Mom is Gone but Never Forgotten

Tribute to my Mother

My mother wasn't your typical stay at home mom, there was nothing typical about her. She was a feisty redhead who took the bull by the horns and got things done. She was a marvelous mother of six children. She wore her I'm Not the Mother of the Year badge proudly. Take me as I am or don't take me at all, was just one of her mottos.

It wasn't until I was in my 40's when I realized that, I AM MY MOM and I couldn't be prouder. I even resemble my mother and she was quite a beauty.

My mom, Red, took her nickname serious. When she was fired up you BEST get out of her way, she was like a ball of fire. That she was. As am I. You BEST not waste her time, because mom had no tolerance for BS.

When I lost my mom to colon cancer in 2002 I wrote a tribute in her honor and shared it only with family members.

Since that day I had the tribute tucked away. I did update it a wee bit with what I've learned in the past 14 years. I wish my mother had read it, but then again we spoke often so we never had anything left unsaid. We also batted heads. Irritated each other. She always had something to say. Always had to have the last word. Always brought sunshine into the lives of others. And a few hurricanes too. I miss my mom. Oh wait, I AM MY MOM!

I would like to share a bit about my mother with you...

Mom and Me 1984
Mom and Me 1984 | Source

In Memory of Susan (Hishmeh) Kaywood

We are gathered here today to honor and remember a very extraordinary woman. Her spirit will forever live on in our hearts, minds, thoughts and most importantly in us. Whether she was our mother, grandmother or friend she will leave a lasting remembrance, which we shall all cherish forever.

Mom suffered for close to 5 years with colon cancer but she handled it like a champion. She was strong, hardheaded and stubborn as an ox but she was not going down till she was ready. She did not have an easy life and she tried to accept it, but at times it was difficult which was to be expected.

Mom had a gift of being a people person. Whomever she encountered they instantly became her friend. If they didn't, well that was their loss. Mom passed that gift along to her kids. It is a wonderful gift and I will be forever grateful for it. I hope this gift will be passed along for future generations to treasure.

1.11.35 - 2.20.02

Mom enjoyed watching those sappy shows on Lifetime Channel, listening to country music, playing cards, reading and chatting with friends. Another passion of hers was gardening; discovering a new flower or sprout brought her so much happiness. She could take one seed and turn it into a garden of delight.

One of her greatest joys was cooking and feeding her family. She always made sure when you visited her that you never left hungry or without a case of indigestion. Mom enjoyed reading the bible and sharing stories of it with whoever would listen. She had a strong faith in God and at times when you think she would have doubted him for events that happened in her life ... she never did.

She prayed each night and until her passing always had God in her heart even though traumatic events in life brought her to her knees in despair and grief. She repeatedly got back up, dusted herself off and moved forward. Mom had the choice to collapse and wallow in self pity, but that wasn't her. She wasn't built that way.

Some of my favorite memories were when we would stay awake until the early hours of the morning playing Rummy and chat about life. I so wish I had taken notes, but I was so absorbed in our conversations and possibly winning a hand of cards that no notes were taken. We also liked going to play Bingo and when we won other players were startled from our yell. We would also people watch and tease other players. It was our bonding time.

Mom had a vision of writing a book to share her story, but she never did. I promised her that I would do my best to carry on her dream and try to fulfill it for her. So far, I've been a bad daughter. Hopefully this tribute will suffice for the meanwhile.

My mother taught me there is no greater pain in the world than to bury your own child. A parent should never outlive their kids. The overwhelming agony of knowing you will never hug your child again is a burden not even the strongest could bear. Parents eventually move on with their lives, but a piece of their heart died with their child.

It's because my mother lost two sons, my oldest and youngest brothers, that I'm able to understand the painful loss of a child. She was never the same after their passings.

My favorite photo of Mom and my daughter Carissa 1987
My favorite photo of Mom and my daughter Carissa 1987 | Source

Rest in Peace, Red

Mom did not have an easy childhood. Her parents divorced and her father vanished not to reappear again her adulthood. Their reunion was temporary, some men are just not meant to be fathers. That experience made her the strong, intelligent, independent woman she was until the day of her passing.

It's because of my mother's battle with cancer that I was able to have the courage to be be the caregiver I was during my husband's cancer battle. I sat with my mother during her chemo treatments and I often think of those times while I sat with my husband during his treatments. She taught me that cancer doesn't have you unless you allow it too. She fought to the end. As my husband fought until until he passed.

Mom taught me that country music is not just for hicks and rednecks. Country music is good for the soul.. Country music tells tales that most everyone could relate to. Even if they don't drink beer or own a pick up or have a dog. So, I came out of the closet and never went back in.

