By Kenneth Jackson

By Kenneth Jackson

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Mother

Friends and Family,
I was given the honor to speak at my Mother's service.  It has been on my heart to share with you what I said about my Mother who was my hero in life.  I heard someone say this morning---"Faith is caught--it is not taught."  This is my Mother's example:  it is  long in typing it. but if you should have some time to read it and want to, I wanted you to know the Mother I was blessed to have.

It is my privilege to tell you about our Mother.  She was Mother to us, she was Granny to her grandchildren and she was Bubba to her sisters.  Mother was the youngest of five girls--the baby---and her sisters called her Bubba and her nieces and nephews called her Aunt Bubba.  When Bryce, Beth and I met together to talk about what to say today, we all agreed that it was impossible to put into words what all this one person--our Mother was to us.  There are not enough words or enough time to tell you what she did for us.  Life was never about Mother and her needs or wants--it was always about us.  We saw in life what few people experience.  There is a scripture that says there is no greater love than when a person lays down their life down for another.  That is what Mother did for us--she literally laid her life down for us.  She raised us by herself.  If Daddy were here, he would be the first one to tell you that.  He always gave Mother all the credit.  She sacrificed and worked hard to provide for all our needs.  Mother was 16 years old when she eloped with our father.  By the time she was 21, she had three children--first me, then Bryce and then Beth.  We grew up out in the country on a dairy.  We were so poor--Bryce said "dirt poor," but we didn't know it.  We thought everyone grew up on fried spam and bologna sandwiches.  I was grown before I knew that spam wasn't real ham!!  Beth says she still loves spam!  But when we ate our fried spam, we sat at the table holding our fork correctly, with elbows off the table, not chewing with our mouths open, and asking to please be excused when we were through.  We couldn't leave the table until we had eaten everything on our plates including vegetables.  Bryce figured out a way to get around that.  Our table had hollow chrome legs and Bryce would stuff his green beans and peas down the legs of the table!.  Years later when we moved, all those dried green beans and peas came pouring out of the legs!!  Mother made sure that we behaved.  We never talked back to our Mother.  She had a fly swatter and we did not want that on our bare legs.  I remember calling my brother a name one time when I was very young.  I only did it one time.  We were expected to behave when we went to anyone's house and we were never allowed to ask anyone for anything--even at our grandparents's.  Mother would never ask for help.  Even when we did not have enough food, she never asked for help from anyone including her parents or Daddy's parents.  To support us, Mother went to work as a waitress when we were very young.  She would take us to our Aunt Dicey's who kept us while Mother worked.
Beth remembers when she was in high school and doing a yearbook for Capri--a club she was in--that she waited until the last minute to type it.  Mother never waited until the last minute to do anything--she was so organized, but Mother got a green typewriter ribbon because the club's colors were green, and after she worked all day on Friday, she stayed up the whole night to type the yearbook.  The next day, the club got a first place ribbon---because of Mother.  Beth said she remembers when she, Bryce and some friends tied a tire with a rope to a car to ride on when it snowed, that Mother was right there in the middle of them!!! 
Our brother, Bryce, even though he was not the baby, Beth and I always called him "baby Bryce" who could do no wrong.  Mother loved all of Bryce's friends and they hung out at our house where Mother fed them her famous tacos, chicken fried steak, hamburgers and much more.  In junior high, all of them put together some money and bought Mother a huge box of Valentine's candy and signed it "To Mom."  She was a second mom to many of them.  One of them, Jackie, in these last years, would come to visit Mother and bring her Chunky Monkey ice cream.  In high school, six of Bryce's friends got together $16.00 dollars apiece to buy a 1949 Dodge.  The only problem was that they were under 18 and couldn't sign to buy it and could not get anyone else to sign for it----except for Mother.  Bryce remembers Mother laughing all the way down to the car lot.  Beth remembers when they drove up at home in the car---Mother was in the front seat grinning from ear to ear.  They painted the doors all different colors and would drive around all hanging out of the car----all because of Mother.  After moving away, Bryce would come to Odessa to play in golf tournaments and stay with Mother.  One time, she asked him how he played.  Bryce told her he played just terrible!!!  Mother said that it was very windy and he didn't know the greens, but never saying he played bad.  She always turned everything into something positive.  Once when he came in and she asked him how he played, Bryce told her he had shot a 68.  Mother grinned real big and teared up and told him that he could have beat Tiger Woods!!  She was our greatest encourager and our greatest supporter.
You know what type of person someone is if their daughter-in-law loves them and thinks they are wonderful which is what Jo thought of Mother.  You have to understand that Jo married "baby Bryce" who Mother had always cooked wonderful, delicious, home-cooked meals for him, and Jo is not known for her culinary skills!  One time, Jo called Mother and asked her if a fourth of a cup or a third of cup was the most!!!---but Mother did not say anything negative about it.
