During this last week, there has been reason to think, and a lot of time to think. Who was Mom? Right now all there is left is memories, how do I remember Mom? Not all of what I know about Mom is my own memory, but what I have learned through her and Dad's words and as well as pictures I have seen. I've seen pictures of young pre-marriage Mom having a good time, smiling and enjoying friendships. I've seen pictures of Mom and Dad getting married and looking fondly at each other in their new home. I've seen pictures of Mom with her babies, holding them and smiling.
Who was Mom? She received Jesus Christ as her personal savior at a Billy Graham crusade and is currently experiencing her savior first-hand. I've seen the pictures of her Sunday School class she taught as a young adult. I was there for her many years of church nursery service, actually for many years she was the entire nursery service. She loved the little ones. I remember her leading me in the salvation prayer to receive Jesus; thereby giving me a heritage to pass along to my family.
Who was Mom? I know my Mom was an only child. She also grew up on a farm. I wasn't there, but I can guess it could be a little lonely at times. But, she had friends from those days. I've seen the pictures, heard the stories and know there were continued visits. She had many friends from church too, supporting each other through good and tough times. For a number of years she would take a friend on errands and doctor appointments until the friend passed away. I know it was special for her to be a part of my Dad's family. How wonderful it must have been for an only-child to have instant live-long siblings on the day she was married.
Who was Mom? Knowing what we went through this week I now appreciate how difficult it must have been for an only child to lose her parents. The decisions, emotions and memories, at times without someone at her side. It must have been hard to experience numerous medical difficulties. Two heart bypass surgeries should be enough to break a lot of people, but she had numerous other problems as well. She continued to live life through all of these problems. Being admitted to a nursing home on her 50th wedding anniversary was disappointing. I visited her then and did not see her have hope of recovery, but the Lord allowed her to leave and gave her 2 more years at home.
Who was Mom? She raised four kids, the first three boys until she got her girl. Boys are not always known for their sensitivity and manners, that had to be tough. Supporting the family through cooking, clothing, budgeting, comforting and nurturing were her accepted role of which there were no complaints. She enjoyed the activities of her children: cub scouts, band, sports and church groups. This love for being at activities did not stop with her own children, but there was still soccer, t-ball and football games, concerts, and new births to attend as a grandmother. One fond memory I have is her making her way to the front of an auditorium to stand in front of speakers about three times her size just so she could see her oldest grandson sing at a concert, and this was only a few years ago. At a time that she did not feel comfortable leaving home due to her medical condition, nothing could stop her from seeing her youngest grandchild in the hospital after she was born. The many years of holiday traditions, the most recent a few weeks ago at the 4th of July parade in a wheel chair with her grandchildren. And the special moment when she was there the night my first was born, supporting us when we did not know if he would live.
Who was Mom? A wonderful daughter, wife, mom, grandmother, sister and friend. She is a Christian. She was a servant who did not put her rights above others. She was hardworking and tough. Her medical problems did not long keep her from her responsibilities. She worried more for others than herself, always wondering what someone's situation was like, even a stranger. I believe that was because she felt a need to somehow help them, to relieve their burden.
Who is Mom now? As a child, I remember looking at storage boxes in our laundry room with a word on it. The word was Gladys. But, at the time I did not read it like that or understand that my mom had a name other than "Mom." I read it as "gladies," and I could not figure out why we would have so many boxes with the word "gladies" on them. Now when thinking about her name, I could not help but have fun with her name again. Now knowing that she is no longer in any physical pain in Heaven, I couldn't help but think of her as Glorified Gladys.