My Mother

I wrote this originally to be read at mom's Memorial Service, but I wasn't ready to share it then... but I want to share it now.

Where do I begin? How could I possibly express in words what my mom has meant to me in my 28 years? To put it simply, my mom is love. She always has been and always will be. She has a HUGE heart and I proudly watched her give of herself, improving the lives of everyone around her simply by being herself and sharing of herself. What a wonderful example she has been in my life!

Everywhere we have lived we have shared her with others who also came to think of her as mom. From a young age we begin learning how special it is to care for others as we watched her and learned from her at Promised Land Shelter, then House of His Creation and Bailie Memorial Youth Ranch and then Dakar Academy. Everywhere we went, she was mom to many and I think in many ways I tried very hard to be just like her and be a “mini-mom”!

When I close my eyes and picture her in my head I get the same image every time. Her face lit with a smile as she giggled and her eyes glinting mischievously. She had such a bright spirit and it just shone from within.

She put up with so much! Jake, Ruth and I were all such different personalities, and mom encouraged each of us to find our own strengths and to grow into our potential. I remember all of the parties she let me hold, never complaining about sleepover nights with a house full of boy crazy silly chatty girls, or the water fight parties where about 20 kids would be running around the yard and house spraying water every which way, she let me plan and organize and be the social butterfly I loved to be. And I remember that smile she had every time she saw us happy, when we were doing what we loved and she knew it, there was this smile that I cannot even describe. It was her “mom” smile, the one that said how proud she was, how much she loved us, and how much she loved to see us happy.

I have so many favorite memories and I have been trying to think of a specific one to share. One of the most important moments we shared that drastically changed my whole life and could have turned out so very differently if her reaction had been other than it was I will never forget. I was 16 and realized that I was probably pregnant. We were about 2 months or so from 11th grade graduation at that point. Fear of the unknown and worry for the future consumed me and I was so scared to talk to my parents. I remember finally sitting down with mom on her bed and somehow getting it all out. She held me and comforted me and reassured me it would all work out and it was going to be ok. There was never any anger or accusation, just loving acceptance and that reassurance that we were a team and we would make it all work. That was just how she was, no problem was ever too big to take to her, her arms were ALWAYS open and her love was truly unconditional.

I have lived my life hoping I have made her proud, hoping that she will approve of my choices, always openly sharing my thoughts, my feelings, my worries, my concerns with her. In fact, in some of our very last e-mail exchanges when I wrote to her about how upset I was the morning I dropped Kenneth off at the airport to head towards Afghanistan on November 9th her response to me was:
“My grandma, who I still miss with an ache I can't describe, always taught me to LET GO ... and LET GOD. It worked for me, I can still see her wise eyes and whacky grin ... to her, faith was so simple. I pray you discover it can be that way for you, firm and dependable, right now when you need it most.”

Her faith and trust always carried her through and I hope and pray she is with her grandma now, seeing that whacky grin in person. Her ache is now my ache as I miss her to my very core and will every day for the rest of my life.

Working through the anger, the pain and the utter devastation of her loss has me wanting her more than ever – she is the one I turn to when I am lost and hurting and the idea that I cannot pick up the phone or send her an e-mail just tears me up inside. She always had the right thing to say, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear it was what I needed to hear. The saying “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” does not apply in this case. I know exactly how wonderful my mom is, and I know exactly how much I have leaned on her and depending on her throughout my life and my world is so much sadder without her in it now.

One of the many ways she has made my life brighter is during the holidays – she has made each one so special for us for so many years, especially with the distance between us since moving to Georgia. She always put together a holiday gift package for us on each one. Last Valentines was conversation hearts, cute candies and one of my favorite cards from her, one where she recorded her voice saying “Happy Valentines day, we love you…” I often meant to have Kent record one to send back to her and never got around to it… I remember when we were very little, how she made Valentines a special day where we would each get a little gift on our plate at the dinner table. She had that touch, she knew how to make special occasions sparkle, make them memorable and make me strive to do the same for my family even if I have never felt like I get it quite right!

I am so thankful my mom taught me love, and that I have been able to express to her time and again how much she means to me, I am so thankful that our last e-mail was about sugar free pecan pie and that she knew how much I was looking forward to her visit which I will forever long to have had. If I can take anything away from her loss in my life, it is that I do not ever want to live with regrets. I want my family to know how much they mean to me, I want to say I love you every day to those I care about most, I want to be generous with my hugs and kisses and my affection, I want to give freely of my time and self to those who need me. My mom celebrated life and those she loved, she made me feel like a better person just for knowing her. She was a beautiful gift in so many ways and her imprint will be upon my heart forever.

Mom, I think of you every moment of every day. I miss you from the tip of my nose all the way to my toes. You were the light in my life and I just ache with you gone from it now. I will picture you in your Home now, singing and laughing and dancing every day. Truly I don’t blame God for wanting you back and I am just so profoundly grateful for the years He shared you with me. I have always been proud and thankful to have you as my mommy. You are forever loved.


  1. This is a beautiful and touching post, your mom would have been very proud. It seems you are more like her than you realize.

  2. Just beautiful. I lost my mother just about 6 1/2 years ago and still think back on that special smile that you talk about. She was such an integral part of my life and who I grew up to be, I truly feel your loss. Thank you for sharing your amazing mother with us.

  3. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. Your mom was an exceptional person.


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