A Tribute to Mama


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Mama. I’m not sure how in the world to give tribute to my precious Mama. It’s not because I can’t think of anything good to say. It’s more because there is too much. Mama was simply the most wonderful woman I ever knew.

Mama was a homemaker in the truest sense of the word. Our home was always clean – I’m talking CLEAN! And always lovely. Mama’s cooking was the best ever, and there was just about always something sweet – cookies or cakes, and sometimes pies. Mama’s chocolate chip cookies were renown in the Allen family!

Mama was also a very good seamstress, although she never thought she was. One of my sister Bettye’s sweetest memories is that Mama made her own wedding dress, and made Bettye’s wedding dress just three years later! Mama made most of mine and Jeanne’s clothes, too.

Mama always looked and behaved like a lady. She dressed beautifully – Mama loved clothes and shoes, and back in the day she loved hats! I remember when we were pretty young kids that as time approached for Daddy to come home from work, Mama would change out of her workday clothes into something nice for Daddy.

Christmas Eve (Dan's) Dec

Mama’s hair was always fixed nice, too. It was almost a sin for Mama to miss her weekly hair appointment! Because Mama’s days and nights were filled with caring for 4 children (all born between 1958 and 1962), Beauty Shop Day was like an official holiday for her! She had a maid/babysitter come in on Fridays while Mama went to the beauty shop, and then did the grocery shopping. Mama was still going to Vonda’s just weeks before she died, and last Friday, the day before Mama passed away, Vonda came at Mama’s usual appointment time and fixed her hair. Even then, not seeming to be aware of anything around her, Mama seemed to just relax under Vonda’s touch!  

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As we were going through photos for the slideshow, we noticed how many pictures there are through the years of Mama holding babies. My Mama loved babies! She certainly loved us, her babies, and truly poured her life out for us. In Mama’s journal, she answers the question “What was the hardest thing you ever had to do?” with this: “June 19, 1973. This is the day Danny died… Martha and Bob waited for Dad to come home from work to come tell us… It was like the very life had been taken out of me. Getting back to living a normal life of Mother and wife was the hardest thing I ever did. I wanted to quit, but with the Lord’s help and the support of all my family and some time, I did begin to live again.”

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That is how deeply she loved us all. We four kids had different personalities, and she never tried to make us the same. She seemed to enjoy our differences. Danny was her firstborn, almost like her little boy hero. I was shy and awkward, and she always encouraged me as well as being very protective of me. Jeanne Kaye was probably her most strong-willed child, and she didn’t always know what to do with her, but she never gave up, and I think her love for Jeanne sometimes overwhelmed her, it was so strong! And Dave, her baby boy! Mama loved that baby that came as a great surprise only 11 months after Jeanne was born. Dave was her easy going, gentle and loving baby! Even when Mama wasn’t responding to any of the rest of us last week, she could hear Dave’s voice in her room and we would see her facial expressions almost bursting with joy!

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Mama also loved her stepchildren. Bettye and Martha were basically adults when Mama came into their lives, so they never lived in our home; but Mama loved them and cared for them. They tell often of things Mama did for them, and her care for them. Bettye was able to come see Mama last Tuesday, and Mama responded to her voice – the voice of someone she loved very much. Billy Michael, our Bubba, did live with us some of the time, and he was Mama’s beloved one. There are too many stories to tell of Mama’s love and care for Bubba, of her protective claws coming out if she thought anyone was hurting him – even Daddy! She prayed for him and was never afraid to talk to him about his choices in life. She felt it as deeply as if he were a child from her own womb when he passed away 17 years ago.

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One of the most precious things about my Mama, though, is how she loved our Daddy. Daddy was her life, her joy! She looked forward to his coming home from work, she loved traveling with him, it was to him she looked for everything in this life. If something wonderful happened, she wanted to share it with Daddy. If something terrible happened, she wanted and needed his strength. As her mind slipped more and more, she never saw Daddy as a 90 year old man – he was still her strong husband who could fix everything. It was a joy to still see them kissing goodnight even 2 weeks ago!

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  Anyone who knew my Mama knows that the greatest love of her life was for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mama loved reading the Word of God, learning all she could about her Savior. Mama taught Sunday School most of her adult life, and I don’t know another soul on this earth more dedicated to her class than Mama. She loved that her teaching caused her to have to dig into the Bible. Most of her Bible is underlined, highlighted, and has notes in the columns! Mama would get aggravated if the lesson material was too shallow, but it seemed she loved the challenge of digging deeper for her class. Mama did love all of this for the studying part of it, but most of all she treasured it because it drew her nearer to Jesus. The Scripture, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings…” could have been written by Mama, because that was her greatest desire – to KNOW HIM! More from her journal: “When we moved to Crane and Brother Christian was our pastor, he taught me so much about Bible doctrine that I had never heard before. That was when I first began to know all that Jesus did for me and the things He stil does for me…Since then I have studied real hard trying to find the real truths of God’s Word so I could live for Him the way He wants me to. I have not perfected that life yet, but when I see Him, I will be like Him.”

 From my April, 2010 blog:

“Nina, are you going to keep this okra?” Mama asked as I began cleaning up the kitchen after supper. “No, Mama, it won’t be eaten again.”

Mama always helps me clean up after supper. She doesn’t think she helps much, but she usually scrapes the plates and puts away the condiments.

“Nina, are you going to keep this okra?” Now I am loading the dishwasher with the preparation dishes. “No, Mama, I don’t think we’ll keep it.” She begins putting some of the scraps in the okra bowl.

