Okay its not THE Pond - as some call the ocean. And it is not just A Pond - as in smaller than a lake. It is a lake! I enjoy living on it and spending time on my back porch listening to music, gazing at the lake and pondering.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

MOM'S FINAL CHRISTMAS GIFT

It has been just over two months since our mother died. That was the hardest sentence I have typed in a long while. She was a fantastic mom to my sisters (Trisha Wright and Sandra Edmounds) and me. She and our dad gave us a great life grounded in Christian faith and love of God and country.
 
Anyone who knew my mom will remember her most as she is seen in this last professional photograph taken in the middle of 2013 (above). Nice smile, right? She had one that would light up a room. And her laugh would cause any sourpuss to finally break out into a grin (at the very least). My mom had a great sense of humor. No matter the circumstance she looked for the bright side of the situation and chose to keep a positive attitude about life.
 
In the five (5) years she lived after her husband of sixty (60) years and our father's death mom continued to be positive and active in her retirement community and church (29th & Yale Church of Christ). She opened a Facebook and email account and stayed active with both of those. We know she missed dad but lived bravely on. Perhaps her Facebook account password reflected her Christian faith and gives us some insight into her belief about the LIFE waiting on the other side of time  - it was simply: "reddytogo".
 
Christmas was a favorite holiday of mom's. She and dad hosted the family Christmas gatherings from 1963 until 2003 at their home in east Tulsa. I did not realize - until I just typed it - that it was an even 40 years of laughter and love. In the summer of 2004 they moved into a retirement community.
 
Mom and dad were always generous with gifts as we grew up and as grandchildren were added to the Christmas crowd they found ways to include them too as mom made each their own stocking and filled them with goodies before we opened presents under the tree. She had an annual tradition of giving my brothers-in-law jars of olives and me jars of Heinz Ketchup. I am not sure how that tradition started but us guys always had to pretend we did not know what those presents were - even though the gifts were heavy as bricks.  
 
In their retirement years mom and dad began a Christmas tradition at the end of the exchanging of gifts. It was one we grew to LOVE! Mom would call Trisha, Sandra and me to stand in front of the tree and she would present us with the next year's calendar and on the page with our birthday month would be an envelope with a check. The check was not a huge check by Kennedy or Rockefeller standards but it was generous amount. On years their retirement investments allowed them to take a cruise or two our check would be a bit smaller. We teased with them on those years that they were spending our inheritance. We did, however, truly enjoy seeing our parents enjoy their retirement and trips with their wonderful friends! 
 
In late September 2013 mom began to have a series of infections and strokes that - no matter how she tried - kept her from being able to regain strength or the active lifestyle she so loved. She tried for a long time but in the last few months seemed to give up. As a matter of fact the cause of death listed on her death certificate was "failure to thrive". That is spot on. Because our mother did not just live - she THRIVED throughout all her life!
 
In the last year or so of her life she expressed to my wife Debbie, sister Sandra, and me her desire to give each of her grandchildren a monetary gift (again, not huge but meaningful). After her death we kids knew what needed to be done.
 
At Christmas 2014 mom played the part of Santa again. At the end of the Christmas gift openings with each of our families mom gave one more gift. We had calendars made with a picture of mom or dad or both in each month on the calendar. Each of their 10 grandchildren received a calendar and in it was an envelope with a monetary gift. So finally they did not have to watch their parents receive a final gift. They got one!
 
I have to believe mom smiled her magnificent smile once more on those 10, much loved grandchildren listed here:
Shane Edmounds
Julie Traynham
Brian Edmounds
Katherine Fromm
Amanda Friberg
Becky Prine
Amber Clanton West
Cheryl McFaddin
Bradley Wilkerson
Alex Wright

1 comment:

Ange Edmounds Harrison said...

That was beautifully written. I enjoyed the memories with laughter and tears. I'm thankful to have known them.