Today, August 16th, is my mother's earthly birthday, but she was born into eternal life on November 4, 2012. My mother was called by her middle name, Ileen, all her life. She cringed whenever anybody called her Dorothy, especially if they shortened it to Dottie. I always thought Dorothy was a nice name. It means "gift of God." I wonder if Jesus gave her a new name in heaven.
This is the butterfly her 3yr. old granddaughter Evelyn made for her. To me, it symbolizes that she can fly now. She has a new and beautiful life with God.
THINGS I LEARNED FROM MAMA
1. "It will only hurt for a little while."
Mama was a nurse - all the time. She didn't pity our pains. We learned not to tell her of our ailments until we were ready to endure the cure. (sore throat, loose tooth, splinter) We never stayed home from school unless we were very sick to our stomach or had a fever. In those cases, her usual remedy was - "Take a warm bath and go back to bed." She kept us very healthy, and if she took us to the doctor, it was mostly for a second opinion and a prescription for a medicine. I learned that there are many things in life that hurt - but only for a little while.
2. "You don't know what you can do until you try."
Mama taught me to try new things. I called it "dabbling." She could do so many things just because she tried. She would look at something in the store and say, "I can make that." Of course, she never made it exactly the same. She always added her own touch to it. She also had her own vocabulary. "jiggy-jiggy" "ripper-snipper" and "doo-hicky" - the one that changed meaning, depending on what project we were working on. I've learned to not be afraid of learning something new.
3. "If you don't work, you don't eat."
Mama taught us to work. She assigned us chores according to our abilities. She worked beside us in the garden, and we didn't quit until it was clean of weeds. We helped her harvest and can the vegetables in the fall. I woke one morning to see her still canning green beans. I felt guilty for going to bed, but she said, "You needed your sleep to go to school. I can nap while you're gone." She taught me the satisfying feeling of finishing a job.
We didn't always work. Mama liked to play. We played board games (Yatzee, Carom, Boggle, and many more) She took us swimming and sledding. We visited the library every week. She knew how to reward our hard work with fun.
4. "Oh, I know it will be a good thing!"
Mama was an optimist to the core. No matter her situation, she would think it was a good thing. I tend to be a bit more skeptical, but Mama was never skeptical. She would persevere through all kinds of things when I would want to give up. If someone turned against her, it really hurt her feelings, but many times, even then, she would try to find an excusable reason for their actions. She always thought the best of others. I want to be more optimistic. I want to see the good in whatever situation God brings in my life.
5. "There's always enough for one more person."
Mama had a big heart. We never had much money, but we always had enough to share with others. She even tithed her garden produce. One row was set aside as "God's row." No matter where it was in the garden, that row grew the best. We never ate from that row ourselves but gave the food to a pastor or an elderly person.
We always had people staying with us. From the time I was a little girl, we had foster children living with us or others that needed a home. Many of you here were "adopted" into our family. We always had people over for Thanksgiving or Christmas - people that didn't have their own family. Mama remembered everyone's birthdays and anniversaries with cards. (I'll have to admit that I haven't learned to do that yet.) She had Bible studies, children's clubs, and youth activities in our living room. Hardly a week went by without someone else sharing our home.
I once found a poem by Sam Walter Foss that says "Let me live in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man." That was Mama.
I want to end with something from Anna
" I just read the story Miss Rumphius to Carter, the one about the lupine lady. I thought of Grandma - how it was important to her to make outside her house look beautiful, and how she thought the whole world should be covered in flowers.
I especially thought of her when in the story the old lady's back hurt so much that she couldn't plant anymore flowers like she wanted to.
I liked the last part of the story - not because it is my life long goal or anything, but I think it symbolizes a lot of what Grandma was like.
The little girl says -
"When I grow up ... I too will go to faraway places and come home to live by the sea."
"That is all very well, little
says my aunt, "but there is a third thing you must do." Alice
"What is that?" I ask.
"You must do something to make the world more beautiful."
That was Grandma. She made the world more beautiful wherever she went.