As it is with mothers, my Mother is the most important person in my life. She had specific expectations and didn’t mind telling you exactly where she stood. If she thought you did wrong or missed the mark, she told you so – very directly and often without diplomacy.
Though she was opinionated, I never doubted that she had my best interest at heart and in mind. She sacrificed to assure I completed college and she came up with the down payment, which we repaid over several years without interest, so that Theresa and I could buy a home in Farmersville. When I was much younger, she would test me on spelling going over words for hours. As she did with others, a letter to her was sometimes returned with the grammar corrections of an English teacher.
I will miss her profoundly. I have found it very difficult since 2007 to re-define my state-of-mind removing my Father from the here and present mind-status. This status is a trusted and intimate soul on the speed dial whom I can call for advice or engage in a discussion of some current event. It will be more difficult to remove my Mom from this status not only because of her profound importance, but also because both Dad and Mom are now gone.
After her Dad died, Theresa advised me back in 1985 she was an orphan. Karl and I are now orphans. This is not something to be pitied and in the scheme of things is normal. It is a basic difference in existence though. There is no parent to rely upon and confer with. There is no one that can recount heritage and family history. There is no one that criticizes as a parent or provides basic parental approval. In this most primal relationship of parent-to-child, you are now on your own. We are both very grateful that our relationship with our parents continued well into our lives. In this we have been blessed.
The best that can be said is that my – our – Mom was victorious in her life. She overcame through will and effort the ceilings that may have contained her. She did this through education and working day- in- and- day- out. As I see it, her vision of the future is what now defines our family’s aspirations.
Above all, she embraced the power of education. She held a bachelor and graduate degree that she earned on her own after she was married. She had life teaching and counseling credentials. Throughout her life she attended classes and read. When you talked with her, she would pull a book or magazine out and read a passage. If you look through her magazine rack, there are current cultural and news magazines that have passages underlined, probably as a memory aid for future discussions. I am sure she has sent most of us assembled here some newspaper or magazine clipping she felt made a point she was interested in advancing. As a result of her commitment to learning, the family is well educated and fully engaged in the various pursuits of American culture.
She wanted every family member to embrace the world and see other lands and people. Mom traveled throughout the world and took great pleasure in what she experienced from these trips. She developed travel friends whom she corresponded with until very late in her life.
She embraced her family’s traditions. Her main interest was with the Haenggi and Mauser families. She took great pride that her Dad was a self-made “stockman” who came to America with the skills of a butcher and became through effort and dedication, well- to- do. She was proud of her Mother who she admired as a classy lady. Though there were always family differences, she was loyal to her Haenggi and Mauser roots and she also supported and engaged with the Longleys. My Uncle Herb told me not long before he died that Paula was the best thing that happened to Ray, my Dad. She was such a good lady that kept everything going, assuring that the tasks of life were accomplished and the bills were paid.
Her family loyalty was demonstrated over the past several decades in her dedication to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has been fully involved with their lives and interested in every aspect. She bragged about their victories and she supports their efforts with a resolute grandmotherly encouragement.
This dedication to her families is something we could all learn from for I believe with her death we will grow further apart and this is not a good thing. I remember the story of Uncle Ted who observed the same happening with the Haenggi’s back in time and organized an annual family gathering. It happened for a number of years at Cedar Slope and then it died. This is something the elders should consider and act upon in Uncle Ted’s and the other uncle and aunts ( including my Mom’s) memory.
Finally, my Mom always valued simple decency. She often expressed you should see normally people do the very best they can in a given situation. We all should be accountable, but we should be tolerant of life’s misdemeanors that folks incur when they are trying but they find life is too demanding.
Mom you will be missed in ways I cannot conceive. What you gave the World is tons more than what you took from it. We all love and admire you.
Always, when we parted I kissed you on the forehead and told you that I loved you. You always said you knew and you loved me. On your last night in the hospital, you tried to get out of bed while you were attached to the monitors and I told you that I loved you but you couldn’t. Very kindly in your pain you said – I know you love me, but it hurts so much. The only blessing is that you no longer have the pain that afflicted you at the end.
Mom, I love you.