Mom was a very "unique" person, a rare gem that many people had the luxury of knowing. We are all blessed that we had the opportunity to have her in our lives. Whether it is for one reason or another she has made an impact on each of us.

Mom was not perfect, she had her flaws just like we all do, she was what we refer to as human. Mom had a tendency to be a bit needy at times, which taught me to be more self-sufficient. She brought six children into this world and she did the best she could with the knowledge she had, to be the best mom she could possibly be.

Mom had a "heart of gold" and an eternal flame within her that glowed each day with love for her children, grandchildren and friends. We now must learn to carry on and move forward, but along our path of life take whatever we have learned from this magnificent woman and pass it on to our children, grandchildren and friends.

I have learned many special things from my mother and I will forever be thankful to her for helping me become the woman I am today. I will do my best to make mom proud as I move on with my journey of life. It won't always be easy, but it is a comfort knowing I have another angel to watch over me.

I hope that who ever loved her and appreciated her will always feel the warmth of her love. Or the sear of her wrath. We probably never will fully understand the theory of life and death, but we must move on and do the best we can with the wisdom we have.

With each moment of sorrow or joy we experience in life it is another stepping stone to growth. Our future depends on each one of us and we need to make this world a better place in honor of a woman who will be forever etched in our hearts. We will not say farewell for one day we will meet again.

Till then we love you, rest in peace, Red.

Hugs to Dad! Hugs to Dave and possibly Randy, since he is still missing.

Wild and crazy bunch in 1973.
Wild and crazy bunch in 1973. | Source

Memories of Mom

May the memories of your mother always remain in your heart.

May those memories give you comfort during your times of sadness.

May those times of sadness lift you up and help you remember

all the good thoughts and bring a smile to your face.

May the smile on your face help heal the emptiness you feel.

Time does heal wounds. May you have the patience to wait.

In the meanwhile...Keep shining, because you are a reflection of your mom.

-Sunshine

Have you ever considered writing your own eulogy?

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My mom turned me onto country music with this song by Alan Jackson

© 2015 Linda Bilyeu

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Comments 44 comments

justateacher profile image

justateacher 23 months ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

Your mother and my mother sound so much alike - they would have either been the best of friends - or my mother would've hated your mother because she saw too much of herself in her...lol!

It's sad when we lose our mom's - I don't know of another pain that is that bad...


billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

She looked like a no-nonsense, hard-working, feisty, fun and loving woman. I'd say that's a pretty good mother to have.

Lovely tribute, Linda!


DJ Anderson 23 months ago

Linda, this is a very nice tribute to your mother.

She would be (is) very proud of this written gift of gratitude.

Great job, Linda!

DJ.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 23 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

This is a wonderful tribute to your mother, Linda. She instilled strength, faith and a good outlook on life in you. "With each moment of sorrow or joy we experience in life it is another stepping stone to growth." - this is so true. Your mom was quite a woman who knew herself and her strengths. What a great mother and friend you had in her, and still have in spirit.

I enjoyed reading this tribute.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 23 months ago from Central Florida

Linda, you mom sounds like an amazing person to grow up with. Your tribute is beautiful. I'm sure she's pleased with it. You have wonderful memories and she lives on in you.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 23 months ago from South Africa

Aauuww, look at those beauties! Linda, you definitely take after your beautiful and unique mother. This is an excellent tribute to her. Your love and admiration for her is totally justifiable. I bet she was proud of you.

Thanks for sharing your memories. Isn't it strange that even our memories are a prominent feature of our personality?

You are most certainly a role model and a friend to be proud of.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 23 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

My dear sweet & lovable Linda Sue......"Sunshine" suits you to a Tee. I smiled and shed tears as well as I read this wonderful, warm tribute to your amazing Mom. You have touched my heart and helped me to understand you all that much more. I'm not at all surprised why you are the fabulous woman you are.

I, for one, want to thank this great woman, "Mom/Red" for being the very special, wise and loving woman she was. She gave us YOU!!!

This is an absolutely stunning tribute, my precious friend. UP++++ shared, tweeted & pinned...........Love you, Effer


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 23 months ago from North Carolina

Hi Sunshine, What a great tribute to your mother! She would have been very proud. Love the Jackson tune, btw :)


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 23 months ago from Florida

Dear Sunshine,

Thanks for sharing your story about a jewel of a mother, what a joy to remember our mother with love. I know I would have loved her calm seas and thunder and lightning personality---because that is exactly how my sweet 5 foot tall mother was like.

My Mother did it her way---she also lost a child--a little girl--my oldest sister, divorced and she went through a lot of sadness, but she was a strong woman.

I like strong women---and my philosophy in life is---take me as I am-- my sweet Southern side and Country Girl side--you get what you give attitude.

