Friday, March 4, 2011

A Tribute to Mom

I lost my precious mother this week, and her passing has left a gaping hole in my heart, and in the hearts of everyone else who loved her dearly.  Words cannot express my deep sorrow during this time of grieving.  My only solace is that she has gone to be with Jesus, and is resting in his arms.

Mom's life touched countless individuals, and scores of people came from far and wide to show their love for her during her memorial. We may never know the vast number of lives that she's affected, but in the past week I've had countless people share with me, verbally or through written notes, of Mom's profound impact on their lives.  It's overwhelming. 

I wrote a small tribute to my mother, and read it at her memorial.  I'd like to share it here for those who weren't there, or didn't have the privilege of knowing this truly remarkable woman.

A Tribute To Mom

My mom turned 55 this year, a milestone she referred to as reaching “double nickels”. She called herself the “Stone Cold Fox”, and she had a nickname for everyone else as well. She called dad her “Sweetness” among many other things. I’ll always be her “Nellie Belle”, and my brother will be her “Ickle Pickle”. She enjoyed the simple things in life…a Dr. Pepper on the rocks, a piece of decadent Dark Chocolate, and an old “Gidget” movie. She’d rather eat dessert than dinner ANY day, and she had a highly sophisticated system for counting calories. If she ate a piece of cheesecake with strawberries on top, she considered it to be part of the fruit group, oatmeal raisin cookies were in the grain group, and cinnamon twists from Taco Bell couldn’t possibly have calories in them because she said they were like eating “little puffs of air”.

Mom LOVED to bake and she was known far and wide for her delicious desserts. I’ll always have a vision of my mom barefoot in the kitchen with a dish towel slung over her shoulder. She used it to dry her hands, dry dishes, and to smack anyone who tried to sneak a bite before dinner. Her $400.00 Kitchen-Aid mixer sat in the corner collecting dust because she’d rather do her mixing with a fork and a bowl balanced on her hip. She never measured ingredients, she just added things until it looked right. I used to think she was primitive with her fork and dish towel, but I quickly came to realize that she was really a master at her craft. It gave her great joy to make a batch of cookies or a loaf of bread for a loved one.

My mother had a true servant’s heart. She was always willing to lend a hand. Mom was the first to pick up a paint brush whenever my brother or I moved into a new place. Some of our best chats happened side by side painting walls together. She loved to paint. When I was growing up, she’d repaint the bathroom every other year to try out the latest painting techniques. Sponging, ragging and feather duster methods were all featured in our bathroom from time to time. There must be at least 15 coats of paint on those walls. She’d wait until Dad went out of town, and then we’d undergo a redecorating marathon, complete with cushy toilet seats, new towels and silk flower arrangements. She also had a tradition of serving us scrambled eggs and sweet rice with buttered toast for dinner whenever Dad was hunting.

Mom loved anything crafty. Toll painting and flower arranging were among her favorites. Many of us have been the recipients of her beautiful handmade creations, and she considered every one of them to be a labor of love.

Mom was a lover of Bonnie Bell lip smacker, and she had an endless supply of Doublemint Gum in her purse. She used words like “groovy” and signed every card with “Love ya bunches”. She knew a plethora of movie line quotes and had a perfect one for every occasion.

She shared her love of movies with with her grandbabies, and would drop whatever she was doing to watch a good flick with them or take them to the theater. She witnessed each one of them come into this world and her Dyl-man, Mae- ah Mae- ah, and Little Belle were her pride and joy. She could often be seen climbing through the playground equipment and sliding down the slide right along with her grandkids at Mc Donalds. She’d lace up her roller skates and take all three of them for a skating lesson to the park and back. As far as Grammies go, she was one of the best.

Mom loved each and every one of us, but it didn’t compare to her love of her precious Lord and Savior. If you knew mom and you didn’t know Jesus, she’d be sure to tell you all about him. Many people in this room, either directly or indirectly came to know the Lord through the obedience and prayers of my mom. When prompted by the Lord, NO ONE, whether homeless or pushing a cart in the grocery store was exempt from her selfless acts of faith.

Growing up, Christ was the center of our home, and Mom carefully laid a foundation of strong faith in both my brother and me. We started bright and early each morning with a devotional time, and it was a constant presence in our life. She had us each read aloud a chapter in our Bibles, followed by a time of prayer and Bible memorization. She called it “canning scripture”. She said that if we hid God’s Word in our heart, someday when we were having a tough time, God would bring those scriptures to our remembrance. Mom was absolutely right. In times like this, God’s words bring tremendous comfort and healing. Before we left for school, Mom would often have us repeat the following phrase: “Today is the BEST day of my life because Jesus Christ lives BIG in me today!”

For as long as I can remember, my mom has led a Women’s Bible Study both at church and in our home. Mom loved to dig into God’s word, and she was an absolute prayer warrior. NO ONE spent more time on their knees for their loved ones than Mom. She was always a willing vessel through which God’s love could flow through.

She was a daughter of the King, a handmaiden of the Lord, a loving wife, dedicated mother, and precious Grammie.

Although she’s going to be sorely missed by those she left behind, and we’ll never fully understand why she was called home so early, there’s no doubt that she’s walking the streets of Gold and bringing a smile to God’s face.


  1. Thanks for posting this Lynell. I too have many wonderful memories of your mom. I know exactly what she gave Brayden and Kaelyn when they were born, and I always think of her when Kaelyn carries her little pink "lovie" around the house. Her thoughtfulness has made an impact on so many, including the Shaughnessy family. Our continued prayers are with you all, we love you so much!

  2. Praying for you and your family during this time! xo

  3. Your mother was one to always be remembered because of her humor. I haven't seen her awhile, but I will never forget her smile. She was truly one of a kind. I pray for you, Lynell, and that your love of God will get you through these difficult times. I lost my husband last year and I truly know what you are going through. God bless you. Cheryl Mooney

  4. There are no words to describe what I felt when I read this. I love you and hope we can talk soon. XO XO XO

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your mother! May God continue to bless your family with love & peace during this time....

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your mother!

    So sorry for your loss and praying that you can always feel God's comfort and grace when you think of her.