Good Life

Clergy column: A tribute to Mom

Rose Budd Fenstermacher works on a painting in her apartment in 2014.
Rose Budd Fenstermacher works on a painting in her apartment in 2014. CDT file photo

My dear mother passed away earlier this year. She is now home with her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Scriptures say, “absent from the body, home with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8).

I would like to use the opportunity of this clergy column to pay tribute to her.

Rose Budd Fenstermacher honored her dad and mom. Some of the most endearing memories I have of my mom is how she cared for her dad and mom as they journeyed through their last days. As her dad, James Madison Nickell, lay dying from throat cancer, my mom would be at his bedside with comfort and care.

As her mother, Mary Louise Nickell, spent her final years with Alzheimer’s, my mother would tenderly and lovingly hold her hand enjoying precious time with her dear mother.

My mother loved her country. She proudly served in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. Stationed at Camp Patrick Henry, she warmly greeted the soldiers upon their return to the U.S.A. Afterward, she worked countless hours with the wounded boys, drawing their portraits, writing down letters to their parents and sweethearts, chatting with them to help brighten their day.

Even to her last days, my mother reverentially talked of those brave young men who fought in World War II.

Never for one moment did I doubt that my mom loved me. Her love was sacrificial.

I often think of those long nights that she would stay by my bedside helping me to breathe as I was suffering through another asthmatic attack. Her love was courageous. The crowning moment was when she confronted me when I was about to go down a very destructive path. She stood in my way. Although I was very mad at her in the moment, years later I understood that her rebuke was rooted in her love for me.

My mom loved her God. Some of her last words to me were, “Drew, I know that my life is in his hands.”

She also loved people. She took a real interest in the people around her. On good days and not-so-good days, my mother made a real effort to greet people taking interest in who they were and what they were doing. Even during her final hospital stay she worked at befriending the doctors and nurses; she loved them, and they loved her. She was a very kind and loving person.

She was a caring mother and woman. She was very talented and had so many rich and varied life experiences. Like most, her journey had difficulties — some of which were very painful.

However, like other followers of Jesus, she persevered in faith and manifested his love to others. My mom was a very loving person known for uplifting and encouraging those around her.

My mother has run her race and is now home with Jesus. Thanks, Mom, for being such a loving mother and friend. I look forward to seeing you again in the presence of our savior.