Before my Mom became the “practically perfect in every way” Mom and Grandma that we know, she was just a normal mischievous little girl. One hot summer day when she was in about 5th or 6th grade she was on “punishment”, also known as grounding. She really wanted to go swimming with her friend LaDean. She remembered that there was a little girl in her ward that her Mom really felt sorry for. She told her Mom that she had been invited to the little girl’s birthday party and that the little girl would sure be disappointed if she didn’t go. Her Mom said she could go, so with swim suit under cover, she headed out to the “party” and went swimming with LaDean. Arriving home after swimming, she realized that she had forgotten the obvious consequence of swimming. Her mom asked her, “How did your hair get wet?” Always quick on her feet she said, “We were bobbing for apples.” Her Mom bought it.
I feel like Abraham Lincoln when he said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” In my case, that would extend to my Dad. If ever two were one, it was those two. (Not that they didn’t have their occasional differences of opinion) The Twin Pines Drive-Inn used to be at the corner of Center and State Street in Orem. It was there that my Dad first spotted my Mom at the counter eating with her friend. It was the summer before she went into 9th grade and she was almost 15. He was smitten. He was there with his friends in his little red truck and he offered to drive her and friend home. Being the kind of girl that she was, she refused the offer. So…he left his friends and his truck and walked her home.
That was close to 70 years ago and they’ve been together ever since—except for his 2 year mission to Texas. She wrote him every day, except for the days that she was there with him having gone on vacation with his family to see him. Times were different then!
My Mom loved fresh tomatoes on toast, caramels, coke with pebble ice, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, reading, Jeopardy, and tending her flower garden. Having an unlimited supply of patience, she could figure out how to put anything together and could fix most anything, once pulling a sock out of Lori’s vacuum to “fix it”. Lori said she was so mechanical. She was a master farmer’s assistant. She drove the tractor, sorted fruit, and put together fruit boxes at lightning speed. She sewed and crocheted beautifully. She made so many fun and beautiful things for us. Mom and Dad have very bright grandchildren. They knew that when they wanted a really cool Halloween costume or to have some beloved item mended, skip Mom, go straight to Grandma. Grandma was the one who read stories to and played with the kids while the adults visited in the other room.
She loved people, especially her family and spent most of her time and energy listening and loving and doing her best to make everyone happy. My best friend growing up spent a lot of time at our house. She told me that when she was a mom, just wanted to be just like mine. My Mom was always focused outward and the most selfless person I know.
She suffered a lot of physical pain in her life—a surprise to many because she hid it well. This week I have thought about how she could possibly have endured that pain for so long. I’ve come to the conclusion that she could do it because of the powerful faith she had in the power of her Savior to comfort and sustain her. Her “it will all work out” philosophy, I believe, came from her faith in our Heavenly Father’s plan. She never told me that. She preached the Gospel without saying a word. She just lived it. She wasn’t a “my cup is half full” kind of girl, but a “my cup runneth over” girl. She lived everyday with gratitude finding joy in the most simple of things and in her family.
My Mom was not afraid of death—only of leaving my Dad by himself for a while. She knew where she was going, who would be there, and that she would be with us again. Her testimony of life after death was powerful and sure. She left us a great legacy of love and service. When we were trying to choose the hymns for today, we were struggling—until we remembered two that could be her theme songs, Count your many Blessings and Because I Have Been Given Much.
It’s practically impossible to think of life without her, especially for Dad, but I think he has had “angels bearing him”, probably sent by my Mom. They always took care of each other. We’ll all take care of each other because that’s what our Mom taught us.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 121:7-8 reads, “My son, peace be until thy soul, thine adversity and thy afflictions shall be but a small moment, and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.”
I have no doubt that my mother has endured well and will be exalted on high. I hope that we as a family will follow her example and endure her absence well so we will be worthy to join her one day. I have a testimony of the Gospel and of the power of the atonement to heal and sustain us. Thanks Mom for teaching me that. I love you.