My Lucky Star: Final Tributes to my Mother

Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT
12 min readDec 19, 2021

My mother, Josta, peacefully transitioned to a better place at the blessed age of 88 just two days before Thanksgiving. It gave me and my immediate family members the opportunity to say goodbye to her and bring closure to her long struggle with a degenerative disease.

Only after I’d called my mother my lucky star in my eulogy and thanked her for being a major influence in aligning me with my North Star, did it register that she is wearing a headband of silver stars and a velvet top that represents the night sky in the picture I choose for her services. It was taken 9 years ago.

It’s easy to overlook these details when frantically doing all that’s needed for a funeral, but how delightful and priceless to get that final wink of love and affirmation after the whirlwind settled.

I know my mother would want her story and legacy to be shared. It will make perfect sense why when learning just a tat more about her. My father gave me permission to share his eulogy with you. He went first during the services so I’ll start with his because it gives backstory that provides a foundation for mine.

I met Josta in the Netherlands when she was an elementary school teacher advancing her studies in education. It was love at first sight. We understood each other well as one of the only Surinamese people in Holland, and supported one another until we both finished our college degrees.

After we got married a few years later, we decided to return to Suriname to help build the country up. Our careers quickly took off. She became a principal of a junior high school and I became a partner of an architectural firm.

In the beginning, we had conflicts about little things, but you need to have differences to make a happy marriage. Our shared passion was loving children. I had a vision for getting land and building our own house on it. Josta’s sister, Vera, and my sister, Louise, worked together at the Surinaamse Bank and were very close. My many other siblings liked her family too. Together with Vera, we bought a large piece of land and divided it in ten plots. We called it the Lieuw Kie Sing street because a whole bunch of her siblings joined us and we lived in harmony and happiness next to each other for more than a decade.

Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT

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