As I recall the memories that I have of Mom, it seems as if there are several constants that come to mind. The most basic statement I can say is that no matter the circumstances, she was always there. To me, her constant presence can always be felt. She was always there! Whether in time of joy, such as a happy birthday party, or times of distress, such as a skinned knee or bruised ego, she was there to lend comfort, compassion, and direction. Her "quiet strength" was the rock that our family was built upon. She created a home that was loving, caring, disciplined, Christian, educational, and warm. We children were blessed to have a role model such as Mom while growing up.
As we grew older, we noticed that Mom had an amazing effect on those who came in contact with her. Everybody loved her. She was that kind of tremendous person that comes along every now and then that makes you feel as if you are in the presence of an angel. Underneath that was a heart of gold. However, when it came to the protection and preservation of her family, she was a fighter with no equal. Dad relates the story that if anyone of her children were threatened, he would make sure to get out of the way because Mom was going to the defense of her family. Even in the final stages of her life, she was more concerned with not inconveniencing the family than she was with her own welfare. She was still trying to protect us.
In brief summation, Mom was the closest approximation to an angel that this world is likely to produce. She was loving and compassionate and friendly when needed, but she was also tough and incredibly strong when she had to be. Her lingering illness and death was the worst experience of my life. But even as she was suffering, she always had a smile when anyone walked in. She never complained, except to say she was sorry she couldn't handle pain that would have destroyed anyone else. Her constitution and will to live amazed her doctors and nurses, who also came to adore and admire her.
I remember a conversation I once had with Dad. He said that not only were he and Mom husband and wife, but they were best of friends. Their role modeling has been the inspiration toward finding my wife. Because of what I saw in my parents, I was able to find the woman to most match me in my marriage.
The rest of us can only hope to follow in Mom's footsteps. I miss her immensely.
I will love you forever, Mom!