I wanted to speak at my mom’s funeral – sorta. I wanted to but I didn’t have confidence that I’d be able to when it came time so I declined. Now I wish I had been able to say a public goodbye and give my mom a tribute from her favorite child…okay, I just added that last part to get a rise from NJ who will undoubtedly read this. That was one thing both my parents made sure we understood: there were no favorites. However, I think each of us kids might have thought we were because mom was each of our best friend. Even though she made it understood Dad was always her true best friend.
I’ve been trying to force memories to surface all week that I could share. But apparently a forced memory is similar to a watched pot. I’m sure memories will come during unguarded moments. Some real and some embellished (if you know my family of story tellers, you’ll know that last part to be true).
Mom was one smart cookie and had a very keen mind. I wish I would have inherited her abilities. If I had anything broken, and I mean anything at all – from toys, to ripped clothes, to lamps, and so much more – I could bring it to mom and she would fix it and make it all better. More than that, she had a mind for numbers and loved working on math problems. Another attribute that would come in handy but sadly I lack.
Mom also had an artist’s hand and would make homemade cards to hand out. Years ago, she took a class on the nearly forgotten art of calligraphy and she used it to bless the lives of others. She made birthday and thank you cards. The last birthday card she made was for a little girl in a family my dad home teaches.
Using her calligraphy, she also enjoyed making baby and wedding plaques that she would frame and give as presents. My sister worked at a thrift store in Salt Lake a few years ago and found a frame with mom’s handmade logo on the back. Mom tried to laugh it off but I could tell it hurt her feelings to know somebody obviously didn’t appreciate the heartfelt gift she had given. We tried to convince her that out of the hundreds of gifts she had given, this was only one silly person who didn’t deserve her gift anyway. I don’t think she bought it but she pretended she did.
For some strange reason, Mom’s favorite pastime was spending time with her family. She sat through a lot of stupid movies just so she could be with us. Even after she got sick, she suffered through activities in which I’m sure she would have preferred to be in bed. I think her most favorite thing was when we all got together and were laughing and telling our stories. Conversely, her least favorite thing was when we argued or complained about each other.
Mom’s number one enemy was the dandelion. She hated the yellow weed that would colonize our yard in the summer. One year, she read in the secular bible (aka The Reader’s Digest) a remedy. We poured boiling water on the offending weed and it was supposed to not only kill the dandelion but also prevent a new one from growing in its place. As Mom’s troops, we marched out to the battle field armed with pots and kettles of boiling water and poured the artillery on the defenseless and unsuspecting weeds. Yes, the water killed the weed instantly. However, it also dried out the grass around it. Our yard looked like it had been the target of a fleet of miniature crop circles. And no, it didn’t keep the dandelion away. The weed grew back en force. I have to agree with Mom on this one, the dandelion is kind of an evil little weed.
Mom was my buddy. Just yesterday I had something happen to me that only she would have appreciated the humor of. I tried telling it to other people but didn’t get the same reaction I know I would have gotten from her. In the last birthday card she made me, she wrote that I was the kid most like her. I take that as a great compliment.
I learned the meaning of service from mom. She was always thinking of others and finding ways to serve. Another attribute I wish I inherited from her was her fearlessness in serving. She wasn’t afraid or shy about helping. One of her greatest talents was being able to recognize a need and then trying to help. She just seemed to know what to do.
Mom loved studying the gospel. I have the privilege of reading her copy of the Book of Mormon right now. In it, she has written certain thoughts and impressions in the margins. Every year mom would use the Sunday School Study Guide and make notes in it. She’d answer the questions so that when she went to class, she knew the answers. It was the same for the Relief Society manuals.
The last journal entry she made was after she was sent home for the last time at Huntsman. Though she was scared of the unknown, her last recorded message states, “I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus and I know they love me.” I do not doubt, my mother knew it.
My mom was a pioneer of sorts. She came from a part-member, inactive family. Statistically speaking, she shouldn’t have become a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But she did. And because she did, her husband, children, and grandchildren and her brother have the calm reassurance that we will see her again. We miss her terribly, but aren’t worried about the welfare of her soul. So, till we meet again, my buddy, my hero, my mom.