When I was in the fifth grade, our class had elected a king and a queen who had to walk down a long aisle for the program.  My one pair of shoes at the time were worn out and I ran the heel over on them.  I did not want to ask for a new pair of shoes.  Mother somehow scraped together the few dollars to buy me a pair of shoes so I could walk down the aisle.  I will never forget them.  They were bright, shiny new penny loafers.  When I was in high school, I had an old flute.  Mother bought me a brand new Hanes opened-toed flute.  She paid for it in monthly payments of $25.00.  It was very expensive and a huge sacrifice on her part, but she wanted me to have it.  When I was in high school, Mother worked as a waitress at the Golden Rooster.  She worked the lunch run and then worked late at night for the night shift.  When I got up early in the morning to go to band, I would get my lunch money out of her tips which she had on the ironing board in her room.  I remember that I got fifty five cents---the price of a lunch at school.  I would never get more than that because I knew how hard she had worked for it and sometimes it was as much as the tips she had gotten the night before.  Mother kept a little notebook with the years she worked and each week listed.  Then she wrote down the days of the week and how much she made in tips each day---sometimes $3, $4 or $5 dollars--or more- or sometimes less in tips---this was how she provided for all our needs.  Later, Mother worked her way through Columbia Business School and went to work as a secretary at KOSA T.V. station.  She gave it her all and went from a secratary to National Sales Representative in a very short time.  It was a hugh accomplishment.  In her fifties, she took up golf.  She tackled it like she did everything else.  She had a little notebook where she wrote down every round that she played.  She wrote what she shot on the front nine and the back nine, how many putts she had, who she played with, how she played and what the weather was like.  When she made her first hole-in-one, Bryce, Lynn and Chad were there to witness it and see how thrilled she was!!  One of her golfing friends a few years ago told me that Mother made everything fun.  When they went to tournaments,  Mother hummed all the way there and they would sometimes count the telephone poles.  Beth received two phone calls yesterday from two of her golf friends.  One told Beth that mother was always kind to her when sometimes others were not.  Another told Beth that our Mother was one of the most beautiful women inside and out that she had ever known.
Mother was a granny at the age when some people are just having children.  Mother was one of the most vivacious, energetic, postive, upbeat persons you will ever meet.  She didn't just take her grandchildren places---she did everything with them.  She skated with them, swam with them, bowled and played golf with them.  Christi said how she never wanted to come home from Mother's.  Allison, when she was only five years old, flew to Odessa to stay with Mother.  When Allison got home, she asked Jo if Granny was going to die.  Jo told her that some day she would.  Allison said that would be the saddest day of her life.  Beth said how Mother would make elaborate Easter baskets for her four children with games, toys and candy in them.  Mother would bring them to Beth's front door, park way down the street, ring the doorbell and run to her car.  Cory told Beth that he had just seen the Easter bunny and he left in a van!!  One time, Sadie was afraid to go to school because of a girl in her class who was mean to her.  Mother went up to the school and got Sadie moved to another class!!  Chad remembers when Mother took them to the Playdium in West to swim and when they asked her to take them to the Natural Caverns that she took off to take them.  It wasn't until after they got past Waco and realized it was over a hundred miles that they turned around and came back.  She was up for anything with her grandchildren.
Seven years ago, the first caregivers for Mother were two granddaughters---Tina and Sadie, Beth's two daughters.  Daddy got them to come and stay with Mother in the afternoon while he ran errands.  Then when we needed more help, Becky, who was in Mother's Sunday School class came to work, then Robbie.  When Robbie could no longer work, then Leeadria came.  When Tina moved to Dallas last summer, Betty came.  When Becky passed away, here came Rebecca who had never been a caregiver, but fell in love with Mother.  Tina and Sadie took such loving and kind care of Mother.  They did for Mother things they thought they would never be able to do, but they did them because of their love for Mother.  All the caregivers put Mother at the top of the list of those they had cared for.  Mother never complained and never demanded or asked for anything from them.  She always said thank you for everything they brought to her or did for her.  Becky said that when she would begin to complain or gripe about something in her life that all she had to do was look at Mother who never complained.  The only thing Mother ever said to me was about five years ago when she told me that she did not know that death would be like this---where you had to suffer so. After Daddy passed away and Beth and I were sitting with Mother telling her about the schedule for the caregivers---at the time, we had round the clock care for Mother, we were telling her that Beth and Teddy were going to come spend the night, then Becky and Robbie would come, then Tina and Sadie would come as we went over the schedule.  Mother said--"I'm a lot of trouble."  We told her that she was a piece of cake.  She never wanted to be a bother or trouble to anyone.  Mother was telling Becky, one of her caregivers, what she wanted at her funeral.  She told her the songs she wanted sung and she said she wanted Tina and Sadie to carry her casket.  Beth called me and told me this--we had to laugh because how were Tina and Sadie going to carry it by themselves!  That is why the 8 grandchildren---five girls and three boys---are the pallbearers today.  Tina and Sadie lovingly lifted and carried Mother in life while taking care of her.  Now one last time, they are going to lift and carry their Granny with the help of all the other grandchildren.
