Today would have been my mom's 87th birthday. She died in 2005 but I have to admit there are days when I almost reach for the phone to call her. I miss talking to my mom, hearing her voice. I'm greatly comforted by the fact that I will see her again in heaven. So I can reminisce and even laugh at certain memories I have of her.
Yesterday, I received a letter from my dad. He sent me a copy of the text that Mom's Sunday School teacher Jim Boyer had delivered at her memorial service. I found myself nodding and smiling as I read his words. I thought I would post them today on her birthday so you can get a glimpse into what my mom was like.
"The dictionary has several definitions for the word GRACE, three of which are:
Unmerited help given to people by God
Freedom from sin through divine grace
Charm, attractiveness and beauty
God blessed Ethel with all three.
She received help in her sickness and pain by the grace of God to help her endure her long affliction of Addison's disease.
She knew the divine grace of God by her acceptance of Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
Today she is with her Lord; free from the torment of disease.
God also blessed Ethel with classic elegance and a sense of style.
The lasting impression I will carry of her is the smile that she presented to the world, even when she was suffering.
I went to see her in the rehab. (Mom had broken her hip)
She was not in her room. She had been taken for physical therapy.
Wanting to let her know I was there, I went to the torture chamber.
There she sat, fully dressed. Her makeup perfectly applied.
Wearing her beautiful smile.
Ready to endure whatever they had devised for that session.
I doubt if anyone ever saw her without the two most important essentials; her smile and her makeup.
Ethel was a lady of style and order.
When she and Harry (my dad) moved to On Top of the World (condos) she wanted to give me the grand tour. She was so proud of her new home and her orchid collection.
There was one thing she didn't want me to miss. She had always wanted a kitchen pantry and she finally had one that was fully organized. And like her personal appearance there was nothing out of place.
She also took pleasure in the fact that Harry was finally going to be able to have a closet of his own. Her wardrobe had always deprived him of his personal space.
It wouldn't be fair to Ethel if I didn't mention a side of her that some of us have had the opportunity to enjoy.
Ethel had a little girl quality that came out when you spent time with her.
She had that little naughty sense of humor that let you know she had given Harry a run for his money.
Style, grace, the endurance of suffering, a sense of humor, all these things will make up memories of Ethel Sumstad.
But there is one more memory that will also stand the test of time.
A loving and devoted husband, who was always by her side in sickness and health.
Harry, this service is a testament to the love you both shared. May God bless you with many pleasant memories.
Jim Boyer 2/25/05
Such perfect timing for me to receive a copy of Jim's message. I want to mention that the photo I posted of Mom and me was taken December 2004. She died in February 2005, only two months later. She was in pain in that photo but she still managed to smile and look her best. She never wanted to miss out on our family gatherings by staying in bed.
So happy birthday Mom. I look forward to the day I will see you again.
Blessings and love,