(All scripture references from the NIV)
If my Mom were still here on earth, she would be turning 91 in a couple of days – November 20. So I have had a lot of memories flooding my mind about her recently. Please indulge me while I share with you about my Mom and those memories.
An only child, she was born in 1926. Her nickname growing up was “Punk” and that name stuck for her entire life. (In fact, there were many people that never knew what her real name was.) She graduated from high school in May 1945 and almost immediately at age 18 traveled alone by train to Modesto, CA to marry my Dad (on June 16) where he was serving in the U.S. Navy. After WWII ended in 1946 they returned to Texas.
I was born in July 1946, so they didn’t have a lot of time to experience a “normal” life before the grind was upon them. I know that for a while we lived next door to my Mom’s parents then over time they were able to build a home for us to move into. At some point, my Mom went to work and my Dad was in the construction business so it would seem that life was good for us.
In 1952 my first brother blessed our family. Just a few months later in 1953 my Dad had a surprise opportunity for a new career that required a move to a smaller town. Without complaints, my Mom resettled and made a wonderful home for us there. She soon found a job and we all adjusted to our new life. Then boom! In 1962 we had another surprise. My Mom found herself pregnant at age 35 and the family was blessed again with my youngest brother.
Five short years later my Mom was widowed at age 40. I was 20 and married just a few short weeks later, moving 1600 miles away. (By the way, I tried to postpone my marriage but she insisted I go ahead.) Left with my brothers, ages 14 and 5 and a life without her beloved husband, it was a difficult time for her. There were many challenges with her oldest child living so far away, a teenage son that in his grieving developed a rebellious mindset and a young boy that was too young to understand what had happened. But my Mom was a strong, determined lady and made her way forward.
This was a woman that certainly saw her share of hard times, but the woman I knew growing up was always a person that loved life. This was a portion of her obituary that is so descriptive of her: “A strong, independent woman, Punk was a very special lady with an infectious smile. She loved her family, her friends and life in general and reflected a zest for life that was noticed by all, regardless of age. To know her truly was to love her because of her bright, optimistic and fun outlook on life.”
Here are some quotes of entries left on the obituary guestbook from those that knew her: “A very vivacious, spicy lady”…”Her integrity and beauty lives on through each and every one of you”…”We were all so fortunate to have known her and call her our friend”…”You were so much fun to be around..always so cheerful”…”You were an awesome woman”…”Fun to be around and enjoying life”…”You will be missed but not forgotten.”
Proverbs 31:10-31 talks about a virtuous woman – the wife of noble character – please take the time to read that passage. So many of the verses describe my Mom, but a couple of them that especially reflect the kind of woman my Mom was: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (verse 25) “Her children arise and call her blessed..” (verse28)
My own entry into that memorial guestbook was: “Mother…you were my very best friend ever, always there for me thru thick & thin. I already feel the void & I’ll miss you more than words could ever express. I want to think I can be half the person you were & that I could be loved half as much as you were by all those that knew you. I would say “Rest in Peace”, but I know you probably won’t be resting all that much. You are likely celebrating your reunion with Daddy with your dancing shoes on, jitterbugging the night away. Give him a hug & a kiss for me. I love you!”
On this upcoming April 8 it will be 7 years since she passed from here to her eternal life at the age of 84. When my Mom was in the hospital, a pastor came to visit her. He asked her if she was sure of her salvation and she told him that she was. That makes me confident that I will see her when I make it there – it will be a wonderful homecoming reunion!
Happy Birthday Mom – I still love and miss you!
Written by Karran Martin