015)
* My First Mother’s Day Without My Mom (Gail Schlachter Hauser 1943-2015)
* Signs That My Mom Is Still Thinking of Us (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* My Mom’s Idea of a “Really Good Day” (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* Initial Reflections on Losing a Parent (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
* My Mom Died: Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015