(This is a post from my wife, Christy)
It is amazing to me how I can look around my house and see or hear my Mother-in-law. Even though she has left us, her presence is a constant in our daily lives. I told myself, I would never own a recliner because those were for really old people. Months after she died, we bought our first set. I think about how many times I would see her sitting in her recliner reading, or writing a note or bouncing a grandchild on her knee. Now I sit in my recliner doing many of the same things only now my memories of her quickly surface to my mind. I see and hear her.
When I observe my youngest child be inquisitive and wanting to know the answers to everything. I see and hear my Mother-in-law. Her desire for knowledge and information was intense. She was a lifelong learner and her passionate desire to apply all that she learned and then move on and conquer something else, I see and hear her in my Samuel. I also know that she prayed that every one of her grandchildren would be left-handed and with Samuel her prayers were finally answered. Whenever he writes I see her.
When I observe my middle child, Elliot play music I think of her and hear her. Don’t get me wrong, when she took piano lessons we all begged her to stop because she struggled so much with coordination. But she was such a fan of music. She loved nothing more than seeing her family play music together. I can see her and hear her clapping to the wrong beat and with tears of joy, say play it again boys.
When I observe my oldest child take on a project of any kind I see and hear my Mother-in-law. Amelia might not be the neatest when it comes to accomplishing something but she knows how to get the job done. I never doubt when Amelia takes on a project what the outcome will be, I just step aside and watch the magic unfold. When I see her in go mode, I see and hear my Mother-in-law.
When I observe my husband working hard, being a great husband, father and pastor. I see and hear her. When I see him gathering people and seeing the best in them. I see and hear her. When he dreams of vacations and planning trips, I see and hear her. When, he takes on a new hobby and wants to share it with the world, I see and hear her.
I cleaned the microwave today. It was no small task. It reminded me of a conversation I had with her when our kids were really little. She confessed that she was a perfectionist as a young Mama and if she had it to do over again, she would have a messy microwave and dishes on the deck. Yep I said on the deck. She advised me that when company was on the way it was perfectly acceptable to place dirty dishes outside. When I look at my messy microwave, or when I find myself cleaning the floor with my sock because company is coming, I see and hear in myself my Mother-in-law.
Even though, she is away from us. The legacy she left behind is evident, in our home and in each of us. Not a day goes by that we do not see and hear her in our lives.
I found myself cleaning up my mothers Facebook today as we are trying to make it more of a memorial page.
Deleting all the game and events invites. (Side Note: Please stop spamming people with your invites that are not relevant to them or not living anywhere near your event. You are ruining the effectiveness of those Facebook features. End Note.) I was going through my mom’s liked pages and groups she was involved in and I decided to unlike those pages and groups.
The problem came when I thought I had done the work of unliking pages and realized I had just gotten through the ones that she liked in the few months she was alive in 2012. This was going to be a chore to complete because as I went to 2011 there were almost a 100 things she likes. 2010, 2009, 2008 were no different. I began to massage my fingers and got to work making the several clicks needed for each group.
Then the thought hit me somewhere at the end of 2011 that these people are going to be one “like” down. They might think that people hate them. The diligent person that keeps track of their “likes” will think that they offended someone. Because I manage several pages I know what you can go through seeing the number go down.
The other thing that hit me was that my mother liked everyone. She gave anyone or thing the thumbs up. Granted the thumbs up is no big deal but to my mom and those she gave it too it meant everything. She loved everyone and everyone was welcome to come into her house (or in this instance her facebook page). No matter if you were gospel music singer, outdoor gardener, or a mystery writer. If you were a big business like Target or a small shop in Stanwood. Maybe you were changing the world or just trying to make a change in your neighborhood.
She gave you the thumbs up! And if she was still with us she would give you another thumbs up and say, “Well done. Keep it up honey. Come over here so we can talk about you.” I want to live that type of like that is affirming the good in everyone! (Except if you were an extreme liberal politician. She had always hard time understanding them but think she probable sees everyone a bit different now.)