Your mother was beautiful and you are too---remember I met you and I know. You are already giving your grandchildren a legacy of being strong and carry on---no pity parties for you.

Love U,

Bobbi Purvis

I am sharing with Twitter, Pinterest and H+


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 23 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Sunshine and Red appreciate y'all stopping by for a visit! Thank you for your kinds words and sharing memories of your mothers.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 23 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

SFAM....You and your Mom are beautiful! That pic of you is especially gorgeous and sexy!! Va Va VOOM. You must have driven the men wild!!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 23 months ago from England

Hi Linda, such a lovely tribute to your mother, she sounds like she was a wonderful person, I can certainly see where you get that from, lovely photos too, nell


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 23 months ago from Hyderabad, India

It's a very great tribute, Sunshine. You have done it so well. Your mother will be certainly proud of you watching from above all of us reading your eulogy. She was great a mother. Your video also is very beautiful, yet another pleasing note for your mother.

Thanks for sharing it all with us. Wish you all the best.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 23 months ago from India

A great tribute to a great person who happened to be your mother ! The way you wrote this tribute is reflective of the great personality that your mother had. Such persons never die, they live forever and guide everyone in need of their wisdom -- not physically but with reminders they left as their great deeds and great thoughts. In other words, we call this invaluable treasure as legacy. I'm sure you will write a book on your mother's life that will touch the heart of whole world !

My friend, your mother left a great legacy, and you are a wonderful daughter who so intelligently inherited that legacy. We can learn a great deal from the input of this very affable and passionate tribute to a wonderful mother. I loved reading each word of this great tribute. Your mother in heaven will be immensely proud of you ! Voted up and shared.


word55 profile image

word55 23 months ago from Chicago

Hi Linda (Sunshine), glad to have known just how sweet your mother was. She did a wonderful job with bringing you up and your siblings. You should be most grateful to God for her. Loved the Little Bitty song. What a great tribute to dear mom. May your husband live on because of your good love. I Will keep you both in prayer.


mary615 profile image

mary615 23 months ago from Florida

My Mother and yours would have been great friends! They had so much in common. Mine died at the age of 52, some 30 years ago, and I still miss her. We were the best of friends.

What a beautiful tribute, I can see where you get your wonderful attributes and your personality that always shines through.

Those of us that know you know you, too, are a wonderful Mother and Grandmother. I have always admired you, my dear friend.

Voted UP and shared all around.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 23 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Your tribute to your dear mom is a lasting remembrance of her life, her gifts and her nature. You've so beautifully captured the essence of her personality that I feel as if I knew her. I am so sorry for your loss. Saying goodbye to a parent is never easy. No matter if days have passed or even years, their departure reminds us how important it is to smell the roses and enjoy every day we have with our loved ones while we can.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

Oh, what a loving tribute to your special Mother. We know we are so blessed in this life when we have such precious and special mothers. My mother is no longer with us as she left this Earth in 2012, just four days after the 84 birthday and five days before Christmas. What a glorious time to be welcomed into Heaven, at Christmas.

Mine was an angel on this earth.

Thank you for sharing about your special Mother, no doubt she is why you turned out so special too ... and the legacy goes on!

(((Hugs)))


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York

Its easy to see where your beauty, inside and out, came from. What a great Mom! Human, loving, and I would hazard to say, a lot of fun to be around. The weather can't always be calm but we manage to make it through the storms and those that smile, like your Mom (and you) always come out on top!

You learned your lessons well Linda and I have no doubt your Mom is beaming with pride at this very moment.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful. Happy New Year to you and the Captain.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 23 months ago

I am touched by your hub of your mother ! I too lost my mom in 1997, of congestive heart failure, she was a strong backbone to the family because our males in our family had mostly passed away, but what she did do is prepare us for her passing away and as a small family with the help of the Heavenly Father we all survived and got through this tragic change in our family! We talk about her as though she never left, yet what I find more strengthening then all was how God assured me that death was everyone's possibility ,just as being born, was our reality,so again to return is the other possibility that will become a reality! Notice!

Reference Bible Ac 24:15 and I have hope toward God, which hope these [men] themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

New World Translation Re 20:12, 13 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. The dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds.13And the sea gave up the dead in it, and death and the Grave gave up the dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.

Reference Bible Mt 19:26 Looking them in the face, Jesus said to them: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Reference Bible Heb 6:18 in order that, through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to the refuge may have strong encouragement to lay hold on the hope set before us.

Nu 23:19 God is not a mere man who tells lies, Nor a son of man who changes his mind. When he says something, will he not do it? When he speaks, will he not carry it out? Tit 1:2 and is based on a hope of the everlasting life that God, who cannot lie, promised long ago;

We will see our loved ones again with a promise!


