I can’t lie…. the past couple of months have been rough for us. But, even in the roughest patches of life….if you look hard enough …. You find blessings. An example - If you stood at the side of mom’s casket…you heard me talk about her suffering, her pain… but if you have looked at her body lying there….you’ve seen peace… and no pain. If you had been with us the past couple months…you would be able to identify with our fear…and frustration… but, if you would have listened to her speak…you couldn’t help but laugh…. At her jokes… her salty humor…. And resolve…. That she was ready “to go.”
She’s told us at church that she didn’t know why the Lord hadn’t taken her already…. But she accepted the challenge that he must have something more for her to do.
She has never ceased to amaze me. But she also never ceased to be so humble that she consistently underestimated herself. She has always put everyone else before herself. She quit school before she graduated high school– to take a job as a waitress in order to help my Grandmother – who was raising five children on her own. After she married my dad, she took care of him – ironing his uniforms, sacrificing for his military assignments, she walked miles to work as a waitress, only to walk miles each day on the job…and miles back home…for pennies….to buy me pencils and paper for school. She was a saver. My dad thought as long as you had checks, you had money. But Mom – she knew how to budget. She used to give me a 25 cent allowance and taught me how to buy and divide a box of Red Hots and a Sugar Daddy so I had candy all month and was still able to save money!! She could put my current financial advisor to shame. She was soooo smart although she would always claim she wasn’t. She decided to get her GED the same year I graduated from High School. I was so proud of her! From there, she decided she wanted to become and EMT and from there she decided she wanted to become a Paramedic. She was the first female Paramedic in Barbour County. Her and my dad volunteered at the Barbour County Emergency Squad. My dad drove the ambulance, and of course my mother – took care of others. She later worked at the Barbour County Country Club, serving others….then she later took a job with the Barbour County Health Department and was a Home Health Aide. Again, she took care of others, and loved her patients fiercely.
She also loved her family fiercely. Her sister Janet – as soon as they came in contact with one another – in person or on the phone….they were laughing. She was so proud of her brother Lowell – who she still called her baby brudder - She was our family’s Matriarch. Our Family reunions were centered around her.
She was the ultimate Grandma. She loved my children with all her heart and soul. They spent days, nights, weekends, with Grandma & Grandpa. If my menu didn’t suit them, a quick call to Grandma’s house would result in a menu far superior to whatever spread I was preparing. Will would call her on the phone…”Grandma…what are you having for dinner….Mom is having those old broccolis again”….and she would counter offer mac and cheese or something yummy to lure him from my house to hers…. From the time they were little….Grandma’s was the place to be.
Grandma would also take Will and Sarah to the bus stop when they were in school…. She was like a real life movie star to them…. Specifically like one of the Dukes of Hazard….only backwards. Grandma would come zooming over to our house in her car…Will and Sarah would run out and jump in (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t slide over the hood a few times)….and she would throw her arm onto the back of the seat and hit the gas… and they can tell you – she could drive faster backwards than most people drive forward….. She would throw that car in reverse and they would sail backwards to the end of the driveway….. without the tires ever hitting the ground. This later contributed to the several speeding tickets my daughter Sarah earned…. Because she always wanted to be just like Grandma…. Only she took it to the streets.
Fast forward, many of you know about the June 30, 2016 accident when she was run over by our farm tractor. Her and my Uncle Lou were attempting to remove hay that jammed up the baler, she was lying on the ground and my dad turned to see if she was out of the way…his knee accidentally hit the emergency brake and the huge tractor rolled backwards… on top of this little woman who was the absolute love of his life. Her left hip was snapped completely in two….her right hip was broken….her pelvis was crushed….and she had broken ribs. My father never forgave himself for that accident….but my mother never quit reassuring him that everything was okay. She assured everyone…doctors, nurses, family…. She had NO pain. She wanted to refuse pain pills. She fought her way through the recovery and was home and walking within a couple months. She was truly a miracle woman.
The next year, one week shy of the tractor accident, my dad died, on June 23, 2017…. – when he was run over by his own car. Mom found him, under the car – and perhaps she never forgave herself for not finding him sooner – I can’t be sure, but her heart was broke that day… and she never truly recovered.
She has been through several tragic situations -
Tragic yes, but let me give you a glimpse into her life…. Into the reason our family is so happy and share with you the things that make us laugh…even today….
If you watched the slide show – we included a copy of her Sams Card. She had this picture taken and it was so horrendous….that she saved it – when she ran into someone who was having a bad day…she pulled it out and showed it to them to make them laugh. She invented the fact that self deprecating humor is a tool of humor professionals.
She had a sense of humor that never stopped…. On Saturday – Mike Wanstreet came to the hospital to visit….and when was ready to leave…he asked us all to recite the 23rd Psalm….and the Lord’s Prayer. I watched as mom’s lips moved…even though she could barely audibly speak…. When he finished….she said….”You were just checking to see if I remembered it weren’t you?”…..
She always found a way to be funny… She just couldn’t quit….couldn’t quit giving to others…. providing Comic relief…. Care, love, food, faith…. She shared it all with us…. She showed us…. Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity, Christian Faith, Determination….success. My mother, was so beautiful – in so many different ways…. And she would just roll her eyes if you tried to corner her into admitting it was true.
So before we leave today…. Open your hearts…. Let our precious and heavenly father touch you, comfort you, and lead you….as he is leading us….to not grieve, but to rejoice and give thanks for the life of my mother, your sister, your friend, your family member, as we recite the Lord’s prayer:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever]
Ohh Grammy... We will love you forever and always. I’m not sure how we will learn to go on without you. Please remind pap how much we love and miss him! I’m so happy for you that you have joined our other family members. Only the selfish part of me wishes you could have stayed with us forever. I know you were ready, and you were tired. I’m glad we spent that time together in the hospital, because I was reassured you were ready and no amount of tears would have changed your mind. The tears I cry is not because I wish you were here, it is because my heart is broken, because of how much I loved you. Watch over our family and your great grandbabies. I promise I will do my best to take care of mom. I’m not sure I will be as good as you, but I will try my best. Just one more thing... you would not have believed how beautiful your service was. It was SO beautiful, and all of the flowers that were sent... oh my goodness. The people that came to say goodbye, reminded all of us just how many lives you touched.
It is so hard to say goodbye to such a loving member of our family. We have so many memories to share, the get together's up on the farm, all the lovely family reunions, the great food and all of the silliness that went along with it all. Our families are more like siblings then cousins. We have lost so many beautiful family members, and I am sure they were all waiting with open arms for Wilma. She will be deeply missed. All our love and prayers. Judy, Mark and family