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It’s hard to say goodbye. We wish that we had more time, and perhaps that during the time we had we had spent more of it together. I especially regret not going to visit Mom during the past two years of my life.

While we know that she is at peace and that her struggles are at an end, there is pain and sadness. But even though she is gone, she has left the legacy of her love and perseverance. The ways she touched our lives will remain, and I ask you to keep those memories alive by sharing them with me and with one another.
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As a son-and-law, I was lucky enough to live with Mom for a great deal of my life. She saw me through adversity - times when I suffered from deep depression. She took care of our two children Kristina and Erica during the day and was lucky enough to have her own living-quarters downstairs where she could have her own privacy. She did our cooking and washed our clothes and carefully folded our clothes every day. And she rarely took a day off. It was important for her to stay busy, and she definitely took great pride in household chores. For me personally, she painstakingly did alterations on pants, made sure my dress shirts were impeccable to wear and ensured that my sweatshirts did not get shrunk in the dryer.

Perhaps I will remember most about Mom, were the stories she told of her childhood growing up when her sister Aunt Mary got came to visit us. Although Aunt Mary was definitely the funnier of the two, Mom had a sense of humor as well. She had the ability to make me laugh with her quick wit. I will miss her patented "Oh my!" she would utter before she broke out in laughter over one of my jokes or when I completely surprised her with something that I said, or about something that had occurred in the news.

Mom was not only a great Mom but a good friend to many. She struck up friendships easily and was always there for her friends. She was also a very religious person, who put her faith in God, during good times and bad. And she endured through some very tough times when her husband took ill, and when she tragically lost both her son Brian and her daughter Jeanne both to cancer.

I was able to do a lot of traveling with Mom, and I truly had a great time. I especially enjoyed the time we went to visit my aunt Pat in San Francisco, where we got to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge!

I will treasure each and every Christmas I got to share with Mom. I will especially remember the time when carolers came into the house on each Christmas Even while at Flora Place and the holidays we celebrated together as a family. I will also remember Mom's ability to make the best potato salad I ever ate, and her ability to cook a Roast to perfection. I will also remember the holidays when she worked so diligently to be a part of cooking the best meals possible, including her ability to cook the best turkey for Thanksgiving. She really was an excellent cook, and I was reminded that when I came home from work during the weekdays.

One of the most important things in Mom’s life was watering and nurturing plants and the flowers we had around the outside of our house, and she took great pride in that. Gardeners are special people. It takes patience and perseverance and a love for living things to grow a garden or a beautiful flower. Gardening is tedious and hard work, but there is something that gardeners know and experience that others sometimes do not. There are beauty and satisfaction in seeing the result of our labor grow and come to fruition. There is a peacefulness that can come over us as we care for and nurture the flowers and plants in a garden. In nurturing living things and helping to bring beauty and peace to the world, gardeners make a difference in the world and make their lives and the lives of those who see their gardens richer and fuller. I think that for Mom, maybe working in the garden was a way to be the careful nurturing person she was always meant to be.

Here is a poem by Helen Steiner Rice entitled ‘Spring Garden’

So when I looked at those flowers,
I was looking at God
For they bloomed in His sun
and grew in His sod
And each lovely flower
was a “voice from above”
That whispered a message
of Kindness and Love
For I feel in my heart,
and I know you do, too,
That God speaks to us all
through the kind things we do
And when I looked at those flowers
I couldn’t help but feel
That they brought heaven nearer
and made God so real.

This family, and her role as mother and grandmother, was the most important thing to Mom. This is where she drew her strength and left her legacy. Being with her family was what Mom enjoyed most of all. Her life had many obstacles. Yet through it, all, her love and caring for her family remained her focus, and in so many, many ways, she was able to show that love to us. This perseverance through adversity is a powerful lesson for us, and I believe it is her legacy. What a wonderful lesson she gave us. Keep your priorities straight. Keep that which is most important in focus. Love and care for your family. Let them know in all the ways you can show them that you love them. Don’t let adversities or setbacks or any of the distractions of the world keep you from this most important aspect of life.

How many people in this world have had it so much easier than Mom did? How many never had to face half the trouble she faced, and yet lose sight so easily of what is truly important? Many of us get distracted by insignificant things in life, many of us brood and focus on our little problems, and forget that which is most important.

But through everything Mom went through, she managed to keep her priorities straight. What can be more important than loving and showing your love for your family? How can some of us who are blessed with so much forget to be thankful to God, while somehow Mom kept her faith through all of her trials?

This is a wonderful legacy. This is a wonderful example to follow. Keep focused on what is truly important, not only when your life is easy, but when it is difficult too.

Mom, I will always love you and cherish all the days I had with you!

I'd like to close by reciting the 23rd psalm ‘the Lord is my shepherd’.

The Twenty-Third Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; Thy rod and
thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence
of mine enemies: thou anointest my head
with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life: and I will
dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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