The last couple of days Mama has had a harder time with her “job” after supper. She has begun picking up each individual crumb off her plate with her fork or spoon, then puts it in a napkin, or sometimes another plate that she has designated the scrap plate.

“Nina, are you going to keep this okra?” I look at the okra bowl with the obvious supper remains on top of the okra. “No, Mama, you didn’t like that okra – we won’t keep it.”

Mama frets about not helping me more. “I feel lazy,” she says. She is not lazy at all – never could she have been accused of being lazy! Tonight I watched her trying to pick up each crumb; she hadn’t even noticed the other dirty plates that needed to be scraped. You know, part of me really does want to say, “Mama, don’t worry about those crumbs! Scrape the other plates!” Tonight, though, I kept seeing my Mama trying so hard to help me, perhaps as Dannye and Pamela did when they were very small, and my heart just swelled with love for her. She is so sweet, so humble in her weakness right now. I am blessed to serve her in any way I can.

“Nina, are you going to keep this okra?” “No, Mama, let’s just throw that right into the garbage!” 

Mama

Mama is in glory now. She has seen Jesus and she is like Him now! She is where she longed to be, where she knew she was heading all of her life.

I would never want Mama to come back here now. But I want you all to know that I would not trade these last two years of caring for her for anything in this world. Through her entire life, and even now through her death, my Mama is teaching me about Jesus.

God bless your day!

 

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About pettybunch

I am loved with God's everlasting love, and underneath are His everlasting arms - and I haven't gotten over it yet! I am also blessed to be married for over 36 years to the man of my dreams, and have 3 incredible adult children, an amazing son-in-law, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and SEVEN grandchildren: four precious granddaughters, three handsome grandsons - so far. I am a retired Home Educator, and loved every moment of it! We are empty nesters, and are endeavoring to embrace this new phase of life. God is so good!
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14 Responses to A Tribute to Mama

  1. loaine says:

    What a sweet tribute! May the precious memories of your Mother bring you comfort in the days ahead.

  2. Oh, my, Nina – I am absolutely in tears over here, reading that!  What a blessed tribute to your Mama!  She was a wonderful woman.  My heart hurts at the very thought of her having to deal with your brother’s death, and my goodness, he was young, wasn’t he?  I was in college in 1973, and so he had to be a teenager.  But your Mama is at peace now and worshiping Jesus – her faith has become sight!  Praise the Lord.  Jim and I think that God must have wanted a lot of his saints around Him this Christmas, because, as I said in my blog, I know personally or through xanga, at least 6 elderly people who have died just this week.  We will be celebrating the life of Sam’s grandmother this weekend – she, too, was a wonderful woman of God who endured much pain and suffering in her life here on earth, but was always a blessing and a wonderful example of a godly woman to all who knew her.

  3. leasejw says:

    This was a wonderful tribute to your Mama.  She sounds like she was a beautiful person inside and out.  Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. In two days it will be five years since my Daddy went home to Heaven, and I could hardly stand it at first that he went during the Christmas season.  I was afraid that it was ruined forever for me.  But as that first hard year passed, and we began to come into the Christmas season again, I felt a dawning joy, and a deep sense of how right it was for Daddy to go home to Heaven during the season that we celebrate the birth of a Savior. The hymns of Christmas are the music of HOPE, and even though you will always miss your mom especially much at this time of year, it is still a great springboard for remembering that because that baby came, lived, died and rose again, we have hope beyond the grave.  I was weepy, too, when I finished reading this post.  What a wonderful posting, Nina.  Thanks for letting us in on it!

  5. ligsar says:

    Precious tribute, Nina.  So beautiful.  Thank you for giving us an insight into her legacy.

  6. Abbiegirl says:

        Mrs. Petty, I’m so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful post~ Thank you for being a good example to all of us about true love and sacrifice. You are LOVED 

  7. ABAHM says:

    Beautiful words about your Mama, Nina.  Thank you for posting and sharing.  She truly points us toward living as women for the Lord and serving our families. Praying for you all and your dear daddy.  I know Grandpa said loosing his wife was the hardest thing he ever went through.  Now, because of illness, that is removed and far from him.  He thinks she has been gone for years.  I dream of Nana now, and it is usually sweet.  Praying God takes you all through these times of sweet memories of your dear mom. 

  8. Tears of happiness and sadness for you — sadness for your loss, but happines, not only for her relief, but that you had such a wonderful blessing of a mother. What a blessing to be raised under such a beautiful legacy.

  9. redladybug18 says:

    such a lovely tribute of your mom.  

  10. AuntGen says:

    I am so glad you posted this.  I am sharing it on fb so all my friends can read about our precious Mama.

  11. Delmatalley says:

    Your momma was all that and more.  As one that had the priviledge of being in her Sunday School class, I feel honored to have known her.  As one who knew her as a fellow Christian, I feel blessed.  God Bless you all.

  12. Bumblypick says:

    Absolutely beautiful!  Thank you for sharing…….

  13. Mommy2Drew says:

    Wow, that was absolutely precious and SO heartfelt!!! Thank you for sharing so many lovely things about your Mama!! She sounds like she was quite the woman!! 🙂

  14. Such a wonderful tribute to your momma. She was such a beautiful lady and from listening to you she was just as beautiful on the inside. I’m still praying for you, your siblings, your dad and all those others that knew and loved her.

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