Teresa Peila

Teresa L. Peila

The passing of my mother, Teresa Peila, has shown me grief I have never felt before. But of which I undoubtedly will feel again. My mother’s life was full of hardship and pain. Though, I believe it is because of this that her soul shone so brightly. She dwelt in a world that could not hold her and is now in a better place. It is a small gesture, but I wanted a post on my blog dedicated to her. A little token I can keep close and manage for the time being.

The photo we used for my mother's functions, Teresa Peila.
This photo was taken and developed by my brother for his high school photography class. I particularly enjoy this photo because it gives a glimpse of my mother’s personal style. This is the photo we used for her digital invite, service program and newspaper obituary.

My Aunt asked me to write my mother’s obituary for the Seattle Times newspaper. The following is what I assembled.

Obituary of Teresa Peila

“Teresa Lucille Peila passed away at age 65 on July 5th, 2023. Teresa was born on April 27th, 1958 in Seattle, Washington to Mario and Mary Peila. She procured a sharp adoration from all who played a part in her journey. Teresa was an enthusiast of life; An intense feeler, a free thinker, a true comrade and a loving and fierce mother. She is survived by her six children Luis, Corina, Michael, Ipolani, Christopher John and Joseph Mario; And her five siblings. Teresa is and will always be profoundly loved, cherished and missed. In remembrance of Teresa, we ask that you call your loved ones more often, tell them you love them more frequently, hug them more tightly and live life a little, or a lot, more boisterously.”

Order of Service

My mother’s funeral was held on Friday, October 6th, 2023 at 11:00 am. It was a beautiful sunny day on which we had a beautiful, sunny celebration of life. (The whole week had lovely weather, in fact.) The order of service went as follows:

Prior to heading to the plot sight, I said an oli (chant) with the assistance of my Aunt and Brother, to bless and purify my mother’s ashes. At the plot site, a Deacon performed catholic rites followed by my mother’s personal Cherag reflecting on how the Sufi religion views death. My sister then recited her eulogy followed by my Aunt leading in Amazing Grace. I then gave my eulogy. It went as follows.


“I want to thank you all for coming today in memory of Mom, Teresa.

Growing up in early childhood Mom was a steadfast pillar for me. A cornerstone of free thought, expression and while with her, my constant. Her heart overflowed with love and expression and it spilled into the streets searching for people of which to share it. If you had the privilege to be her friend and have her confidence, you could feel the enthusiasm for life and sheer love that exuded from her.

My mother and I had a code word, “black unicorn”. If I ever needed her for whatever reason, I was to recite that codeword to her and no matter what she was doing or where she was, she would come. And come she did! She was a fierce mother and despite shortcomings, which are a rite of passage for every human being, she vastly and completely loved all six of her children.

As I believe many would agree, my mother was a fighter. She carved out room for herself and established her voice in this world and facilitated an environment and presence for others to do the same. In this way, she understood people.

In that sentiment, Mom, today we see you and we understand you. We love you very much and you are not forsaken. Gathered for you today in loving, fierce, enthusiastic memory.

I mentioned my mother overflowed with expression. And one of her favorite ways to express herself was with song. So today, I invite you to join me in singing Aloha `Oe; written as a farewell to her homeland, by Queen Liliuokalani, the last sovereign of the Kingdom of Hawaii.”

In Loving Memory of Teresa Peila

We then sang Aloha `Oe, placed mementos with her and took turns placing earth over her vault to a playlist of some of her favorite songs. Attendees then gave beautiful recollections and reflections of my mother. I was in awe of the love and spirit that was shown in remembrance of her. It was indeed a special and intimate day. One I shall never forget.



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