March 26, 1999
I am honored to say a few words about my mother on my family’s behalf.
In this memorial celebration, we want to thank all of you who came today for the time you are giving and for sharing your memories of Betty Parisian,
who was wife, mother, sister, mother-in-law and grandmother to us.
For the last 8 years I have occasionally wondered what I might say at Mom’s memorial service. I have imagined some fine tributes to this woman, who
was not only my mother, but also best friend, and personal mentor.
Naturally, now that the time is here, words do not satisfy the challenge.
Mom, today we gather not only to mourn the loss of your life in this world but also to celebrate your “going on ahead” to a better place.
We know that you were taken from us before we would have liked. But we know the distinct privilege of having you at all. Still, our days will
empty and small.
Betty was the anchor of our family. She had good intellect, depth of character and strength. She tried to keep us on the right road. She made her love for us obvious. She always wanted us to try to do the right thing and to do our best. The Golden Rule of trying to treat others, as you would want them to treat you was her mantra. But you leave us with much more, Mom, much more. You leave us with the irrepressible and undeniable feeling of warmth and love.
Love that was demonstrated time and time again throughout your life, to all those who knew you a little, to all those who knew you a lot.
A small woman, who was, as she often said, “tough as nails”, Betty was a fighter in her own right. Most important, Betty was a fighter who never quit.
She didn’t quit, when at age 4 she had her first heart operation at the Mayo Clinic. For most of her life she would never quit when attacking a tough crossword puzzle often far into the night. She never quit in making every house we lived in across the High Plains a home that anyone would be proud to live in.
She didn’t quit in 1975 after receiving a new heart valve. A decade ago she would never quit, as many of you know, when faced with tiny problems in her passion of sewing such beautiful quilts.
In January of 1991, quitting wasn’t her style when she fought so hard for life after such a powerful stroke and surgical ordeal. But Mom, your very best was always most evident at home. As a mother and wife, you weathered your share of trials and tribulations. And because of the way you handled yourself during your life, you represented to us, all that is good in this world.
Your heart, never quit, when it came to your family and to your friends.
In many ways we lost our Mom that cold winter day in 1991, just as we lost her last week. We are grateful for all she was to us, and we celebrate her passing into our heavenly Fathers hands and out of the discomfort and pain of recent years that she was in. We are so grateful for the wonderful caregivers that became such an important part of mothers life.
So too we are grateful for the example set by her husband. A man in whom I am equally proud: a man who looked out for Betty’s interests in such a diligent fashion during such trying circumstances. Dad, you are a man among men, and we know that with a twinkle in her eye, Mother thanks you from Heaven above. As well, I thank my great sister, Nancy Kaehler, and her family. You were always there, through thick and thin, always doing your best for Mom in the way in which it had to be done. So too I thank moms brother, Don, for stepping up when needed. His help was important in allowing Dad to get some much-needed rest during those long agonizing
weeks at Abbott Northwestern. Finally, I want to thank my wife, Pam, for understanding my hurt and pain these last 8 years and who, listened to Mom on the telephone on the night before her operation in 1991 say these last words, “ if something bad happens to me, take good care of my son”. Pam, I thank you for understanding and taking such good care of your family.
Our family has often talked of mom’s premonition to be in serious danger when this last heart surgery took place. Her vision that something terrible would happen to her was in retrospect 20/20. Mom, you always knew what was going on. You were always on the ball. You always had it figured out.
It is a tribute to your level-headedness and strength that you always thought of others no matter what obstacles you faced yourself. It is a trait that we
hope will be carried on to your four beautiful grandchildren.
I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies he has shown over the last 8 years. As mother many times said, “ be thankful, for things could always be much worse”. In so many ways Mom, we were fortunate to have you with us these past few years. Only the Creator knows why bad things happen to good people.
Today, Mom, we all know you look straight to us from heaven above. We know you soar with the angels. You will remain an enormous influence on us left behind. And so today, Mom, we honor you and grieve for you.
Tomorrow we will miss you. As you walk in harmony and peace you are at last, one with the earth, a blessing for us all.
Forever Mom, forever, we will love and remember you. Give your Mom and Dad, Gramma Dora and Grandpa Walt a big kiss for us. We hope to join you in heaven in our own way, in our own time. We love you dearly, Mom.
May the Lord be with you.