Colleen Beckman, Anaheim, CA

On Friday, February 4th, 2011, my beloved Mother, Colleen Beckman, went to be with the Lord. She was so much a part of my life, that upon her departure, a part of me left as well. They say that time heals and I’m sure that may be true. However, when I miss hearing her voice on the telephone and being with her, I am also reminded that she is in a much better place, and that her memory will live within my heart forever.

A little bit about my dear Mother…..

Much of our lives rotated around Mom. She literally was the engine of our family. She carried with her a strong will, something which I admire. Even throughout her cancer diagnosis, she was upbeat, brave, optimistic and selfless. After receiving chemo treatments, she continued on with all of her normal responsibilities without complaints. There was no evidence of self-pity whatsoever.

Mom had several expressions that were often used throughout our lives, which will be embedded with us forever. “Close that door honey, for it is water under the bridge…. This too will pass….You do what you have to do…It’s going to be OK honey.”

Just hearing these words always made me feel better.

After mom’s surgery in 2009 when she found out she had cancer, Mom developed an infection that would not go away. Even then, she would say, “This will pass.” Even with a terrible lingering cough, once again, I would hear those profound words, “This will pass.” And it always did. When mom developed DVT’s and had to take injections, I said, “Don’t worry, I will give you the injections, it will be OK.” However, mom did not want to be a burden on anyone and learned to give them to herself. When Mom injected herself in the stomach night after night for blood clots, she would say to me, “Honey, you do what you have to do.”

As difficult as it is for me, I know it is truly difficult for my sister, Gail, and Dad. Gail was also diagnosed with Stage 3c Ovarian Cancer one year after Mom, and Dad is slowly losing his memory making it very difficult for him to live at home. Even though Mom had cancer, she would be on the phone every day encouraging my sister while she continued to take care of dad, just as she did with her mother. We all witnessed her spirit of energy and vitality in the kitchen, running errands, caring for the animals, etc. Dad witnessed her caring nature, while going to his doctor appointments and making sure he took his medications, even though she had so many problems of her own. Gail and Dad can rest in knowing that she put them first before herself most of the time. That is what you call true love. Words are cheap, but actions say it all.

Mom was a woman before her time. She was smart. When my sister and I were older, she began her quest to buy properties. She bought 5, 10, and 20 unit apartments. She then opened a laundry mat and it was profitable. I remember the Grand Opening, the sun was shining, colored balloons flying in the air and how proud mom looked. In fact, the laundry mat was so successful that she had to expand when the next door tenants moved out.

Mom and Dad cared for Grandma for 11 years, and she passed at an age of 101. Her selfless love was displayed once again. Mom sewed Grandma beautiful aprons, washed and styled her hair, bought her jewelry, clothes, shoes, etc. Mom told me in the hospital, “I did all those things for Grandma to make her happy; it brought me joy.” Selfless character, displayed once again.

Many years I had to travel for work but I always called Mom most every day, whether I was in the US or abroad, because I knew she always wanted to hear my stories of work and travel. I’m blessed to have had a Mother who was also my very best friend. We enjoyed just going out shopping. In fact, many times we would go to the shopping mall sales in the morning and leave in the evening. We would laugh to think how long we were shopping. We would just shop, talk, have lunch, shop, and of course, have a dessert at the end, which she so enjoyed. She was always interested in what was going on in my life. We would talk for hours about anything and everything from politics to movie star gossip.

Mom enjoyed sewing and it always was an expression of love. The Halloween costumes were simply amazing. The dresses, jumpers, pants, and gowns were simply beautiful. To think that she taught herself how to sew was quite impressive. When I was a little angel for a Christmas play, I remember she stayed up all night to sew a costume. It was absolutely beautiful.

My sister and I did not have children so it was good that Mom loved animals of all kinds, which is a common trait that we all carry in the family.. We all adore furry little creatures. When I was young, I had a habit of finding stray dogs and bringing them home. They were never turned away, never. Starkey, Tasha, Shawnee, and Sadie were all part of the family. Mom even made them their special bed to sleep on at night. Cats were always welcome too and were given a good life. When she passed, she left me with her favorite dog Shelby, who is 13 and who I also love very much. When I hug Shelby, I know there is a part of mom’s spirit in her.

As I look back and reflect…..

It comforts me to know that Mom was blessed with a good, simple life. She had minor health issues, but nothing major until she turned 80. I know mom knew that I would continue to take care of my sister and provide that encouragement and hope which we all need. Even the last two years of her life, I made sure she had hope and strength to fight the battle. Mom thought I was her shining armor… I was always on top of every medical issue and explained them to her in a way that she would always have hope and would ease her fears… We battled her illness beside each other until the very end. I talked and held her hand until the Lord said it was time to go.

I can go on and on about my Mom. There are no words that can describe how much I miss her.

However, as we live our days out on this earth, we hope that our lives count for something; that we somehow have made a difference in this world. One might think that it should be something grand, which I believe is not the case. I believe it is the many acts of kindness one bestows to another with great love. That is exactly what my Mom did throughout her entire life. I admire her, respect her, and honor her life. She was a great woman of strength, born in Fresno, California in 1928 and died in her home of 52 years in Anaheim, California in 2011.

May you rest in peace, my dear Mother. I will love you forever.