Just One Last Thought
July 1, 2020
In honor of our mom, Sandy, we, her children, wanted to write one last “Just a Thought” column for her that spanned nearly a full decade. It seemed fitting since all we ever hear from the community is how much they enjoyed and missed her writing.
Before we left the hospital the evening of March 7, Mom made what would be her final request, that we didn’t forget to give her cat, Ginger, her treats. The ideas came flooding in on how appropriate of a “last request” that truly was for Mom.
One Last Thought Before I Go...
All throughout her life, as most parents do, Mom tried to share with us lessons she had learned as a child growing up. We rarely were wise enough or mature enough to understand the lesson at the time it was being given.
From the time she was a young girl, Mom had lessons of how to be “her brother’s keeper” instilled in her. This basic value, along with her faith, was the cornerstone of how she lived life.
She shared so many stories, such as sharing her lunch with kids at school who were less fortunate than her. That doesn’t carry as much merit as it should until we share the fact that Mom was raised in a family supported by a coal miner’s wage. Her parents taught her the value of a nickel and how to live off the gifts that God gave them like fishing, hunting and the ability to grow a garden. Wasting food was NEVER an option.
Mom had a great sense of humor. She loved to play pranks, tell jokes and her laugh....unforgettable. We remember her scaring us kids nearly to death when we were in the original farm house. We had a hanging propane furnace and its register was directly over the place in the basement where we had two beds She cackled like a witch to wake up and for the two kids that were sleeping sound in their beds, that was no fun at all to wake up to. Mom on the other hand, would laugh uncontrollably. With so many other stories to share about her sense of humor it would take a full page of the newspaper so we’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
For those who knew Mom, you won’t have to think too hard to know what we were blessed to grow up with.
Mom also was known for her love of baking and cooking. Like most famous cooks, measuring devices were scarce. It seemed like spending money on those items was like robbing funds that could have been better utilized for food. Her bread, caramel rolls, pies, hotdishes and various other foods that she made always tasted so much better due to the amount of love she added. She had a mission in life to get us all out of the house without starving (and possibly trying to get Dad to gain weight). She succeeded with never having anyone leave the table hungry. She only had two rules at the table, keep one foot on the floor when reaching and if you left the table hungry that was entirely your own fault. Getting Dad to gain weight may have been the only thing she fell a little bit shy of attaining completely.
Mom’s faith is likely the most valuable treasure she shared with us. If you thought there were stories we could tell about her sense of humor and cooking, they pale in comparison to what we can say about Mom’s faith.
She told us that one of the greatest memories of growing up in the Catholic faith was when she and her dad were both confirmed at the same time. Mom’s faith was an absolute inspiration not only to us but to anyone who ever had a chance to meet her.
When the farm house burned for the first time Dec. 28, 1983, someone asked Mom how she was going to recover from this and what will you do to replace your home. Mom’s answer was very quick and very wise. She said first of all God will provide and never leave us. As for my home, I’ve simply lost a place to put it. I still have my husband, children and farm, the house and the furniture are replaceable. Dad and Mom made up their minds to let go and let God. Within a mere couple of days God showed us how great He can be. We all had clothes, food, various other supplies and a house for Mom to put her home in, all thanks to our friends and neighbors that God had blessed us with. Mom shared and demonstrated her faith in so many other ways like this for all to see all throughout her life.
When Mom was diagnosed with cancer, that’s when we all saw a new level of faith that we don’t think she even knew she had. We admit that it took her a few months to let us all know but in some ways we think she was trying to figure out how to let us know and how to assure us that it would all be alright. We don’t think she was willing to share such devastating news without having a plan so that we were not without hope. Mom made it her mantra that you have two choices - live or die. Her choice was to live and live life the best way she knew how. She told us countless times that she was never angry about the cancer, she knew that God would never give her more than she could handle. She also knew that if it ever got to be too much that He would take over. Mom would spend a lot of energy and resources figuring out how to serve others, after all, she wasn’t the one who needed help and she certainly wasn’t sick. This is only one example of how she didn’t let cancer beat her or get her down.
Mom’s passing was truly a blessing. I know that we all shed some tears and felt like there was a hole left to fill inside of us but let’s think about this for a minute. She started taking care of all of us over 70 years ago when she started to learn those life lessons and then tried to pass them on. She eventually was married and started a family. Her children started their lives and three of them were married and started their families so Mom and Dad had grandchildren to share their lives with. Linda has a special family for which both Mom and Dad were very proud of and grateful for. Mom was an influence and inspiration to all of her family and friends far and wide. With all that being said, we have the chance to see Mom in so many different ways and in so many different people. We get to continually see her spirit in action, if we so chose to do so.
So in typical Mom fashion I’d like to end this letter by offering “Just one last thought before I go.”
You have two choices in life, either live or die. If you choose living then please, be your brother’s keeper, be humble and kind, laugh and make others laugh, don’t waste time or money on measuring the ingredients - if it turns out then you did it right, family isn’t characterized by last names or blood but most importantly have faith and trust in God. In the end all you really have is what you will leave behind. Thank you Mom for sharing all of yourself with us so that now as we are adults, we are finally starting to understand.
In loving memory of Sandy Laumeyer.