The Eulogy for Muffy Booth

11
May

Muffy was born December 16, 1939, the third of the six children in the Booth family.  She was preceded by Mary Lou and Herbie, and followed by Howie, Marcie and Al.  They lived together on the old broken down farm in Roseland.  (Muffy 12 years older than Al.) The family didn’t have much money, but as her father — a very patient and loving man — would point out, they were rich in so many other ways that truly mattered.  They were rich in their experience of what it meant to be a family.   

Within her family, Muffy enjoyed a wonderfully fun and loving childhood. She was close to all her siblings.  She enjoyed the farm animals.  She had a goose named Gerdie, which unbeknownst to her, go ran over by accident one afternoon by her father.  Muffy was told that Gerdie must have wandered off.  It was only years later that Muffy would find out that, being the family couldn’t let a perfectly good goose dinner go to waste, it was Gerdie they had for dinner that night. 

When Muffy was 17 the family moved from the farm to 114 Eagle Rock, which would remain Muffy’s home base for the next ten years.  This was a fun, care-free time in Muffy’s life.  With a big group of friends, she lived the life of a party girl,  frequently enjoying New York night life.

Muffy met Carl through mutual friends, and they were married in 1966 when Muffy was 27.  They eloped because Carl’s mother would not give her blessing to a non-Catholic bride for her son.

Muffy and Carl lived with some friends who owned what was known as Madarzo’s Farm.  It was there that Brenda was born. 

Shortly thereafter the family moved to Lake Hopatcong where they built a house on the lake.  Carl ran a bar with some friends.  A second child named Steven was born, but he died at just six weeks of age.  Muffy’s grief made the house unbearable, so they moved to a home on Ferndale Road in North Caldwell.  It was there that Jeff was born, three years after the birth of Brenda.

In 1971 the family moved to Vermont where Carl’s father’s family was from.  It was hard for Muffy to leave New Jersey and the family she was so close to, but Carl and Muffy had plans to build a restaurant, which they did in the town of Arlington.  They called it “Muffy’s.”  She was a great cook and loved to cook, and was famous for her German pot roast, red cabbage, and homemade spaetzle.  They began serving lunch and dinner, eventually adding breakfast.  They lived next door in a cramped three bedroom trailer and the work was consuming, requiring 24/7 attention.  Muffy found little time to make friends. 

She sorely missed her family back in New Jersey, and looked forward each year to the visits of Marcie and her boys in the summer time. 

The restaurant included live entertainment and a bar that ran a big business.  Along the way, Carl developed a serious drinking problem, and the marriage struggled. 

There was a void in Muffy’s life, and she found something that could begin to fill that emptiness when in 1978 she became a born again Christian.  A good pastor friend named Howard was influential in her conversion and the growth of her faith.  She began attending worship and Bible studies regularly.  She believed passionately in the beauty and joy of heaven, and that one day she would go home there.  By nature, Muffy was something of a worrier, but she found relief from her worries by talking over her problems with Jesus. 

In 1980 God surprised Muffy with another child, and Mary was born, fourteen years after Brenda was born. 

As the years passed, the responsibilities of the restaurant came to feel like a heavy burden, and eventually Muffy and Carl managed in stages to sell the business.   In 1984 they purchased a spacious farm house from Carl’s sister on Ball Mountain Road, where they lived for the next twelve years.  With more time on her hands now, Muffy took pleasure in decorating the house and planting a flower garden.   Brenda and her husband moved in right next door, and Muffy was able to spend time with her two grandsons, Kyle and Colby, when they were little.  She loved them tremendously.

In 1996, after 30 years of marriage, Muffy and Carl agreed to go their separate ways.  Muffy moved with Mary who was a senior in high school  across the border to Salem, NY where the was able to find a lovely little house she could afford, and once more she enjoyed decorating the house and working in her flower garden, making the house truly a home. Life began to feel happy again. 

She found work as a private care giver for people in the community.   Later Muffy worked at a pizza parlor where she felt quite at home. Marcie would come for visits. 

Then in 2002 Muffy’s son Jeff had a terrible auto accident, and for the next two years Muffy served as his primary care giver as he slowly recovered. 

And then at the age of 66 Muffy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease after certain symptoms and signs of mental confusion began to occur more and more frequently.  She continued to live on her own for a time with Jeff. 

But ten years ago when Muffy was making what would be her last trip to New Jersey to visit the family, and she ended up in the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery.  The trauma dramatically intensified her symptoms.  Brenda was able to find a permanent living situation that provided the care she now needed. 

At some point she underwent heart bypass surgery, which intensified her confusion and brought about episodes of intense anger that she inflicted on Brenda.  But eventually she forgot what it was she thought she was angry about, and her deep love for Brenda reemerged.  Six years ago she moved to Glen Falls, NY where she was able to have visits with her grandson, Levi, and later her granddaughter Audrey. 

When the family from New Jersey gathered in Vermont five years ago for the July 4th weekend, Brenda was able to bring Muffy to be present for one last joyous gathering of her family.  She was still able to recognize everybody.  Al was sick, and unbeknownst to everybody, Marcie would die two months later. 

Muffy’s condition worsened, and three years ago she moved into an Alzheimer’s facility in Bennington.  It seemed that she continued to recognize her daughters as somebody familiar, somebody she loved, but she couldn’t place them, she couldn’t name them. 

On the last day of her life on earth Muffy was visited by all three of her children.  She was suffering from pneumonia, and a decision was reached to let her go – let her suffering come to an end. 

One memory from that day stands out.  Muffy said to her daughter Brenda, “I love you, Brenda.”  It had been years since she called her daughter by name.  She was beginning, I think to make the transition to her resurrection body. 

Brenda and Mary are grateful that they had Muffy for their mother.  Though she could be strict and sometimes had a short fuse, she clearly loved them, and was quite affectionate.  She gave good advice.  She was funny, some even a bit raunchy.  Mary remembers her mother as someone who would stand up for her in a way no one else would.  

Muffy had some hard parts to her life.   She had the grief of her second born child, Steven dying at six weeks, and the heartache of Jeff’s accident and other struggles.  She knew the pain of missing her family, and the pain of a broken marriage.   She suffered the anguish of Alzheimer’s disease. 

But alongside the hard parts there was much love, and love, in the end, is all that matters. 

Paul says, “I consider that the sufferings of the present age are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  The glory of heaven was something Muffy was deeply convinced of…