Now if you could stop by four of the four hundred of her likes and give them the thumbs up that would make me feel better. Maybe they won’t notice they were one down.
We had a special family Root Beer Night in honor of my mother, Eileen. Just like other nights we cracked open a bottle we didn’t do anything super special. With a simple toast to the continued memory of Mom and Grandma we sat back and drank Stewart’s Fountain Classic. A smooth old school Root Beer with not much aftertaste.
The specialness of this night was that mom always supported my crazy made up holidays or special routines at gatherings (Taco Palm Sunday, Stretch your Stomach Sunday, MeatLovers Fest, or reading the Thanksgiving Newspapers and many other quirks of my life). Mom always loved a good time and especial loved the yearly routines and of my events. As long as family, friends, and some food were assembled she was all for it!
Ideas like Root Beer night,She would have loved to gather and crack one open.
Keep checking every day this week to see posts that honor my Mom…
This picture her of her fishing for crab is a great photo representing her love for adventure and trying new things. I shows the same for my father also as he hated putting his small fishing boat in salt water. But they would make the trek out and bring in loads.
Then we would all gather around the picnic table outside their home and prepare ourselves for a full-blown crab feast with all the fixens and add-on. When it was ready she would dump the cooked catch out and say dig in! Then sit down and partake in the bounty with the whole family.
Let’s all live our life to the fullest. Let’s not be limited by having too small a boat or any other circumstances that we might encounter. Reach in and grab that snapping crab in your life and say…man you are going to taste good cooked up!
I had the seeds of this poem in my head while driving the 26 hours with my family across the country to see my mom before she passed. Took some time with my friend Michael and me sitting in her chair, but I have written my first poem. Those from high school don’t count.
Mom always said to us when we left their house, “Call us when you get home safely”.
On a porch
Somewhere East of Eden
Sits an empty chair.
though only passing through
for a visit,
I am so grateful you once sat there.
But you have gone now
And though I wish you would call
To say you made it home
Something in the way you lived your life
Tells me you have arrived safely.
I finished my mothers obituary yesterday. As most of you know I like to write, but this genre of literature is not going to be in my top list. It is part technically and part informational with a splash of inspiration. Anyway you slice it, it was my mom.
Eileen (Pie) Marie Fehlen went home to be with Jesus her Lord the evening of, Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Her husband Bernie, two sons John and Joseph, two daughter-in-laws Denise and Christy and her seven grandchildren, Jordan, Joshua, Amelia, Anna, Elliot, Isaac, and Samuel were all present. She passed away suddenly from a ruptured brain aneurism.
Eileen was born February 23, 1951 and raised her family in Osceola, WI until her and Bernie moved to Wyoming, MN in 1997. Bernie and Eileen moved to Stanwood, WA in 2005 to be closer to their kids and grandkids.
In Washington she worked at her church where she was ordained as a pastor. Eileen has also been actively involved in the community working with homeless, free medical clinic, foster kids, as well as caring for local pastors. A local clothing ministry she spearheaded is scheduled to open this month.
If it was in the garden, behind the wheel of her convertible, at the table with family or talking to a complete stranger, Eileen experienced her life to the fullest. Many can attest to the fact that she impacted their life in a substantially deep way.
Eileen is survived by her husband, two sons, seven grandkids as well has her five brothers. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Marjorie Ann and John Raymond Osterbauer.
Two memorial services are schedules. Saturday, March 3, 10am at New Life Foursquare in Everett WA (www.newlifecenter.org) & Monday, March 12, 6pm at Maranatha Assembly of God in Forest Lake MN (www.realchurch.org). A memorial fund has been established that will help fund two of her passions, foster children and the Safe Harbor Free Medical Clinic. Donations and condolences can be sent to Stanwood Foursquare Church (c/o Eileen) PO Box 183 Stanwood WA 98292.