Bryce and I want to thank Beth for what all she did for Mother.  Because of Beth, Mother has been able to stay in her home these last five years since Daddy passed away.  Beth handles the estate, takes care of Mother's home, buys groceries, manages the four caregivers who stay around the clock with Mother.  She gets new caregivers when we need them.  She changes the schedules of the caregivers when needed and she and Teddy come and stay with Mother when the caregivers cannot be there.  She also does this while working full time.  When Beth was at work, Teddy would come and help Becky get Mother into the car to go to the doctor.  He would follow them there and help unload Mother, come back after the appointment and help with Mother again.  Sometimes, Mother would slip into the floor--as happens when caring for someone--and the caregivers would call Beth and Teddy to come.  Teddy would lovingly lift Mother out of the floor because he loved her.  I asked Beth once how she did all of this--but I know how she did it.  She was following right along by Mother's example.  In life, we do things that sometimes are hard, but we don't complain, and when we finish doing them, we do not complain about having to do them---just like our Mother.  Life for Mother was never easy, but everything that life brought to Mother, she always handled it graciously---never complaining.  Bryce and I will never forget everything that Beth has done for Mother.  Beth always said that at the end of Mother's life that she just wanted to be able to say that we did the best we could.  We did the best we could because of our sister, Beth.
Sadie's youngest son, Dawson, a little surprise blessing, would come to Mother's.  Mother watched the movie, Shrek, over and over with him.  He would sit in her lap and when she was on a walker, he would sit on the seat and ride.  Mother's caregivers had worked out hand signals when Mother could no longer get out words.  Mother would raise one finger for yes.  One day, Dawson asked Granny if he was her favorite.  Mother raised one finger.  Sadie told Mother that she thought Cody was her favorite.  Mother raised one finger.  Dawson then told Mother that both of them were her favorite!!  We were all her favorites---her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren.
There was a special place in Mother's heart for Bryce.  No son has ever been loved as much as Bryce.  No daughters have ever been loved as much as Beth and I were.  Several weeks ago, one of Mother's caregivers called me and asked if I could call Mother and cheer her up.  Mother was weepy and teary that day, which she usually was not.  I called her and said--"Mother, I want you to know how much Bryce, Beth and I love you---how much you are loved and how sorry we are that you cannot say what you want to say, do what you want to do and go where you want to go.  If you want to fly away and be with Daddy and the Lord, go ahead and go.  Bryce, Beth and I will be okay.  We will be okay because of you and the way that you raised us.  When you get to heaven, I believe when your feet hit the ground, that you will take off running--with your curly hair flying and you will be free.  You will be free of the body that failed you.  Mother's body failed her, but her mind did not.
These last days when Mother was at hospice house, she rested peacefully.  The peace and calm was felt in the room with her.  She ministered that to us.  Bryce's birthday was on Tuesday.  Monday, Beth said that Mother would not go on his birthday.  Tuesday morning, the nurse told us Mother was not doing it by the book---her body was showing the signs of going, but her blood pressure was not going down as her pulse rate was rising.  On Wednesday morning, I wish you had seen her face.  When Beth came in and looked at her, she said her face looked like ivory.  There was not a wrinkle on her forehead or her face--it was beautiful.  She was getting ready to go home to glory.  Later that day, Beth, Tina and Sadie and I were all around her.  She had told Tina and Sadie when they were taking care of her---"I don't know what I would do without you girls."  Sadie told her "I don't know what we would do without you, Granny."  She had also told Beth and I the same thing--that she didn't know what she would do without us. What would we ever have done without our Mother?  As her breathing began to slow and her little heart would beat--then stop--then start beating again, Beth's phone rang.  It was Bryce.  Beth put the phone up to Mother's ear and Bryce told her that he loved her and that she had been the best mother in the whole world.  Not long after that, she slipped away without making a sound like she did not want to be a bother or trouble to anyone in death just like she had been in life---but, she waited until after Bryce's birthday and until after he had called and talked to her.
We will never forget our Mother and what all she did for us.  She has walked before us, set an example and left hugh footprints---footprints that we will never be able to fill.  We will remember her in many ways.  When we are playing on a beautiful golf course, we will think of her and how much she would want to be there.  If we ever make a hole in one, we will remember her and how she would love to hear about it.  But, I think the way we will most remember her is when we are eating at a restaurant and when we tip the waitress and hear the still, small voice of the spirit saying to give more, give more, then we will remember her----that waitress might have children at home that need their lunch money out of her tips.  We will remember her when we drive through a fast-food place and hand the person the money to pay and say to keep the change--or when we pay for the meal of the car behind us---or when we are in an airport restroom and see an attendant there and give them some money and thank them for their hard work---we will remember our Mother.  There is a song "Angels Among Us"--sent down to us from somewhere up above. I believe God in His mercy and grace sent our Mother to us--to love us, teach us and care for us.  This is also what all the caregivers are---they were sent to us---Tina, Sadie, Becky, Robbie, Leeadria, Betty and Rebecca.  We never advertised for help---when we needed help---they came to us.  This is also what all of you here today are.  You have been sent to us to comfort us in our loss--by these flowers, by your e-mails, texts and cards---because of your love and concern for us.  Thank you for your presence here today and your care and concern for us.  This song is for our precious Mother and for all of you.

1 comment:

  1. That is very touching,very sad.I think it is a great start to a wonderful idea, look forward to reading more