This week I am sharing stories about people who had a major impact on my life. I like this post because of the pictures that show the love my parents had for each other and the words portraying what wonderful parents they were.
I wrote this in 2000 on my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Since that time, Daddy lived four more years with declining mental acuity due to vascular dementia and a stroke, which mercifully ended that decline.
Mother lived to January 2010. We found out she had had the signs of Alzheimer’s or some kind of dementia while Daddy was still living but the symptoms were so subtle that we kids didn’t recognize them for what they were.
The sitters who took care of Daddy, took care of Moma too. After Daddy died, my brother and his wife gave Moma a home and loving care. Finally she was placed in a nursing home where Aunt Helen, her sister-in-law, could visit her often.
I saw her every month or so because I lived in North Carolina and she lived in South Carolina. Each visit, it seemed, revealed more and more of my mother being lost.
Moma was my example of what a good woman, wife, and mother should be. I was the oldest, Dawn came two years after me, then Jim six years after me, and then Betty 12 years after me.
We are all really nice, honest, hard-working, loving, and industrious people who grew up in a wonderful home.
Dear Moma and Daddy,
This is a very special day for all of us. You have been married fifty years. A feat not everyone has achieved. It takes a lot of love to make a marriage work and last that long. We, your four children and their families, want to honor you and this wonderful accomplishment by reminiscing and sharing what you mean to us.
I wish every child could have you two for parents. The word that summarizes our family growing up would be “love.” You treated each of us as a precious gift from God. You taught us how to love each other, how to love God, our extended families of aunts and uncles and cousins, then others around us.
We were given examples of the love by your marriage, by your care for us, by your teachings of sharing and relating to others and from your supporting our participation in family gatherings, church activities, and other community related activities.
Moma, since Daddy had to work outside the home, you were our minute to minute reminder that we were loved. I believe your family and your home were two of your greatest joys.
You were and still are my primary example of what a good mother, Christian woman, wife and nurse should be. These are the crucial roles I define myself by even now. You were the foundation of my personality and every part of my life I consider important.
I know you find it hard to believe Moma, but I thought of you also as a beautiful movie star with your bright beautiful eyes and smile. This way of looking at you was probably learned from Daddy because he was and is so proud of you and your inner and outer beauty.
You were like the Dale Evans to his Roy Rogers; always ready to help, or come to the rescue when someone was in trouble.
I love that picture Daddy took of you in the black scoop neck dress, looking upward, smiling with shining eyes. No wonder I thought you were so beautiful!
I remember some of the times I was sick and how usually you took me to our pediatrician and then cared for me. Daddy helped when he was home.
I remember the clothes you sewed for Dawn’s and my dolls because we couldn’t afford store bought doll clothes, but yours were so much better! I remember your taking us places while Daddy worked, to movies, to see family members and the park.
I enjoyed many activities with my family. We prayed, played, worked, learned, traveled, ate, and worshiped together.
I remember the music in our home. We sang in the car when traveling; You played the piano, then we each took music lessons in piano or violin; sang in the church choir and listened to records. Music added joy and texture to our lives.
Watching us grow up, learn and live, hopefully, at least most of the time has been a reward of sorts for all the tears, prayers, and effort you two spent caring for us, playing with us, nurturing us, sacrificing for us, staying up late with us and always, always worrying about us. Because of your efforts the world is four good people better off.
Thank you Moma and Daddy for the examples you set, for making our childhoods so rich with love, memories, experiences and each other. You did a great job. You know, actually your job isn’t finished. We still need you. You are our examples of what life ahead can be like. You are needed here still to advise and support us. But most of all we still need your love and prayers.
Thank you both for doing such a great job. We stand as monuments to your skills as parents and to your love.
So you can see how fortunate we were to have this woman as our mother. I realize more and more as I get older the strength of character, she had to be mother and often father to us four kids.