Joyfulcrown profile image

Joyfulcrown 23 months ago

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I think it is the best compliment in the world when tells you that you are like your mom. Thank you for sharing.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 23 months ago from Iowa

A beautiful tribute, Linda.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 23 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Thank you all for celebrating what would have been my mom's 80th birthday with me. Xo


travmaj profile image

travmaj 23 months ago from australia

Such a wonderful tribute to your mother. How proud and rightly so. You've touched my heartstrings.

I must remember my mother and leave a legacy. I've written short pieces but have much more to offer. Thanks again.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 23 months ago from New Delhi, India

This is a heart touching tribute to your mother, truly wonderful!

She must be proud of you.

It is really very difficult to sum up, what the mothers do for their children. We can not thank them enough. Can we!

Thanks for sharing this touching hub! Voted up!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 23 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Linda,

Oh I certainly see you as a "Red"-head after reading this heartfelt tribute to your amazing Momma. I feel that she and Sammie have found each other and are shining down on us...infusing their wisdom, wit and strength in us to face whatever life has in store. And Red has given you so many gifts to help you love the Captain even better in his journey.

In a Holistic Nursing class I teach, the students writes their own eulogy as a journal exercise...why not plan as much of the final phase of our life as we possibly can?

Voting UP and UABI and sharing...Love and hugs, MM


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 23 months ago from Riga, Latvia

What a wonderful and heart warming hub. Great pictures. I too miss my mom. You know that she is still beside you and will always watch over you.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 23 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

MM, That is an amazing journal exercise. I truly think we should all write our own eulogy, we know ourselves the best.

Thank you ALL for your comments and thoughts! XO


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 23 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Linda, I want to thank you as I got some inspiration from your this hub. I was able to post a tribute to my wife because of you. Thank you very much.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 23 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

I'm honored that my tribute to my mother inspired you to write a tribute to your wife, Venkatachari. Your tribute is just as beautiful.


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 23 months ago from Somewhere in the West

Hey Sunshine this was a lovely tribute to your mum , who has gone on to meet our Lord and Saviour. I know how you feel because i lost my only brother in 2000 and I still love and miss him very much.

I hope your mum is looking down and seeing your tribute to her. I love your pictures your daughter is cute, you and your mum also.

Have a great day sweedie


Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 23 months ago from Central Florida

You wrote a lovely tribute to your mother.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my mother's death. I'm pondering what to put on the blog I have for her memory.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 23 months ago from Dubai

A beautiful, beautiful tribute to your mom, she is always there with you in spirit and soul. You look so much like your mother, great hub voted up.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 23 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments! I hope my tribute inspires others to create tributes to their loved ones :)


creativelycc profile image

creativelycc 22 months ago from Maine

This is a beautiful tribute to your mother. She sounds like she was a wonderful person. She had many characteristics similar to my Mom. Your mother will forever live in your heart as my daughter will forever live in mine.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 22 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Amen, Creative!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

She sounds like she was a beautiful, high-spirited woman who inspired many. Somewhere up there's a red-headed angel livin' large and perhaps wearing cowboy boots under the gown.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 22 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Awww, Flourish...I adore your comment! :)


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida

How precious. How blessed you are to have had a Momma that you loved and who loved you and taught you about the loveliness in life. I feel exactly the same about my Momma....I feel that she was the best, the crème de la crème and that I am blessed and a better person because she walked the planet (I wrote about her here on the Hub too).

Beautiful tribute I must share this, Sunshine

Hoping all is good with you

I feel a connection to you since you commented on my page about your husband having cancer so I know you 'get it.'

Loving Angels are on the way to you and your husband this morning ps


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 21 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi PS, I totally get it. I'm sorry you and your family are in the cancer journey. Those of us who were, are or will be can all relate to how cancer alters our lives. Cancer doesn't define us though, we gain a strength we never knew we had from the journey. Sending you some sunshine! :)


earner profile image

earner 21 months ago from United Kingdom

This is a great piece. It's good to remember, but sad to realise no new memories can be created - and then you sit and strain to remember just one more thing.. . just one more new memory from the past, it's all you ask for.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 21 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Earner...I'm thinking you have been there and done that. Thank you for sharing.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 19 months ago from Arkansas, USA

As Mother's Day approaches, I am so thankful that I still have my mom and so sorry for you and others who have lots theirs. I can't even imagine. "Red" sounds like she was a wonderful woman, and it sounds like she lives on in you. This hub is a beautiful tribute to her.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 19 months ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Vicki, Red was one of a kind...she has left everlasting memories with all that had the pleasure of knowing her. I am happy for you that you still have your mom in your life :)

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