Memories of mom

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Donna J. “Dimp” Young
Donna J. “Dimp” Young (Submitted photo)

Standing in front of the church my paternal family long held sacred, I eulogized my mother last Sunday. The life presence of someone so vital and all-encompassing somehow seems too weighty to condense into simple words.

One thing that struck me: for a woman about to turn 90, the number of those coming to pay their respects was both powerful and sweet. Standing room only, I realized as I began my remarks.

There is no doubt that my mother, who jokingly said in recent years she was still new to the tight-knit community of Jeromesville, would have been stunned by the large turnout to celebrate her life.

She was 17 and promised her parents if they would give their blessing for the marriage to her 19-year-old beau, she would finish high school, and hold off on starting a family. The Korean conflict was calling young men away in 1951, and Mom loved this fellow so much she wanted to be his bride.

They lived for a brief time in an upstairs apartment in the town of Ashland. Their big move to a plain, white farmhouse near Jeromesville came on Dec. 7, 1951. Dad said on that day they found a way to give Pearl Harbor Day a new significance. Together they worked hard to build a happy, successful life and a large family farm.

My dad had a quiet, shy personality. He often said the best thing he ever did was to marry a happy-hearted young woman who could introduce herself to total strangers, and, in no time, become a true friend. She loved writing letters, sending cards, making and delivering meals to neighbors and friends who needed comfort and paying attention to others in the kindest way.

I realize now how much that shaped her life and brought good people into ours. I felt this, powerfully, on the day we gathered to celebrate her life.

My earliest memory is of Mom ironing. I can still smell the starch, envisioning her ironing lots of little girl dresses. She let me iron the handkerchiefs on my miniature ironing board. She made three big meals every day, helped on the farm and still found time after the ironing was done to dress me up to visit folks in various nursing homes, and, occasionally, the local hospital.

With my three big sisters in elementary school, she finally had a bit of free time. She filled it with acts of kindness, and in so doing, taught me how to lift the spirits of those who needed it most. Not long ago, she said to me, “We made a pretty good team!” I was tiny but not one bit shy, happy to sing a song for people I had never met. “It costs nothing to be nice, and a smile on an otherwise dark day can make all the difference to someone. I hope that’s what you took away from those visits,” she said to me.

I still carry that lesson and many more. When a bad fall back in March required surgery and a move to assisted living, Mom made the best of it. She would have much rather been at home, but her positive spirit prevailed. She made new friends and loved introducing me as her baby daughter.

When I read the cards and hear the comments that keep coming, it is all great proof to me that my mom scattered kindness along the paths of so many. Friends and strangers alike describe her as beautiful. She somehow made it all look so effortless, dressed in a skirt and sweater with pearls, the most important thing of all was carrying compassion in your heart.

And adding a little lipstick to your smile was always highly recommended.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Your Mama was the sweetest, kindest, and most fun person! She was a classmate & friend of my brother, Tom (Lutz), and they enjoyed seeing each other at class reunions so very much. He passed a couple years ago, so I’m sure they’ve reconnected in Heaven along with so many classmates who’ve gone before. Thinking of all you, and sending lots of love. ❤️

  2. Really enjoyed reading this story about your sweet mom. She was exactly as you described and so much more! One of the kindest ladies we ever knew and loved. We can only imagine what a wonderful reunion in Heaven for her. She is an epitome of what kindness, compassion, beauty, and love are all about. We enjoyed hearing your story about why she always dressed so beautiful every day! That touched our hearts and made us smile. Love reading your writings, but this one was really special. ❤️

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