Saturday, March 4, 2017

My Sweet Mama (April 9, 1951 - January 23, 2017)

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

What a read at her memorial on February 11, 2017:

What if today I could talk to my Mom even for a few moments? What would I say? I could write a novel of all of the ways she was so special to me and to so many others. Perhaps I would give her highlights in a letter, a love letter.

Dear Mama...aka Gramie,

How can I even begin to jot down a few examples of what a wonderful person you were throughout all of our lives?  I thought I would start from my earliest childhood memories.

First of all, thank you for your tenderness. You were an angel to me in times of sickness. I remember even at your young age you were so maternal with your velvety smooth hands massaging my back and stroking my hair when I would be aching with fever. Your comfort didn't stop with your children. Your compassionate care-giving was there for anyone who was in their last days of life.  You're were always to be counted on for love and comfort.

Thank you for the music. I never told you how much I was in awe of your raw talent. You were an artist in every sense of the word.  From my earliest childhood, the rooms were filled with beautiful singing and acoustic guitars.  I remember all of us kids twirling around you and singing our hearts out to "Long Tail Cat", "Return to Pooh Corner", "Jesus Loves Me", and "Jesus Loves the Little Children". You had an incredible musical ear that becomes more obvious everyday that I did not inherit. I suppose I envied that a little, yet I was so proud that I had a mom who had a rich sounding voice like a blend of Karen Carpenter and Anne Murray, but prettier. You also had an amazing gift of harmonizing with any singer in a way that made a dreadful rendition of "Happy Birthday" sound heavenly.

Thank you for the fun. Some of my best childhood memories of you were jumping in our hippie mobile, blasting 70's tunes, and singing "Granny's in the Cellar" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad" along the Oregon countryside. I always knew you were cleaning when the Doobie Brothers and Eagle songs were blasting. I even had neighbors that would ask me to turn it down and I would reply, "I'll tell my mom to turn it down". To this day I love to clean my house to loud music.

You had the best laugh of anyone I've ever known. For such a meek lady, you had a fantastic sense of humor, even if at times it was at other's expense. Example; when I would be getting ready in front of a mirror and putting my makeup on,  you would sneak up behind me with a "BLAH" while tickling my ribs. Another example of your shenanigans is when the internet just came out. One by one, a victim of yours would be led to the computer room to watch a "pretty nature" video only to have a frightening ghoul jump out.  You probably ran the dial up for an hour and a half just to scare the ghost out of us just so you can laugh to tears.

Thank you for the food. I have so many memories of devouring your cooking. You use to make my favorite birthday dinner of chicken fried round steak, mashed potatoes with country gravy, and fried okra which you got from your mother's Oklahoman roots. I never quite perfected that dish. My love for cooking came from you. You showed love in such a tangible way by giving a care package for anyone who was sick, injured, or just need cheering up. You would spend hours cutting vegetables to the perfect size and season a dish flawlessly without a recipe. It was evident with every bite that so much loving care was put in your meals.

Thank you for being the coolest Gramie ever. You were not the kind of grandma that knit sweaters and baked cookies. Oh no. You were a gamer, so that made you a rock star in my boys' book. They'll always have memories of being allowed to stay up past midnight, eating junk food, watching Disney movies, and playing video games with you. They'll also have nostalgia for the rest of their lives of your hugs and kisses and simply talking to them.

Thank you for extending your love to your daughter and son in-laws. You were never a meddler and kept a healthy distance, yet you treated them like they were your own children. I know for my husband, it was like losing his own mother again. He loved you so. You also showed that same love and devotion to your brother, sisters, nieces and nephews by being a good friend and being there in times of crisis. Also, your love for music lives on, instilling your passion to your nephews by teaching them how to play the guitar.

Thank you for being such a wonderful example of a devoted wife to Dad. Your love for each other was undeniable to even strangers. You and Dad would looked at each other adoringly every day, and were so affectionate with each other in all your 49 years of marriage.  You two were a spot on characterization of soul mates. When he came home from a hard day of work, you would, much to our annoyance,  tell us kids to "scram" and leave you two alone to talk. I didn't realize until I grew up what a model that was for marriage.

Thank you for being my dear friend. I took for granted that you were always there for me. I will miss hearing your sweet voice and the urge to call you when something insignificant happens in my life will never go away, and I really don't want it to. I want that nostalgic ache to be a constant reminder for the rest of my life of how wonderful and unique you were. Out of all the moms in the whole wide world,  I thank God I got you.

Thank you for your unconditional love. I will always remember you as that sweet tender angel. I will always love you...ever so. 

Thank you Mama.

Your ever-loving daughter,


Just a side note: My mother had me when she was only 17. She had a natural ability with music, mainly the guitar. She never used sheet music and relied on her ear. After much practice, I remember her excitingly summoning us kids when we were very small to be her audience. She played this many times over the years with the same difficult fret changes and long 7 cords. She sang it beautifully too. This a more recent recording of the song that was originally recorded in the early 70's, Return to Pooh Corner.