Today’s post is simply a copy of what I hopefully said at her Celebration of Life on Saturday. The rest of the week I am taking off from posting on It’s Just Life so I can enjoy being in the moment with my family. Have a great week and see you back here next week. I love you all.
Lover of Travel.
Crafter and Seamstress.
These are all words that describe our Mother, Helen Brown. These and many more words describe the woman that she was.
You know it is really difficult to try to sum up a life of 91 years in just a few minutes. When that life is the life of your mom it makes it a little bit more difficult. But I am going to try to tell you today what you probably already know.
She was a pretty amazing woman.
I speak for myself but also for my siblings —- we miss her every day. But we are so very grateful that we had her in our lives for so long.
When you are young, you tend to think your parents are the most perfect people in the world. As you move into the teenage years, you often become more critical and butt heads a bit with them when they try to be parents. Then sometimes later, maybe when you are in your twenties, you fall back in love with your parents and realize that they are pretty wonderful people.
My mom was a pretty wonderful person.
Growing up we all have some pretty vivid memories of some of the things that she did for us. She threw the most amazing birthday parties before they were a thing. I remember some pretty epic parties over the years complete with cakes that were creative as well as tasty. She set the bar pretty high for creating birthday events for our own children over the years.
Her creativity was one thing that helped define who she was. Whether it was making bulletin boards for her classrooms, helping write and illustrate the yearly Christmas letter – The Brown Daze—-, making the annual Christmas cards and then later creating greeting cards using iris folding or other paper craft methods — she used her talents to bring joy to others. Her quilt making, cross stitching and water color painting not only brought her joy —it brought joy to others as well as she was able to gift some of these items to loved ones.
Joy —-that is one word that described her. Whether it was teaching elementary students, baking massive amounts of cookies to give away, or taking time to listen to one of us read a book, she did it with joy and a cheerful heart.
Being a minister’s spouse was not always the easy road. It meant relocating just as she found herself settled into a teaching position, packing up and moving four children, a husband (and maybe a cat or two) and presenting the move as a new adventure. I know there was not always joy in her heart but she never let on any differently. Her strong faith and devotion to her Lord guided her in every way and she relied on that faith during times of struggle, during our dad’s illness and death, as well as during times of joy and happiness. Her faith was her anchor.
Family remained the most important thing to her up until her death. She loved our family times together at Lakeside and looked forward to that week all year. The family decided that the perfect way to honor her was to spend the week together at Lakeside so following the service today that is where we are all headed. Some for the very first time, some for the 60th or more time. I know there will be a lot of laughter and fun and probably some tears as well. But in the middle of it will be our mom – Mother Superior -who will be the one that continues to hold us together as we grieve the loss of her physical self.
One of the things that I know was most difficult for her when her health started to fail a bit was asking others for help. She was always the giver, the one who did for others and being on the receiving end was so hard for her. I remember numerous times reminding her that it was her time to let someone else do for her since she had done for others all her life. Even though she struggled with that she did understand at times that it was the way things had to be and when she was herself she was very grateful to the staff at Copeland Oaks and Crandall Medical Center for the care that they gave her.
I could talk on and on about how she influenced others, how her smile and great sense of humor brought happiness to so many over the years. How her students stayed in touch with her long after they were no longer her students. How we laughed about her getting names mixed up long before dementia was a part of her life.
Each one of us here today has some memory that hopefully will stay in our minds for the remainder of our days. Aren’t we just the ones who are so blessed to have had her in our lives for so long? And how wonderful that she is no longer in that body that limited her in ways that frustrated her to no end.
While I grieve the absence of the physical, I rejoice in the knowledge that her journey on earth touched so many lives. A life well lived. A life that gave so much to so many. Now she can rest and enjoy her room in the mansion that was prepared for her. Praise be to God.