"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In Loving Memory of Mama.

It was dark. It was cold and she walked with a cane, but we were going cat fishin’. She was 68 years old; which at the time to me seemed – well, old! I was amazed as I saw her son help her down the bank to the edge of the lake. He put down a camp chair for her to sit in and she proceeded to get her pole and hook ready. The expression in her voice told me she loved fishing, but what she loved even more, was just being with her son.

It was the first time I had ever met Myrtle, my future mother-in-law, but it was only the beginning of all the times that I would see the courage, strength and faithfulness in the way this woman lived life.

She passed away today, though we were really hopeful that she would stay around a couple more months, so she could be there for Matt’s high school graduation. “You will be there,” I had promised her. “We will make sure of it!” And she warned me with a smile, “Well, I had better be!”

Myrtle, “Mama”- as my husband always called her – loved her kids and her grandkids. Of course I noticed this most by the love and affection she displayed for Matthew. She loved her grandson and could not have been more proud. Matt came to all of us late in our lives and for her, that made him even a bit more special, it seemed. Though, I know for a fact each one of her grandkids was as special as the other. There were no favorites, she just loved them all and she loved them deep. She was a proud grandma and she would do anything for all of them.

She showered Matthew with gifts when he was born. Though, I know she didn’t have a lot of money, she loved to buy him little outfits, adorable stuffed animals, and all kinds of candies and treats. Anything, just to say I am thinking of you. She often would sew him a shirt, or crochet him a hat. One year, she made Matt and his dad shirts that matched… “Like father, like son,” she had said.

She spent much of her later years making crafts. It was a good way for her to spend her time when she could not be quite as active as she was in her younger years. Two knee surgeries, slowed her a bit, but it sure didn’t keep her down. Never a complaint about it, she simply used her time to make things for people, which seemed she enjoyed more than anything else.

Myrtle made the best stew I think I have ever eaten. And she also had a favorite cake that she would make for our family gatherings. It was deep, dark rich, chocolate; with cherries in the middle and it was OH SO GOOD!

Mama was as tough as leather, yet tender as morning dewdrops on blades of summer grass. I saw this best as she traveled the road through breast cancer. She was a 15 year survivor. She had had a mastectomy when Matthew was just a toddler. She went through chemo and radiation with out so much as a whimper. When I looked at her dry, parched and cracked lips from weeks of radiation, I only saw smiles broadened by hope. When she lost all her hair from the chemo therapy, I never heard a word of complaint – only a reason to find a cute, new hat.

She endured much in life, as most people do. She had lost two husbands, and fretted her way through Viet Nam. She was sick with worry, she had often told me of that time when her only son had gone to war. She had raised 4 kids and then helped in the raising of one of her grandkids. She loved camping and fishing; sewing and crafts. She was the Atlanta Braves number one fan, but most of all she loved her family and spending time with them wherever that might be.

Mama was always cheerful, without complaint, and full of life. She had lots of stories to tell, but she also had a listening ear. When Matthew was little he knew without a doubt, there was no one that loved him more than “Grandma”. “Her love is as big as the sky,” he would often tell me. Yep, and warm as rays of sunshine! She will be greatly missed and our days a whole lot chillier if we don’t glean lessons from the way she lived her life.

Hangin' with the Rich and Famous


  1. Oh, Jan, what a lovely summary of a beautiful life. You have been so blessed to have such love flowing into your lives. Praise God from whom such perfect gifts come from. Praying for you all as you go thru the adjustment of life with out her....Amie

  2. Thank you, Amie! I know you're praying, my praying friend! I appreciate you! Love, Jan