Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paying Tribute

Yesterday was my mom's funeral. It was a picture perfect day. The weather was wonderful, the church we used for her service was nestled amongst beautiful oak trees, and the celebration of her life afterwards at our home was memorable.

Although feeling extremely numb and almost emotionless, it seems to have been beneficial as my dad asked me to speak on behalf of the family during my mom's funeral service. He did not want someone who didn't know her speaking about the woman she was to us.

One just never knows what's going to happen in a day that is going to cause them to stretch beyond their already seemingly stretched limits, and certainly yesterday was no exception.

Truly I know that when writing this tribute to her as well as sharing amongst a full congregation of people it was God's work because in hindsight when I go over it I don't know how it was accomplished without completely crumbling into a puddle of tears. Honestly, we serve a loving and merciful God who is guiding and carrying us through every aspect of life.

Please allow us to share with you a glimpse of my mom’s life.

She was born Linda Kathleen Seran, weighing 4 pounds, 2 ounces in Canton, Ohio. Her family migrated to southern California where they established their home in Reseda. She came from a small family and is survived by her mother, Oneita Lauretta Helzer, and her sister, Karen Lee Wilkinson.

She used to tell us she was her father’s son. She loved working on cars with her dad as well as going camping and fishing. She shared many memories of her youth with us; her special relationship with her sister as well as the closeness of her family.

She had a great affection for all animals, but really enjoyed dogs and horses.

When she was 20 years old, our dear friends, Bob and Judy, introduced she and my dad to one another, and there was an immediate connection between the two of them. They got married in a little chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada, which began her and my dad’s 45-year journey. They had two children, my brother, Clint, and me. She devoted her entire life to us as well as to my dad.

She raised and showed Alaskan Malamute dogs as well as American Quarter horses. She also enjoyed bowling and played on a league for quite a few years. As kids, Clint and I can remember countless times watching her and her friends bowl and then going back to one of her girlfriend’s home to play Yahtze for hours. All the while hearing her laugh and tell stories.

She was very social and opened her home to anyone and everyone. She was a stranger to no one and loved by all.

She was the type of person that was game to do anything. She seemed to fear nothing and was always open to any challenge. She especially liked the camping trips, the jeeping trips, the picnics in the park, the days we’d take a drive just for the sake of taking a drive, visiting the ocean as well as entertaining in her home. She also had a great affection for photography.

In 1976 we moved from southern California to northern California to a small town called Penryn where we as a family constructed our home and began establishing our roots.

She served as a FH leader, soccer team mom, baseball team mom, softball team manager, PTA room mother, as well as sideline cheerleader for all of our other events. In addition to serving these positions she also served as my dad’s supportive partner. His rock!

She worked at Target for 15 years and loved her job. She was a people person and would come home sharing countless tales of the people she had met throughout the day. She would light up when she spoke of the fun she had at work and the people she met, along with seeing people she knew.

Her home was open to everyone, and she was a “mom” to many aside from my brother and I. She always felt better when Clint and I and our friends were at her home rather than anywhere else. Over the years there were a number of people that lived with us and she treated them as if they were family. I think one of the ways she was able to keep her house so full was luring them with her chocolate chip cookies and her infamous chocolate chip cake.

She and dad did some traveling, and by far her favorite destinations were Alaska and Hawaii. One of the ways you could always tell if she really enjoyed going somewhere or seeing something was by the amount of pictures she took.

She was an extremely strong woman and never ever let any of her health issues keep her from living her life. She loved her life and told us often how lucky she was to have the life she had.

She had great stories and loved to share them. She loved to laugh and would get tickled to see others laugh as well.

She loved her grandkids, Anthony and Amira, dearly and her husband and children even more. She was our biggest fan.

She is the foundation to our family. She is what binds us. She never liked to have attention drawn to herself, and always assumed the “behind the scene role” allowing the rest of us to shine, BUT in reality it is because of HER that each and every one of you are here today to celebrate her life. Although she would be very humbled by this attention, she would be so grateful and thankful.

Although we mourn the loss of an incredibly dynamic woman, she would want us to live our lives as if it were our last, to love as if we’d never loved before, to laugh often, to expect nothing but be grateful for everything, and to remember to surround ourselves with our family and friends --- for she knew they were the most important part of living.

To my mom I say, "I love you so very much. May God bless you and may He give us strength to continue on without you physically being here with us.

To all of you I say, "Although her journey ends here, her memory will live on in each and everyone of you forever. Thank you for being a part of her journey, and thank you for being her today."


Happymoi said...

My heart is with you...

hugs and kisses

May your mom R.I.P

Mixed Up Me said...

Beautiful!! Made me cry again today, though I know she would want us to keep smiling. She lived a full and fabulous life. Love you!!

Tripolihelen said...

I am very sorry for your loss, my God be with you in every step, my thoughts are with you and your family.

Anglo-Libyan said...

beautiful and very moving.

all I can say is that you will learn to live with the loss but you will never forget her and that is a good thing.

a_akak said...

Our thoughts are all with you and your family

Take Care

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Your mother seem to have been a very special person. May she rest in peace.

white african said...

im so sorry to hear of your loss ibee, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

enlightened spirit said...

hugs ... and prayers.

on the edge said...

All those wonderful memories of your mom to keep her alive in your heart forever . The stories you will tell to Amira to keep her alive in her mind and heart too , will eventually heal the hurt you feel now .She is close and watches over you , never doubt it . Love you and wish you strength in the coming days ahead .

Rose Bud said...

I am so sorry for your family's loss. Please accept my condolences. We will be praying for you.

Gina said...

beautiful beautiful tribute to your mom....she sounded like an amazing woman.....and the love you had for her could clearly be felt in your words. I love the expression....she was like a fountain....what a wonderful image.....a blessing on you....I suspect your mom's memory will always be a guiding light to you and her grandchildren.