Doris Weisiger Kelley
Last night was an ordinary night when my mother called just before 10 p.m. However, she talked longer than usual, and she asked more questions about my day and whether or not Paige was there and what he would be doing on the weekend. Then she went on to questions about the children, calling them by name—what is Armour writing now? She promised to pray for Carmen and her Bible Study during her early morning prayer time. She reminded me of how proud she was of Abigail’s essay on euthanasia and she wanted to know if Rebekah was enjoying her classes. And she even asked about the dogs, remembering that there were now two in our household and calling each by name. We talked at least 30 minutes. Her last words were: “Be sure there is room for Paige on the bed [a reference to my habit of making the bed my desk in the evening] and I will call you tomorrow. I love you.”
The morning came, and Paige returned from walking the dogs for breakfast with cell phone in hand. “Your mom is with the Lord, and she slipped into His presence easily and peacefully.” God has mercifully answered my prayers:
· Mother died in her own apartment in the midst of the things she loved beautifully arranged by my sister-in-love Rhonda. That was the first answer to prayer.
· Although she has never been willing to call for help lest she disturb someone, this morning when the coughing became more intense, she called. The nurses came immediately and called Rhonda and Chuck. Mother died with two nurses who loved her and were meeting her every need at her bedside. Rhonda and Chuck arrived within a few minutes after her death, but she knew they were on the way. There was the second answered prayer—someone who loved her was by her side!
· Then, as I reflected on the evening before, I remembered that not only had my sister Kathy and I had wonderful conversations with Mother, but also my brother Chuck had decided to deliver some new medicine to her himself even though she could not begin taking the medicine until 2 days later. He, too, had a wonderful visit with her. That was the third answered prayer, that family would be nearby.
Mother was the heart of my childhood home.
She operated behind the scenes, orchestrating the myriad of details required to manage a household of seven. She prepared our meals; she bought, kept in repair, and laundered our clothes; she cleaned the house; she maintained our health program; she supervised our education; she planned our entertainment. I knew that I was loved and cherished because I was worthy of Mother’s time and energies. Not snippets of time sandwiched among more important obligations and not left-over time after other work was done—but I, with my siblings, had moment by moment, day by day, year after year of her personal attention—fulltime! My mother did have household help, but she was the creative visionary and driving force who assumed responsibility for seeing that everything was done in due course. Her creativity reached every corner of our home and extended to every moment of life. She reared five children from birth to empty nest, and until her home-going she sent each family member spanning 3 generations a weekly letter and stayed abreast of what we and our families were doing.
One of the most amazing things about my mother’s routine was the ease with which she moved, accomplishing all expected of her yet maintaining church activities, club memberships, and her own personal graciousness in community events. With her life consisting of mundane responsibilities and routine activities to keep up with five children born over a decade of time, she must have sometimes despaired that she would ever have time for herself.
Staying at home with young children is not an easy task. Yet my mother never complained. Caring for us and making us happy were her chief goals in life. What she encouraged always seemed to proceed from merely pleasant pastime to serious pursuit. She was both a guiding star and a dynamic meteor in our lives. As we, the children of Doris Weisiger Kelley, have had our own families, I think mother continued to be pleased with the products of her labor. She nurtured life she helped form in the womb; she molded and influenced the development of that life; she inspired the work of the next generation; she now has been ushered into the heavenly court to receive rewards for the investment of a life in rearing up the next generation and then inspiring at least two additional generations coming after.
So now, both my husband and I are “orphans” humanly speaking. But what a rich heritage God has given to us. I look forward to the day when I, too, will enter the presence of the blessed Jesus. For there once more I will have opportunity to offer a word of testimony honoring the life and work of my wonderful mother. My prayer now and as long as I have breath is that God would give us a host of women like my mother Doris Kelley, women who will embrace with determination and creativity the task of producing and nurturing the next generation!