Wednesday, August 08, 2012

August 8, 2012

Yesterday evening we had the visitation and today was the funeral for my mom.  I was really delighted at how many people came to both.  I always knew that lots of people loved her and that she loved so many but it was really neat to see that in action.  She worked in the only grocery store in her town for over 30 years so she knew pretty much everyone back then.  She had been retired for about 10 years.

The funeral director asked for a picture of mom to use so we scanned in a picture that we had in a frame.  I wish now I had taken more time to look for better pictures because that one did not come out very well.  She would have hated it and she would not have been happy with us about how it looked.

Yesterday we arrived at the funeral home for the visitation a little early, as suggested by the funeral director, so we could have time to see how mom looked and be ready to greet those who came.  I was really glad he had suggested it because I was upset by how she looked.  Everyone said she looked nice and I know she did but she did not look like herself at all to me and I found that kind of upsetting.  She really just looked like someone else to me.  I just could not see the resemblance at all and I still find it upsetting.  I hope I can forget this and just remember her how she use to look.

Part of the issue was that we had to use one of her wigs from when she had cancer/chemo because they had shaved half of her hair off to do the surgery.   She always wore her hair curly/permed and her wig was not curly so it just made her look very different.  But a lot of it was also her face.  It just did not look right to me.  Her lips didn't look right and neither did her cheeks or anything else.  I'm still upset about it because I just wanted her to look like herself.

It still doesn't seem real to me.  The husband took the boys to run some errands a little bit ago.  My first reflex was to call my mom because I did that a lot when they left and it was quiet and I could talk for a while without being interrupted.  I miss her so much already.  How does a person get past something like this?  I feel that my life has been impacted so profoundly by this and I can't 'see' what my new life looks like.  I can't envision it without my mom in it.  I mean, she has always been in it, you know.  She always had a listening ear and was interested in everything in my life and I did the same with her.  She and my sister are my two very best friends.  And I really worry a lot about my sister and my brother (the twins).  My brother lived with my mom and her house is his house so it is going to be a huge impact on him, living there alone now.  And my sister always took mom to all of her dr. appointments and shopping and where ever she needed to go.  My sister and my nephew had just spent the day with mom, shopping in Joplin, MO, the day before she fell and my sister had told me some funny things that mom had done that day and the next day she fell and went into a coma.  It just happened so fast.

The pastor who led mom's funeral had asked the family to write down our thoughts and various things we might want him to share at her funeral.  It was kind of last minute and we were all scrambling to get everything done in time so I wrote something up and read it to my sister and she added a couple of things to it.  We told the pastor he could use it however he wanted to and he ended up reading it verbatim.  I thought some of you might want to read it also, as it tells a bit about my mom.  Here it is:

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Our dear mother was raised in Vinita, OK and she had one sister.  There was a large age gap between her and her sister and, from the sounds of it, she may have been a little bit spoiled.  I guess that is why she loved to spoil others.  When she was young, she enjoyed riding the train from Vinita to Terrell Texas to visit her aunts.  They loved to spoil her too.  They wanted her parents to name her Jerri.  Her parents named her Mozella after her grandmother so her aunts just called her Jerri anyway.  So, all her life, she was known as Jerri when she went to Terrell.  The other day, I called an old friend in Terrell to let her know mom had passed away and I heard her tell her husband in the background that Jerri had passed away.

Mom never cared for the name Mozella very much, although she did like her middle name, Marie and sometimes she would go by that name.  Towards the end of her life, she would say she wished her name was Rosella.  She was so funny.  She would even write Rosella on various notes or when journaling sometimes.

She loved Jesus and she made sure we were brought up going to church.  We have found countless notebooks and pieces of paper where she wrote and rewrote scriptures that were most meaningful to her and also prayers.  She did a great job of ensuring her children were raised with good morals and values.  She had quite a busy job when we five kids were all little.  When the youngest was born, she also had 14 month old twins, a four year old and a six year old.  I’m sure we kept her pretty busy.

