Laura Reneer (right), with her mother and daughter, Jessica (left)
Compiled by PATTI STOKES
Mom died 20 years ago, the day after Mother's Day and three months after my father had died. Mom's death wasn't unexpected - she'd had lots of medical problems - but I remember feeling a sense of profound loss. Both parents gone in a flash. I was in my early 50s by then, but remember feeling like an orphan.
We lived hours apart, but when something happened in my life, I'd call to update Mom. She was always happy to hear from me and it was comforting just to know she was there. For several months after her death, as things happened I'd think: "I'll have to tell Mom about that." Then I'd stop myself. No longer possible. But I'd like to think that somehow in the mysterious great beyond she remains with me and that she knows how much I still love her and miss her.
Meredith Barkley, CASWELL COUNTY
Meredith Barkley is a part-time writer for PS Communications
Things I learned from/love about my mom -
1. Appreciating fashion while also being thrifty. We never bought full-priced items from the store displays, rather scoured sales racks and watched out for BOGO deals. When I got to high school, she took me to the trendy stores, but we still hunted good deals. Going to thrift stores is also a favorite pastime for us.
2. Her love of church. My mom is deeply devoted to the church. Our family is there every time the doors are open. Though a relationship with Jesus was something I had to develop for myself, she raised me to love the church - my church family, the music, the Sunday morning service, the people we serve in our community, holding leadership roles in the church, etc.
3. How she responds to small emergencies (like my getting a flat tire while driving). I've always admired this about my mom: she will "drop the world" with no hesitation to help a loved one. If I end up in a bind, I know she will come to my rescue without complaining, whether she's five minutes or 45 minutes away. Most of us hate to be inconvenienced at the last minute, forgetting what matters most (our loved ones' safety and wellbeing). I strive to have the same attitude.
Lily Pierce, SUMMERFIELD
Lily Pierce is a part-time writer for PS Communications
My mom passed on to me a love of growing things. I grew up on a farm in central Illinois, where my mom still lives with my youngest sister and her family (six kids!), and she has always had a huge garden and lots of flowers! She loves to share her perennials with fellow gardeners, and is not shy about snapping off a seed head here and there so she can grow something new.
My mom loves her 12 grandchildren, ranging in age from 5 to 27. She has always supported them in their choices, even when she may not have agreed with those choices.
And I love my mom's sense of adventure! At age 76, she still travels, and even spent a week at Yellowstone with my husband Dave and I last summer. She loves to hike, learn, meet new people and experience new adventures.
Laura Reneer, STOKESDALE
Laura Reneer is PS Communications' marketing manager
As the oldest of my mother's five children, I thought I would get some testimony to encapsulate what our mom means to us. First, my own.
I love that my mom is always there for me. Through good times and arguments, she always has my back. She is understanding and kind, and she works very hard to provide experiences to myself and my siblings. She is our emotional rock and the epitome of what it means to be a good mother.
Her second oldest child (and her oldest daughter) said this about her: "Mom is hardworking, loving and supportive, no matter what. She always makes time for everything and has a smile on her face. She allows me to follow my passions and pushes me to be a better person."
Her next oldest daughter said: "Mom means the world to me. She is always nice and understanding. She does things for other people and puts them before herself. She is just the best."
Her fourth child and second son said this: "I like that Mommy reads bedtime stories to me. The best part about Mommy is that she loves me even when I act bad - and she makes me good food, too."
Her youngest child, a toddler son, said this: "I love Mommy and she plays with me and buys me toys. Mommy teaches me how to be nice."
As you can see, our mom means the world to us children and I speak for all of us when I say that I don't know where we would be without her. Thank you, Mom.
The Miller children, STOKESDALE
My mother was 94 when she passed away May 3, 2012.
She could do anything, and was extremely smart. She would explain to me in Greek (so I learned the language), or broken English, her reasoning for doing things the way she did - and it was pretty flawless. One of 13 kids, she had a sixth-grade education and later became a seamstress, as that was all the money her dad had for her. She made all my clothes, and consequently, I became extremely particular about exactly how things fit.
She was particular in doing her "job," and so I learned to become "particular" also.
My dad, also Greek, had all kinds of rental properties. My mother taught herself how to tile a bathroom, fix the plumbing, or whatever was required - she could figure out anything.
She taught herself to read and write English after she came to the United States at age 30 to get out of the utter poverty Greece suffered following WWII. She took a chance after meeting my father on Tuesday, got engaged to him on Wednesday and married him that Saturday. She left family and all behind. She missed her mother terribly, and sadly never got to see her again before her mother died (I was named after her mother). That is called "guts," and I could never compare.
My mother was so loving, but still carried the parent's perspective in correcting me. Above all, she was kind to everyone, even if she didn't agree with their perspective - not that she didn't vent to me about her thoughts, because I would hear about them later, but out of respect for the other human being she would not act on those feelings.
She was an awesome cook and I watched every move she made - thanks to her, I became an even better cook. We shared this love of cooking whenever we would be together.
She once drove 13 hours straight to meet me in Louisiana when I had my first child - just her, by herself at age 70. And we cooked, among other chores - i.e., dealing with a preemie and nurses and needle sticks throughout the night.
I thank God for my mother and wonder why I was so lucky to have her as my mom. She was my best friend and I miss her every single day.
Lucy Smith, SUMMERFIELD
Lucy Smith is PS Communications' finance manager
My mom, Lynda Williams, is my fearless teacher, full of hard-work ethic and drive. She is, and has always been, my biggest cheerleader. She continuously shows unconditional love and support, from knocking on doors during my election campaign to helping me cut down trees at my house and providing late-night support.
My mom has never asked me to do anything she hasn't done, and encourages me to fight for what I want because the sky is the limit. Mom, you are my rock! I love you forever!
Lynne Williams DeVaney, SUMMERFIELD
Lynne Williams DeVaney is a Summerfield Town Council member