Thoughts from the children and grandchildren.
Carla: It seemed to me Mom always knew what to say in any situation, good times or bad. In our family, it’s a good thing she did. I remember her always helping people out in any way she could. Amongst our musical family, Mom was completely tone deaf. But, when we were little, I remember her singing hymns at home when no one else was around. She knew all the words but there was no recognizable tune! Everything I know about cooking Mom taught me. Some things I never mastered, like the yeast rolls she would let rise behind the coal stove in the winter or the jam cake with brown sugar icing. I have loved her, looked up to her, been supported and guided by her all my life.
Mark: What always stands out to me is that I never heard her say a single unkind thing about or to anyone. I never heard her raise her voice or even show any kind of frustration towards anyone. She always sought out what she could do to make someone else happy. She was as selfless a person as I have ever known.
When I read what Mark said about her never raising her voice or even showing any frustration, I was prepared to share that I had managed to provoke Mom’s wrath on a number of occasions. However, Christopher shared a story that topped anything I had to offer in that realm.
He said: For many years , I viewed Grandad’s job as a dairy farmer as one of the toughest jobs I knew of. The physical labor aspect, the time commitment, the zero days of vacation. But as I’ve grown older, I realize the toughest job may actually be the wife of a dairy farmer. Not only do you share the responsibilities of farming, but you are also the caregiver of the family, the doctor, the chef, and in the case of Mammaw, the disciplinarian. Grandad would never lay a finger on me. The same could not be said for Mammaw. I’ve been spanked with a switch one time in my life and Mammaw has the honor of being on the safe end of that spanking.
I believe I was about 9 years old. Mammaw and I were outside the house. I’m not sure what happened, but if I were to guess, I would say she was making me help her with something that I really didn’t want to help with. Things escalated and I ended up cussing at Mammaw. I immediately regretted that decision. In one motion, Mammaw snatched me up with her left hand, broke off a switch with her right, and wore me out. Looking back on it, it was a pretty impressive athletic move on her part. Needless to say, I never did that again.
Karen: I had the same thought as both Mark and Anne. Gentle. Even if she was asking us not to do something, she was always gentle.
I naively did not think much about it as a kid, but I am amazed now at her strength/endurance/dependability(not sure I can find the perfect word I am looking for), but who works that many years with no days off? So diligent, every morning starting at 4 AM. It is remarkable.
I admire how she served us all, but especially watching her take care of granddad.When they got concerned about their health, they changed their lifestyle… the way she cooked and those walks every morning in retirement.She set her mind to something and that was that.I remember once Grandad getting emotional when trying to tell us a story and she saw it and just picked up the rest of the story.So sweet.She loved him well.(a favorite memory would be looking through the giant JC Penney catalog to get ideas for what we might want for Christmas. Also, the meals! For sure her cooking.
Trav also mentioned remembering sitting in Mammaw’s lap and her reading to him. Thursday afternoon we were looking at some pictures and we came across a picture of several of the grandchildren sitting in Mammaw’s lap and she was reading to them. The expression on her face was one of absolute contentment and joy.
There was a stage in Mom’s dementia when she thought that she was not at home. Every day she wanted to go home. She felt the need to check on her Mom and Dad. There is a sense in which she had it right even in her confusion. This life is a temporary stop on our eternal journey. In the best sense of the word, Mom is home now. Again, Christopher sums it up beautifully. As much as she will be missed, I’m so glad that she no longer has to deal with Alzheimers. Revelations 21:4 is used often when dealing with death, but it is especially relevant for someone who has battled this brutal disease fpr as long as Mammaw has. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Mammaw no longer has to be forgetful or be confused. She is again with Grandad, Granny and family members that have gone before. For that I’m thankful. Well said!”