My Mom was the Strongest Person I Knew

Strength of will, of spirit, of faith, of love, of every good thing a person can be.

She raised five kids and helped with many others. Her strong but gentle hands, heart and spirit guiding and supporting us in every choice we made. She lived and breathed true, unconditional love for her husband, her children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, cousins and dear friends. That’s who she was – surrounded by many because of her infectious spirit of love and joy for living. People wanted to be around her.

For Pam, Kevin, Tim, Brian and me, my Mom was everything. And we, as many, will never let go of her love and memory. She gave all of herself over and over, as we struggled, grew and built our own lives, our own families. She allowed each of us to find our own way – never letting us go too far off the right path without a gentle – or a firm – push back in the right direction. She allowed us to make our own mistakes – and there were many – without ever losing the right to come home, the right and privilege of being her child. She allowed to be the very distinct individuals we are. She gave us the values and the perspective on life to make us adults – the parents, the spouses, the friends we have become to those we love and have brought into our extended family.

Like many, without her, we would be less of a person. She gave us her anal-retentiveness, her need to be in control, to be organized. She instilled our willingness and desire to succeed, our belief in ourselves, the right to be happy and the ability to laugh , strength in the face of adversity, conviction of faith, and compassion and kindness for others. She taught us how to love, how to be a spouse and a parent. She showed us that nothing matters more than family. She taught us that under God’s direction, we have the right and freedom to make choices, that we are responsible for our lives and the paths they take.

She was a centering and grounding force across so many years of happiness and sadness, frustration and peace. Through every adventure and journey, we eventually ended up at 1 Oak Ridge West, for a meal, a conversation or just some rest and refuge.

My Mom lives on in every person who holds a memory in their heart. Her legacy is secured by the mark she has made on your heart and on your view of life. Her presence is so very real by the actions you take because of her, I stand here waiting for her to walk through the door at any moment, to take center stage next to her soulmate, Jim, where she will always belong. Her memory is carried into the future, into the world by her loving husband, her 8 children, her 15 grandchildren, 1 great-granddaughter of 6 days, her brothers and sisters and family, and countless friends.

One person can move the world. My Mom demonstrated that – she carried the world for 56 years. She fought the good fight every day, and never accepted no. Now she passes the mantle to willing shoulders. We, collectively, take it graciously from her and allow her the peace she so desperately deserves. Mom, we love you.

August 17, 2000