51 years ago, my beloved mother was born; and this year will mark the 10th anniversary of her untimely death. This post is to honor her, and the many cherished memories that she left behind. I hope that some how she will feel and know of the love I have for her. It is so very real, and exquisite, and intense. I will warn those who are reading, this is long, really long; but, I hope you will take the time to read it, as it may give you an inkling of understanding as to why I am so crazy in love with this Woman... and why she is my hero!
Happy Birthday, my dear, sweet, angelic mom...until we meet again.
Our little eternal family, minus the youngest
1. She was born in March of 1956 to Clarence Stanley Coombs and Dorothy Beatrice Brown.
2. She loved and respected her parents, and never had a single argument with either of them.
3. She was born with a love for the Savior and a testimony of the Gospel. She loved the scriptures, and never stopped reading them, and learning from them.
4. Her mother was one of her closest friends. They talked on the phone everyday (sometimes several times a day). They were recently reunited, as Grandma was called home this past June.
5. She and my dad were high school sweethearts (in fact, my dad had had his eye on her since the 9th grade).
6. She played a huge role in his conversion to the church.
7. She attended Snow College, Utah State, and the University of Utah.
8. She always had a smile on her face…always… (and she had a beautiful, bright, shining smile).
9. If she was ever hurting, stressed, angry, sad, or worried… no one would have ever known. Simply put- she never wore her heart on her sleeve.
10. She had significant and spiritual dreams.
11. She loved movies, but almost never made it through any of them without bawling. When she cried her tongue curled up and rested on her upper lip…we always made fun of her.
12. The last few years of her life, she so looked forward to our Friday night “movie nights”, but every time (without fail), we would catch her snoring before the previews had even played through. (It wan’t until after we found her cancer, that we realized it was the metastatic disease that made her so tired all of the time).
13. One of her very favorite places on earth was Lake Powell…even though her snowy white skin always fried to a crisp…(except her legs, they always remained white).
Mom and her girls at Lake Powell
14. To this day, I can’t hear The Beach Boys’ Water or George Winston’s rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, without thinking of Lake Powell…with mom.
15. Nor can I hear Louis Armstrong’s What a wonderful World without thinking of her. (I can still see, and hear her impersonating Louis, while singing this heartwarming melody.)
16. Speaking of the Beach Boys, mom loved them, and she and my dad went to several of their shows. When they released their hit Kokomo, she fell in love with the song…so much so that she didn’t waist a minute in planning our family vacation to Kokomo. (Later we found out that there was no such place…hahaha.)
17. She planned the best family vacations ever…Fun. Creative. Imaginative. Adventurous. Unforgettable… (Creating unforgettable family memories was so important to her.)
18. She wrote beautiful poetry.
19. She was brilliantly creative. Together she, and my dad, won several national essay contests, including a grand prize trip to the ’88 summer Olympic games in Soule Korea!
20. She told the most chilling ghost stories. The one that stands out most in my mind was about a creepy night predator named Jonathon Baxter (which also happens to be the name of my brother’s best childhood friend).
21. She was the coolest mom in the neighborhood…that’s why our house was always brimming with children (and teenagers).
Mom and the kids from the neighborhood
22. When my friend’s moms were filling their days with selfish projects (or preoccupied with having a clean house), my mom was busy playing with her children. She wasn’t afraid to get dirty in the sandbox with us, or to hop on her bike and accompany us to the nearest gas station for penny candy. She built snowmen with us, rolled down hills with us, and even slept out on the tramp with us. She wasn’t just our mom, but the best friend any kid could ask for.
23. She always tuned the intercom system to FM 100 while cleaning the house. (It’s my favorite radio station, because almost every song, reminds me of her).
24. She always wore bright colorful clothing, which is also very indicative of her personality. (Years after her passing, my dad and step mom had quilts made for each of us, out of my moms clothing. That quilt is probably my most cherished possession).
25. At least once a year, we could plan on mom coming down with a case of Laryngitis (losing her voice in its entirety, for several days).
26. She was her husband’s biggest fan…together, they made a great team.
27. She was an advocate for her children.
28. She had a passion for Disney. Her favorite ride was It’s a small World…
Mom with her two favorite men...dad and hubby
29. It wasn’t uncommon for her to put a cute little note in our school lunches…we never doubted that she was crazy about us.
30. In my childhood I was plagued with frequent leg aches. Mom would apply this mentholated deep heating liquid to my legs, and literally rub them for hours (or at least until I fell asleep).
31. She had an incredibly weak stomach, and gagged every time we entered a public restroom. (This one just cracks me up…and always has!)