She enjoyed telling us about the time when the twins were little and she had just returned from grocery shopping.  She was putting away the groceries when the phone rang.  While she was on the phone, the twins were trying to help and they dropped a carton of eggs on the floor.  When she came back to the kitchen, one of them was on the floor with a sponge, wiping around and around, smearing the eggs all over the place. The other one was scooping up egg shells and taking them to the sink, dripping egg over the floor on the way. She had quite the mess to clean up that day.

She was a very hard worker and, for many years, she worked nine hour days, six days a week as a cashier at Don’s Grocery.  I know she was often tired but I don’t remember hearing her complain about the number of hours she had to work to support her family.  She taught us to be hard workers also and, when we were old enough, she expected us to keep the house cleaned up and the laundry done and, eventually, to also have a job after school and during the summers when we could.

Mom wanted us to go to college.  When she was younger, she finished high school but did not go to college and she always regretted it.  I could not count how many times she told us that her mother tried to tell her to go to college and she sure wished that she had listened.  She so badly wanted us to go.  When Kathy was in nursing school and met her future husband, she wanted to quit school.  One evening Mom got on her knees next to Kathy’s bed and begged her to stay in school because she had always wished she had gone to college and she thought it was so important.  For those of you who don’t know, Kathy is one of the best nurses anyone could ever have.

Mom loved people and was the most thoughtful and generous person I have ever known.  She loved giving cards and gifts to others and greatly appreciated receiving them.  Her love language was most certainly gifts and thoughtful acts, as that was definitely how she showed her love to others.   I believe she kept every card she ever received and, in her later years, she really enjoyed going through them, re-reading them, framing some of them and telling us all about them, and with such excitement, as if she was seeing them for the first time.

She greatly appreciated the beauty around her.  She could not throw anything away if it had any beauty about it at all.  And to her, beautiful things did not have to be expensive.  She would even keep an empty box or an old calendar if it had a pretty picture on it.  She always had a special attachment for roses and angels and anything with roses or angels on it.  She was fascinated with angels and read about them and collected them for many years.

The Lord took her home so suddenly that it is very hard for us who remain and miss her so.  However, in doing so He also answered many prayers.  She said many times that she wished she could go in her sleep.  She did not want to end up in a nursing home and she would have hated to go through extensive rehabilitation.  The good Lord knew all of that and He answered her prayers.  She was already very sleepy when the ambulance came and she was no longer feeling pain.  By the time the ambulance arrived in Grove, she was asleep and did not wake again.

The entire time she was in a coma, she had a peaceful expression on her face.  But there was an instant, just before she passed away, when a smile flickered across her face.  I’m sure she was either seeing Jesus, angels or someone she knew or maybe she was just hearing the angels sing.

We are thankful that she went very peacefully with her children around her, holding her and loving her.  She was well loved by many and she loved many very well.  What a special person she was.  We will miss her beyond words but we will rejoice for her because we know where she went and that she is now happy, healthy and singing with the angels and we know we will one day see her again.

5 comments:

ko said...

I'm so so sorry to hear of your lost. I lost my mother 13 years ago suddenly and it was the hardest thing that has ever happened in my life. Nothing will replace a mother. It is ok to be sad. It is an adjustment for sure! I found that the book "motherless daughters" really helped me. I think about her everyday. It is ok. It will get better with time, (it took me a long time I have to say.) I understand the feeling of "it just didn't happen." In a way, the sudden lost is so much worst than a gradual. My father died this October and it wasn't as bad, because I could say "goodbye." I'm still sad, because I miss him so much too. I hope you find peace soon and check out the book. Thinking of you.
Kristin

kate said...

Big hugs.

Your memories of her were beautifully written.

Penny said...

Lea, I just came across your blog...it has been over a year since I've read it! I am so sorry to read about your momma. She will be missed by many. What a blessing that she didn't suffer very long.
Hugs to you, your husband and your boys.
Penny (from Tucson)

MMrussianadoption said...

wow, i havent been on blogger in awhile to catch up. i am so sorry to hear that your mom passed. i am sure she was looking down on all of you and was touched that you remembered her so fondly and shared those memories with the other attendees. i know what you mean when you say you cant imagine life without her. unfortunately the circle of life is not on our clock. Sending you strength to get through this hard time.

Betsy said...

Thanks for you sharing your thoughts. She sounds like a wonderful lady. Our prayers are with you and your family.