It is difficult to put pen to paper and begin to adequately convey the impact of my Mother and her teachings on my life.

The bond between a Mother and son is unique, special and, in my case, sacred and tender. I have always been a “momma’s boy” but not in the sense that most in the world view that term.

Being her first born and as she mentioned to me many many times growing up, I did not come with an instruction manual. Mom became a Mother at the tender age of 17. How young that was. Yet, how wise was her counsel and how effective her parenting skills. My siblings will look back fondly at the many creative discipline techniques my Mother deployed and, yes, the vast majority of them were directed towards me. I deserved them. I was the instigator of many conflicts and disputes within the family in those early years.

Why? Upon reflection and now having raised a family of my own and watching my own children raise my grandchildren it appears every family has, to quote Reggie Jackson, ” a straw that stirs the drink”. There is no doubt that I tested my Mother’s patience and yes, I deserved every punishment ever delivered. However, I also know that Mom loved me and that I played a very special role in her life.

Quite simply, Mom and I grew up together. Weird as that may sound, it was very true. As I have grown older, I have thought many many times that the difference in age between myself and my youngest sister is 11 years and the age between Mom and I only 17. I was in my 50’s when Mom was in her 60’s. We not only grew up together, we grow old together as well. As such, Mom was not only my teacher, mentor and Mom, she was my friend and confidante as well.

The exploits and stories of my youth have been chronicled by my siblings in their writing and memories of Mom. But it is their recollections of times past. For me, my fondest and most sacred memories and experiences with and of Mom have occurred during the 35 years when I did not live with Mom and Dad.

How grateful I was and am that my childhood was so fun and for the most part carefree. Mom and Dad worked very hard to make sure we had a wonderful childhood filled with wonderful memories, traditions, core values and teachable moments that would serve us well when we ventured out on our own and began to raise our own families. What a rare and special gift to know with certainty that my parents not only loved me, but would literally do anything for me, forgive every fault and make any sacrifice to insure their children had what was needed.

Mom as a mother provided me the example of what I wanted as qualities in the mother of my children. Loving, caring, willing to sacrifice and a strong love and faith in our Father in Heaven and the importance of family.

Mom as a wife provided me the example of how a marriage should be.. Love, laughter and kindness. Patience, a true helpmate, unconditional love and forgiveness. Family first. Selflessness not selfishness. The importance of marrying your best friend.

Mom as a Nana provided me the example of how a grandparent should be: fun, eccentric, reliable and loving. And most importantly an example and role model that provides your grandchildren a link to the past, someone to reach out to when times are tough in the present and finally someone who prepares them and instills within them the importance of an eternal family and a desire to live large, dream big and go for it.

Mom, thank you. Thank you for your teaching, patience, laughter, love, discipline and faith. Thank you for your example, your long suffering and willingness to endure to the end so that your children and grandchildren could see that there is indeed a plan in place that allows us to be together as a family forever. Mom, I love you and look forward to seeing you again. Enjoy your next part of your journey. Heaven became a bit more lively with your arrival. Let the party begin!

Jay Westover

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