32. She had the most difficult pregnancies. She suffered with morning sickness the entire 9 months (with all 7). When she was pregnant with my youngest sister,her life was threatened by a pulmonary embolism (blot clot in the lung). She had to give herself shots of heparin for the remaining 6 months of her pregnancy; and, after giving birth, had to have her tubes tied.
33. Does that tell you how much she revered Motherhood?
Mom bringing me home from the Hospital May '77
Just the 3 of us
Yeah...that's me too
Can you believe she let me leave the house with that hair doo...let alone stand in the family picture? (I probably would have disowned my daughter...)
34. Her favorite time of the year was Christmas. Sadly, that’s also when Heavenly Father saw fit to call her home, making it a bitter-sweet holiday for those she left behind.
Mom (pregnant with her 6th), Grandma, and me...
35. She made the best Christmas caramels and licorice…mmmm, they were to die for…
36. She pampered us when we were sick, spoiling us with Popsicles and Sprite…and little toys or stuffed animals. She rarely left our side either, when we were sick.
37. She read the book Les Miserables when she was young, and fell in love with the story. She was so excited when she heard that the Broadway musical would be coming to Salt Lake. I know that it was a huge sacrifice for my parents to take our whole family to see the show… The next summer, when the company came for the second time, she just took me. We both had chills, and were in tears, when the orchestra began the overture. I can’t think of the beautiful story of “Les Mis”, without thinking of mom, too.
38. If my mom ever had to work, she always found things that she could do from the home. I remember when I was really young, mom was a waitress, but she never left unless dad could be home with us. That was very important to her. (Who could forget some of the crazy things she did? The Brighton Chalets. Prepping movies. Setting store schematics. Telemarketing. Somehow she always roped us (her family) into her nutty ventures, but really…how could we resist that woman?
39. She was our greatest cheerleader…never missing a game, recital, performance, show, meet, competition. And she always encouraged us to magnify our talents, try new things, and pursue our dreams.
40. She came up with great systems (household chores, incentive programs, budgets, etc.).
41. Her laughter was infectious (I can still hear it ringing in my ears, loud and boisterous). She was hilarious, and such a ham! (As evidenced in these photos!)
I was trying to pose, and mom kept popping her head up just before the picture was taken. She did it like 5 or 6 times...in a row!
Here she is sick and suffering, yet still maintains her sense of humor...
42. She once called me a “fruit bum” in front of a guy I really really liked. She had never called me that before. I had to convince the guy that it was just something totally random that my mom had come up with, and that there was definitely not a story behind it.
43. She loved birthdays and holidays, and went all out! One year, for an April Fools Day prank, she dipped some Big Red gum in cinnamon oil, let it dry, re-wrapped it, and then gave me a piece. The oil totally burned my mouth and left red sores around my lips!
this is what she did for my dad's 4oth
The new room I got for my 8th birthday, she worked so hard on that (and managed to keep it a secret until my birthday).
She always made our costumes, never did the cheesy store bought ones. I was a witch like 4 years in a row...(the juicy, homemade scar was my dad's work of art)!
44. She mixed up her words a lot. i.e. she might have said something like “did you say your pajamas and put on your prayers?” (that was actually a line from a song she taught us, but nonetheless, this is what I’m talking about). Dad called it the Chris Pitts disease. One year for Christmas, I had asked for a New Kids on the Block tape. So mom went to the music store, walked right up to the counter, and confidently asked for the latest album by “The New Boys around the Corner”.
45. She was always optimistic, and looked for the positive in every person, thing, and situation.
46. She felt a special tenderness for animals, and even bugs. If ever we found an insect in the house, rather than smash it, she would have my dad capture it, and then release it out in it's natural habitat. (Dad, remember mom's claim to have heard a spider scream, just before you were about to kill it with a stick?)
47. She loved music. Loved to teach us songs. Loved to sing in the car on family vacations. Had a beautiful voice.
48. She didn’t aspire for the “things of this earth”, but rather, for spiritual blessings.
49. She was a true disciple (in every sense of the word) of Christ. Rather than turn her back to the homeless man, she succored him, and cared for him. (Who remembers Gibson? That’s right; she knew him by his name.) She visited the sick, and the sinners in prison. Once she even stayed home from Sacrament meeting (my dad was speaking that day), to bail out a woman’s basement that had flooded. You ask, What would Jesus do? Well, that’s what Chris Pitts did.
50. When asked (on her death bed), “Do you ever wonder why this is happening to you?”
“Why not me?” was her unselfish reply.
51. She is the most selfless, optimistic, genial, free-spirited, blissful, charitable, fun loving, pure, and Christ-like individual I have ever known...and I am proud to call her...MOM!