I’ve been unable to write about my latest experience in life. The death of my last parent occurred on August 26, 2015. One year after my first parent, my Dad’s passing. (August is now my least favorite month I think by the way.)
So today I’d like to share what I wrote and spoke at my Mother’s funeral.
Honestly I wasn’t sure I would be able to write a eulogy for Mom. I was struggling and I think the prayers helped that I asked for. I am so glad God gave me the strength to get through the speaking and writing from my heart to represent my siblings and myself on this day to honor Mom.
Let me give you a picture of who she was, before I start my process of working through words as I do to grieve.
As most of you know, I am Julie, Frona’s youngest daughter. Today I’d like to share with you something I’ve written on behalf of my siblings and myself.
There’s a hole in our family. Our mother, grandmother, cheerleader, and outspoken supporter of our lives passed away. And she did it in true form to who she was. In the last few days of her life we witnessed her biggest challenge and she performed like a champ right up to the end. I won’t go into details but in true” Frona form” she kept surprising the doctors and nurses.
When asked to describe our mother the first word we would all say is “tough”. Frona was a fighter and a survivor in more than one aspect of her life on earth. Yet she knew how to have fun and loved being with family.
I believe she became tough and strong starting at a young age. Being the second to the youngest of thirteen children couldn’t have been easy in the 1940’s. Frona endured a difficult first marriage, cared for her children as a single mother, and worked almost all her life outside the home. Before Bob, he second husband passed away in 2009 she cared for him daily although she had a back injury herself. This gave her purpose and she loved Bob a great deal. After his passing her life was never the same.
In her life she represented a woman who worked (physically) hard and could compete with any man on any given day. Even when her back injury became difficult to endure she was stubborn and wouldn’t give up. Sometimes her stubbornness worked for her and other times not so much. Either way, her family loved her and misses her a great deal.
When we talked about our childhoods and her place in them we found ourselves deep in memories. There was the fried chicken she cooked in the huge cast iron skillet, to the camping trip in the pasture, her love of dancing, the loud greeting and big smile when someone entered her home. The way Artex paints or sewing projects would be strung across the dining room table or the way she would tightly put curlers in us girl’s hair the night before school pictures. She was the life of the party at dances and would dance with anyone, especially to country music.
Our mother, back in the day, was a woman who could bake the best pecan rolls and make meringue for pies super high; then turn around that afternoon and shovel manure or drive a feed truck. This taught her daughters there were no limits to being a woman in the world of working. It taught all her children strength and endurance.
Frona always loved to make the big dinners and have family over at her house. I believe that is where I got my love for it. The laughter and games that were played, her grandchildren laughing at something outrageous that Grandma would say, and there was always pictures to be taken. These are precious memories for us now. Traditions we hope to continue.
In her house anyone was welcome, meaning if you brought home a friend or new to be in law or someone who might seem like the “underdog” Mom always welcomed them. In fact, there were times it felt like she liked them better than her own kids! J
She was loved and adored by nieces and nephews. She was the crazy loud aunt. The one that when she showed up would hug and slap you on the back or wrestle you to the ground! If you gave her a hard time, she gave it right back only bigger and better.
Grandchildren became a great source of joy to her. She would do anything for them. Luckily the grandkids would visit grandma’s house or text, call, or message her often. They felt the same way about her that she felt about them.
As her children we have many memories to remember and we are grateful for them. Growing up, Mother may not have shown her love with many hugs, because of her tough exterior, but she showed it through helping us when we asked her to. The hugs did come, and the “I love you” every single time we would leave as we grew older. Now we will look to the resurrection of Jesus Christ so we can all be with her again. That’s our hope and our future as she was a baptized child of God.
I know today is supposed to be about Mom but I’d like to take a moment to say something else, that she is connected to.
I believe one of the best gifts I have ever received from my parents and God were the people I call my siblings. I was given three people who I share a bond with and they have always loved and cared for me. Most people jokingly say, when talking about birth order “They saved best for last.” Remember. I am the youngest. But I believe God knew I would need the best before me. I love you Tam, Rick, and Elizabeth. I am so thankful that we were together, holding Mom’s hand when she took her last breath. You are all an extension of her and Dad and I’m grateful to call you family.
Our family would like to thank you all for coming today and celebrating our mother’s life with us.