We are sad to announce that our mom, Pam, passed away on Friday morning.
I've been thinking about her a lot this week and wanted to share a few memories.
There is a joke in our family about our mother's green bean casserole--one of us will have to make it and post the recipe and step-by-step photo journal to give you the full impact of its non-yumminess. It definitely wasn't our favorite meal, but it was apparently her favorite one to make, because it seemed like we ate it on a pretty regular basis. We teased her a lot about that casserole over the years. But we didn't always say enough about her other gifts.
Her strength, her compassion, her love.
Now that I'm a mother, I realize how hard it is to raise kids. You try your hardest and hope for the best. I can only imagine how trying it must have been with four girls. The hormones alone in that house would have been enough to send anyone over the edge.
Our mom was the kind of mom who let us bring home a menagerie: the number of hamsters--"Look, Mom! We found him in the garden!" (while hiding the Pamida receipt and the box it came in). Birds, fish, cats, puppies, rabbits, and especially the golden retriever puppy that Trudy dragged home. ("We HAVE to keep her or they'll put her to sleep!!) Mom had a soft spot for Champ--for all of them: Pokey, Buster, Boo, Snickers.
She was the kind of mom who let her kids build a crazy-big treehouse in the backyard. (Thank goodness, she never knew about all of the Mooseheads ingested inside of it.)
I never took the time to say thank you for all of the parent-teacher conferences, piano recitals, or (geek alert!) swing choir concerts she attended.
The last few years were pretty hard on our mom. She felt things deeply. She grieved along with her loved ones every time they experienced a loss. After Jenny, Sarah, and our Dad died, she had a pretty tough time and there wasn't much any of us could do to help ease her pain.
I like to think about the things that did make her happy, the things she loved. She talked a lot about her trip to the redwoods when she visited her friend Sharon and she seemed breathless when she and Trudy came to Yosemite with me in California. Although that may have been the altitude.
I think about how in her fifties, she started over again, how Trudy and Mardell coaxed her into trying new adventures--water aerobics or painting "The Bob Ross Way", becoming a classroom-grandparent.
How through all of the tragedies, she also got to experience the miracles--seeing Jenny's son, Kel, grow into a young man, or Katie's girls Krista and Dani win ribbons at the fair. She got to share in our newest little miracle, coming our way this spring.
I hope when people think of our mom, they think of some of the things she loved: trees and words (she was a killer scrabble player--knew every two letter word in the English language.) Her love of Indian casinos and hot tubs, her ferocious allegiance to Pepsi products. . .
I'm grateful to my sisters and Aunt Sue for looking out for her and taking care of her. The last month or so, seemed like some of mom's happiest. She was facebooking and baking cookies, trying out new recipes. So well cared for, Trudy--thank you.
So, even if we never pass down that old recipe for green bean casserole, I hope we carry on her legacy of compassion and strength, and love.