Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thoughts before dawn

My mother died last night. 

At age 92, she couldn’t recover from the anesthesia needed to pin her broken hip.  Dad did her a last kindness, and declined that she be re-intubated.  She was tired, and stuff finally wears out.
Mom’s life crossed many big transitions in the world.  When she was born at home in the mining hills of Pennsylvania in 1919 to a blacksmith/coal miner and his wife, an airplane passing overhead brought everyone outside.  She led her high school class, but young women rarely attended college; the Depression sealed the deal.
This was a tough woman, who married a kind, steady rock of a man just after the war.  When she went in to labor with the last of us six kids, he walked her the half-mile trail he had shoveled in deep snow through the farm fields to the car he’d parked up on Ox Hill Road. 
Mom had a mule for a pet as a girl, and she gave us kids our heads, as they say.  She and Dad didn’t seem to even swallow hard when I said I wanted to learn to fly, just asked me how I was going to pay for it.
She found the Church in DC before she met Dad, and they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, the closest one at that point.  They scraped and planned and placed their hopes on real estate, sometimes good, sometimes not.  Meanwhile, she raised dogs and kids, sold goats’ milk to visiting Saudi kings, and held things together.
So here at the end, how to sum up a life?  I’d call it a quiet success.  
She and Dad were honest to a fault, raised good kids, and did it on the foundation of the Gospel.  If “by their fruits ye shall know them,” then those awaiting her arrival on the distant shore will early recognize the glow of a good woman headed their way. 



Darwin Stull said...

She was part of the "greatest generation." Just think of all they accomplished. It's too bad that generation is exiting the stage. I wonder if the next generation will look like a bunch of amateur actors by comparison.

Randy and Leslie Reese said...

When one finishes the race is such a grand style as your mother, we should all renew our faith in the purpose of life and the goal of eternal life. We appreciate you and Paula for the example that you are and for the service that you are rendering. We pray for comfort for your dad and that the Lord will ease his and your loss.

With love,
Randy and Leslie

Leonard said...

So sorry to read of the death of your mom. She sounds like a great lady.
Kathy Chontos

Tabb and Michelle said...

Bro. Henderson,

I'm sorry to hear of your mother's passing. What an amazing life she has led and what a great legacy she has built with your father. I hope you will find comfort (as I know you do) in the great opportunities that she is now embracing. I'll pray for your Dad to have peace and comfort during this short time without your Mom.

Teri Boulter said...

Upon reading about your Mom's life, I have come to the conclusion that she and my mom (who passed away at age 94 in June) are actually having a jolly good time on the other side. They could well be twins! Both very dedicated to their family and the gospel and with that "can do" spirit. We know you will miss her, but it gives me great comfort to know that they are both back being busy and extremely useful taking care of things again as they did in mortal life.
Love, Teri and Bill

Anonymous said...

Dave, so sorry to hear of your mom's passing. I need to keep up with this site and read it more often. I enjoy your posts so much. As you recall my mom passed away last January and I went up to McLean for her funeral..So many wonderful feelings to be back in the McLean Ward Chapel.. I could hear her there. I could see her singing in that chapel. Remember Brother Hamm closing the doors so reverently? May God and flights of angels sing them to their rest. God bless you and all you do.

Thom Shurtleff

Abigail Whitt said...

What a nice tribute to your mom. Isn't it wonderful to know where she is and how content and happy she is with her life lived here?

Brenda Perry said...

I am just now learning of your mom's passing and send my deepest sympathy. She raised a wonderful son, and I know she was very proud of who you became and all of your accomplishments. Brenda Perry