Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Rose

Three beautiful roses. Three beautiful women. Many years ago they shared the same last name. Their childhood was not easy. In those days, it wasn't easy for anyone. But they credit that time for the closeness they shared all their lives.Oh sure, they had occasional spats, like all sisters do. They didn't agree on everything. But they looked after each other. Celebrated special occasions. Stood together in the face of adversity. Rejoiced over each other's good news. Supported each other in times of disappointment and lately, health challenges.
Three wonderful women. Now there are two. My mom was the first to go home to heaven.
Phyllis was a strong, spirited, dynamic woman. She loved life and lived it with gusto. You may not think so because she didn't have a college degree and a career, or live in a fancy house. But once you read the rest of her story, you'll see.As a young woman, she loved gymnastics, riding motorcycles and in convertibles, Elvis, and hanging out with friends. No matter what her age, she was up for a motorcycle ride anytime and, if possible, would have hopped on a bike last summer. She loved cooking and good, home style food. She enjoyed parties and especially planning them. She dreamed of having her own catering business. She liked fast cars and road trips. Grandpap nicknamed her "Barney" after a race car driver. She loved hats, jewelry, and a bit of glitz, especially when it came to holiday decorating.Mom collected antique glassware (which she called "my treasures"), liked her coffee, and talking on the phone. Oh, did she love to talk on the phone! So much so that Dad teased her it was her telephone habit that caused my brother to be born with a misshapen ear. She was definately a night owl and enjoyed watching old movies or anything with Patrick Swayze in it.

Mom was the keeper of our family history. She absorbed the stories she heard and passed them on. Now we need to keep those stories in our hearts and pass them on to the next generation.

The Phyllis we knew loved her independence. She worked very, very hard all her life to help support the family but let's be honest: she also enjoyed that sense of freedom and, as she would say, "the jingle in my pocket" she got from working.

She was absolutely fearless. She stood strong through the challenges that life threw at her and she faced them down like some Warrior Queen. Even when faced with losing her leg, she took hold of that decision and made it her own and didn't look back. She hated to be told what to do!

More than anything, Phyllis loved her family. She was a devoted daughter - and she raised one just like her in my sister, Lynn. She loved her brother and sisters and was very close to all of them. She was a wonderful daughter-in-law, looking after my grandparents, Ed & Isabelle, as if they were her own parents. She adored babies and had five of her own, plus treated everyone else's like they were hers, too. Her grandchildren were a great joy and blessing to her and she was so proud of all of them. Most of all, her husband was absolutely the love of her life and she was "hopelessly devoted" to him. She fell in love with and claimed him for herself at age 11 but it was a few years before she got him to the altar. That adventurous marriage lasted nearly 57 years.

She instilled the belief in her children that their dad was a king. That we could do anything we set our minds to, that we were wealthy (even though we were far from it) and could hold our heads high with anyone, anywhere. She instilled a strong sense of family values, honesty & integrity. She did it by example. And also with "The Look." Oh yeah, that look could drop a kid at fifty paces!

Phyllis was always there for anyone who needed her. A listening ear, a dispenser of wise advice, a helping hand, a comfort in time of trouble. We found a poem in her high school scrapbook that a friend wrote about her during study hall in 1951. It talked about her selflessness and generosity and just demonstrates that she was always a compassionate, giving person.

Her biggest fault was in neglecting herself. And maybe her salty language. *smile*

She didn't talk about spiritual matters very much. She was a private person. But she did believe in Jesus Christ as her Savior and today she is in heaven.....

Dancing on both legs. Talking endlessly to her mother and not needing a phone. Listening to Isabelle's stories and telling a few of her own. And no doubt, she & Ed are racing across heaven just to see how fast they can go.

Mom, we love you. You will be so missed by many people, but most of all your family.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15


mwc said...

Beautiful piece. You did
your Mom proud.

Rest assured she has the finest now.

Debbie Henceroth said...

"Her children arise and call her blessed" Proverbs 31:28....a tribute like this was what the Bible was talking about. Thanks, Connie for sharing about your beautiful Mom..she will be missed but never forgotten.

Sammie said...

What a beautiful written life story about your Mom. You were very blessed to be able to have had her in your life. I would have loved to have had a mother like yours in my life. (Now, I have beautiful daughters and grandchildren!)