Hello fall! I was late planning todays guest and today I am back in Douglass, my home town, so I thought I would tell you all about Lynda. We made this slideshow for my sisters wedding.
My mom was a very simple lady with a love for anything pink (she and my 3 year old would have so much fun), sparkly, and perfume. She was a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal, but she believed with lipstick, fun earrings, and a splash of your favorite perfume, you would be just fine.
She was ALWAYS smiling and she loved doing things for other people. She was so proud to a farmer and from Douglass, KS. Everywhere we went, she was sure to tell people she was Lynda, with a Y and from Douglass, KS.
She had such a fun spirit and she was always singing and dancing her way around a room! My sister wrote a note for her funeral with little pieces of our favorite things about her:On April 6, 2011, our world stopped spinning. Our mom and best friend was called home. Her passing has left us with a huge hole in our hearts; however, we take comfort knowing that she is no longer in pain. She is most likely watching us from above wanting us to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the beauty of spring. Mom enjoyed everything that spring brings—colorful flowers, sunshine, and new life whether it be flowers, crops, or a new litter of kittens.
When Ann was about to graduate from high school, she and her friend planted over 800 tulips—in purple and yellow—to match the school’s colors. She enjoyed watching the tulips bloom; however, she forgot that tulips bloomed early and the flowers were not as pretty in mid-May. Her love of flowers and the outdoors has inspired Mary to dabble in gardening. It was only fitting that Mom decided to pass away on a beautiful spring day.
Most of our memories centered around the kitchen. If you ask anyone to name one thing about Mom’s cooking, she was most famous for her pies. It was not uncommon to find Mom waking at 4 am Thanksgiving morning to make at least 10 pies, all homemade. She remembered everyone’s favorite, and she was known to make one for a birthday or simply just because. She was a phenomenal cook and required no recipe or cookbook. She could whip up a red velvet cake or a chocolate sheet cake at the drop of a hat, which was handy for an impromptu cookout or gathering. She loved to deliver a homemade meal to the guys on the farm during harvest. She was happy to take requests and every meal was made with love. She was very proud of being a farm girl her whole life—she would always tell people that she was from Douglass, Kansas—even if we were just in Wichita.
As she and Dad started their life together, farming consumed most of their daily life. They worked sun up to sun down, establishing their dairy farm. Mom had a special way with the calves—she tried many things—whiskey, eggs, and sugar to help the calves flourish. It was not unlikely to find a baby calf in our house during the winter—she was even known to put a calf in the bathtub! Her gentle ways reflect the respect she had for nature. She was a hard-worker, spending most of her day in the milk barn. We had a picnic table in the dairy barn, and on a few occasions, we were dragged out of bed, sometimes as early as 4:30 a.m., while they milked the cows. She loved her cats and dogs. Last spring, Mama Kitty disappeared leaving behind five kittens. She brought the kittens into the house and kept them in the bathroom until Dad came home. When he got home that night, she told him, “I know you are going to be mad, but there are 5 kittens in the bathroom!” She was bound and determined she was going to nurture these kittens back to health, and she did. In the kittens’ early days, she would not leave the house for very long—she did not want to miss a feeding. She fed the kittens around the clock with an eyedropper; once the kittens graduated to solid food, she would make a bowl of oatmeal for them each morning. She was even known to sneak a few kittens in at night for a bowl of warm milk. Dad always made sure the fridge was stocked with milk and he quickly learned that only whole milk would do! She tried this with an orphaned newborn raccoon; however, she did not have very favorable results.
She was a natural mother. Mom’s most faithful friend throughout the course of her illness was her dog, Howard. Howard found us about 8 years ago and has captured our hearts. In mom’s final days, Howard would not leave her side. He sat there and gently licked her hand as she endured terrible pain. We had to pick him up so the nurses could do their job. It was amazing to watch this little dog—he was fiercely loyal to her. He is grieving along with us. Minutes before she passed, we let him out for a bathroom break. There wasn’t a cat in sight. Howard let out a bark, and several cats ran to the porch. Mom passed shortly after.
