She had an extraordinary kick, did this lady. Not a kick like a mule, although she could be stubborn, in the right way.

No, she had the kick of an elite athlete, a long-distance runner. That unique ability to break into a sprint at the end of an endurance-oriented race.

I could mention at this point what she, in her modesty rarely did: The three track and field medals she won in junior high school district competitions in the 1950’s.

She had the strength of a champion, and, even more so, the heart of one.

The best race she ran, by far, was the most important one, that of life itself.

Over a span of three decades, she raised four oft rambunctious sons, and she kept them in line. Quite a feat. She successfully ran the business of a large and demanding household. Tirelessly; day after day, night after night.

She navigated the toughest parts of the course in astonishing fashion. She left devastating cancer and its accompanying harsh treatments in the dust thirty years ago, and never looked back.

She just kept chugging along, strong and steady, through trials, through heartbreaks and losses, through triumphs and celebrations. She kept pace, stayed on course, staved off exhaustion.

She inspired others around her. She could often be seen keeping other runners on track, helping those who had fallen back to their feet, encouraging the fatigued until they regained momentum. And if there was anyone who could maintain forward progress, and yet, at the same time, stop to smell the flowers, it was she.

Hers was an untiring spirit, but nearly eighty years in a harrowing race took its toll on her physical exterior.

She heard the bell that marked the final lap before anyone else did.

And that was when we saw it. Her kick. At a time when other runners might have slowed or even stopped, what she did was remarkable. She picked up speed, drew from an unseen power. And around that final curve, she really poured it on. The love. The compassion. The concern for everyone but herself. The faith. The loyalty. It all surged forward even as her physical strength waned.

Mom hit the finish line in stride on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, and fell into the arms of all who loved her.

I could not be prouder.

My Mom is and always will be a champion.

No one who knew her need ever wonder “What Mom would have wanted.”

We know – Because she told us, and because she showed us:

  • Love God above all else.
  • Love others more than yourself.
  • Take care of all the creatures, great and small.
  • Run with endurance.
  • Stay the course, keep your eye on the prize.
  • Just be nice, “it doesn’t cost you a thing.”

I am going to do my best. I cannot wait to run a victory lap with you.

I love you, Mom.