She loved her job working as a rural mail carrier in Douglass. Her friendly smile and positive attitude made her a natural fit. She took extra time to know the residents on her route—she knew who had surgery recently, who may not be at home, and who had dogs. She would go out of her way to take mail and packages to the door often taking time out of her day for a quick visit. The dogs on her route did not go unnoticed—she carried a bag of dog treats for the friendly dogs on her route!
Out of all of her jobs, she took the most pride in being a mother. She had a huge heart and never-ending love to give. Not only was she a great mother, she was a great teacher and friend. She taught each of us how to love and within each of us, she will continue to shine through. Mom had a way of making everyone feel welcome and would give the shirt off her back to help someone in need. She would often take us shopping. One particular back to school shopping trip with Kenzie, she bought her friend a matching outfit so they could dress alike on the first day of school.
Mom had an amazing memory and the ability to remember addresses, phone numbers, and birthdays. She would try to call friends and family on their birthdays, and if she knew what kind of cake or pie you liked, you may have ended up with one. Mom taught us many valuable life lessons. She always practiced the golden rule and her motto for life was “Forgive and Forget”—which was very important in a house full of girls! She taught us to practice random acts of kindness. Recently, she and Sara went to a funeral. A person whom she had never met was having a coughing fit; mom nudged Sara and asked her to offer the woman a lifesaver. The woman gratefully accepted. It was the little things that mattered most to her.
She was a simple woman, but she had a love for all things sparkly. One other valuable lesson she taught us girls was how to accessorize. She taught us how to dress up a simple outfit of a t-shirt and jeans with jewelry—a mist of perfume and a smidge of lipstick didn’t hurt either. Before leaving to go to the hospital last week, she insisted that she spray perfume on.
Mom cherished her grandchildren. After having five daughters, she was excited to have two grandsons! She loved that she had two little boys who were excited about the farm. Her oldest grandson, Hayden, referred to her as “Grandma Farmer” while her younger grandson, Landon, referred to her as “Me Maw Kitties”. She enjoyed having them around and kept an endless supply of wintergreen chewing gum and root beer. She loved to spoil them in every sense.
Seven weeks ago today, her first granddaughter, Madeline, was born. She was so excited to have a granddaughter.
She was a woman of great strength—physical and mental. Throughout her illness, she never complained nor did she cry and ask “Why Me?” She faced the illness head-on with determination and tremendous courage. Throughout her illness, her motto was “Go Fight Win”. She was determined until the very last breath she took to beat this disease. Sadly, she was fighting an uphill battle.
It is so hard to say good-bye to the person who loved you first. We will greatly miss daily phone calls, hugs, and watching her dance in the kitchen. She was an inspiration to us all—we feel that if we are half as good of a mother as she was, then we will consider ourselves successful. We would like to thank each and every one of you for being here and helping us celebrate her life. Your phone calls, visits, flowers, and food have been a great sense of comfort as we mourn her passing. We would also like to thank Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice for the excellent care and support we received this week.
I didn’t expect to get so emotional writing this today. But here I am sitting in her pretty kitchen in the house that I spent my teen years in. Her love was so kind, no matter what I did, she was always there good or bad. When the ugly C word, CANCER, came into my world. It turned my world upside down. I went through the darkest season of my life, but found the Lord through a very unique Celeste, and we journey through cancer with our mother’s together.
Last night as we laid down to sleep, my boys told me they never want me and daddy to die. I told them about how my friend Lindsay told us at church a few weeks back to imagine a rope. The amount of time that we live on earth is so small, but we will live in Heaven together. They wanted to know if Heaven would look the same up there, as it does down here. I told them I hoped so.
Her favorite places were always the local ones and together we went on many journeys the year I moved home from Nashville, TN. We listened to the music loud with the windows down, and she always told my dad to let me cook for him after she was gone and to tell me it was the best meal he ever had, or I would never cook for my family.
She was a gem, and friends, that is why I want to feature you week after week. Because you are a star and you deserve to shine! Get in the picture, mama. Because someday, all you will have left to leave your children is a memory in a frame.
Have a great Friday, I have A LOT of pictures to edit!
Until next Friday, chase Joy, Friends!
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED SARA MCMILLIAN 2020