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Memories of Nona

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ARJESS Arabians

  In Memory of My Dear Wife Nona
SECTION 1
Introduction

SECTION 2
Photos

SECTION 3
Delores' tribute to her mother

SECTION 4
A Poetic Tribute




This page is dedicated to the memory of Nona. It is my privilege to share a glimpse of her beautiful life. A life so well lived needs to be shared. The following words and photos are intended to provide a small window into to brief life that she so nobly shared with me while touching the lives of many, many people. I'm forever grateful to God for the many good memories that I have and  shall always treasure. Nona was a gift from God to me and all those who knew her!

 

 

 

These photos were taken during the time of Nona's funeral, all of my siblings were present and also all of Nona's immediate family.

 

 

A Tribute to My Mother

Written by her daughter Delores Groh, which she read at her mother's funeral service.

 My dear mother has taught me many things by word and by deed, intentionally and unintentionally; just by the way she lived her life. I am so very grateful for her influence in every role in my life.

 She taught me how to be a woman of faith.

From as long ago as I can remember, Mom read me Bible Stories, helped me memorize verses, took me to Sunday School and church, taught me songs about Jesus and prayed with me. She loved church. It was always a central part of her life.

 Her joy and sense of awe in the beauty of nature was contagious. During one of our family camping trips or walks in the park, she would exclaim over flowers, trees or animals. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I learned to look at nature and see God's character in it. Her faith was a natural, not a showy or wordy part of her life.

 Even during her illness Mom showed me how to be a woman of faith. I was so privileged to walk through it with her. Through her sadness and grieving, her trust in God remained strong. She didnít understand Godís purpose in her illness but she chose to continue to trust, saying, ďGod has a different plan.Ē She was so good at focusing on things to be thankful for and seeing the blessings of each day, taking one day at a time. When Dad gave her a CD player in the hospital, Mom cried with joy and filled her mind with her favorite praise music. She was touched and amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love she received through cards, visits, emails and calls. Her cards meant so much to her. She would lay them all out and reread them to be encouraged by them again. When she got way over 100 she had to stop counting!

 She was amazed to find out how much she had touched people's lives in her kind, gracious way. She would say, "I'm just me. I haven't done anything special." I always strongly disagreed. She was so grateful for the way our church family took care of our girls so I could take care of Mom and for the meals people provided for Dad every other day. She would say, "It just keeps coming and coming."

 Mom has never been one to complain and that was true during her illness too. She was joy to take care of. In the hospital, she had a way of making the nurses her friends. She took an interest in their lives and she quickly became a favorite patient. She let them know what she needed without being demanding. When she left the hospital to go to Kobacker House (the Hospice Care Facility) the nurses' goodbyes gave tribute to how much she touched them.

 As she did in any new role I undertook in my life, Mom affirmed me, even though I was uncertain in my new role as care giver. She just knew I needed that. I couldnít wait to see her every day and the days I didnít see her, I missed her.  I had made it a practice to pray with Mom when I went to see her each day and one day she said that today she wants to pray for me. She thanked God for the care I was giving her and I shall never forget it. Every little or big thing I did for her brought such gratefulness from her. Her faith and commitment to God was real and deep and it carried her through this trial.

 She taught me how to be a wife.

Momís deep love and commitment to Dad was evident in many ways. The way she looked at him and smiled spoke volumes. She was respectful when she talked to Dad or when she talked about him to others. She just loved to be with him. When he was home, thatís where she wanted to be. During Momís illness Dad's presence brought her such joy. You could hear it in her voice as she greeted him when he came into the room.  Dad truly walked through this trial with her, devoting himself to meet her needs night or day. From years of habit, she continued to think of his needs too. While she was in the hospital, she encouraged him to go to church, even though it meant she would be alone. She gave him loving reminders from her bed like making sure he took his medicine or ate well or got enough rest.  During her last shopping trip with Dad, from her wheelchair, she made sure he had new towels and a new iron and they stocked up on other supplies to make things easier for him after she was gone.

 She taught me how to be a mother.

Mom truly put her family first in her life. She gave to us first and she gave my brother and me her best, not her leftovers in time, energy, creativity and caring. She read countless books, made cookies, sewed doll clothes, attended our events and just liked to be with us. I never heard her say she needed time away from her children. As we were growing up, Mom had high expectations for my brother and me. We knew she meant what she said. She had a calm spirit that didn't overreact or get impatient easily and she was always so sympathetic to our hurts, little or big. Even though Mom always said she could never have a dog in the house, she relented and let us have Smoky whom she reluctantly grew to love because of the joy he brought Keith and me.

 Her love for me was so unconditional. I knew I could tell her anything and I did. We enjoyed a wonderful relationship that became a friendship in our adult life. I sought her calmness and wisdom many times.

 Mom enjoyed cleaning and cooking and laundry and gardening and taking care of her home. She was very practical and liked working with her hands. She was an efficient worker and kept a neat home. During her last weeks, she read through a book filled with household tips and highlighted things she thought Dad or her children should know after she would be gone. She was always good at practically preparing us for our next phase of life. Whether it was preparing for a new year of school, or going away to college or setting up a new apartment, she was so helpful in making sure we had everything we needed. When we did leave home, we knew mom was praying for us and she faithfully wrote newsy little letters that felt like hugs from home.

 Mom extended her love for family to friends we brought home and to our spouses. Both Paul and Lynette soon felt like she was their mom too.

 She taught me how to be a Grandma someday.

Her grandchildren were her joy. She continued to make her family her priority in her grand parenting. She made a delicious meal for my family most Sundays when she could have spent her time on other things. She was not just available but eager to watch the girls so Paul and I could attend a meeting or have a date or sometimes go away overnight. Because of her and Dad's availability to us, Paul and I were able to take on roles in the church and give to others. All of the grandchildren are very sad to lose their Grandma because she made so much time for them and touched them in so many ways: she always had library books (that she got on her lunch hour) so she could read to them when they were at her house, she attended their school functions, made their favorite meals, gave them gifts just right for them, gave them hugs at church every Sunday, and in the last days of her life, sent them cards in the mail to surprise them. While she was in the hospital she, with great effort, assembled Easter baskets to give all 6 grandchildren. It was another way she made each one feel special and loved.

 She taught me how to be a friend.

Mom took a genuine interest in others' lives, happy to listen, rather than be the center of conversation. She had a quiet, friendly, accepting manner that others appreciated, even people she had casual contact with like a store cashier.  She was a gracious hostess in her home, making wonderful meals and seeking to meet the needs of others.

Nona Ellen Nisly, my mom, was a gift to all of us. She was strong and brave and beautiful to the end. She finished well, clinging to Jesus. And while I am going to miss her terribly, I am so happy for her that she is now, like her favorite Psalm says, shouting for joy to the Lord, worshipping him with gladness in heaven.

 

A Poetic Tribute

Nona was dearly loved by our church family. Following is a poem written, by one of our Pastor's wife, in memory of Nona. Her note to me said she remembered how Nona love lilacs, so she was inspired to write this poem and give it to me as her gift to help keep Nona's memory alive and well. She gave me permission to share it with my family and friends.   -Wayne

Lilac Blooms

 Lilac blooms blur my vision

Their fragrance fades

Like pressed flowers flattened and gray

I miss you so much today.

Just yesterday I held out hope-filled hands in prayer

ďI love you God. I trust you God.Ē - thatís what I said Ė

And I still do.

YetÖ I wasnít finished loving you.

 

The lilacs in the vase are old

The people here arenít you

I feel surrounded yet alone

I feel sad today.

My dear, my partner and my friend

We had so much to do

How can I walk this path alone?

I wasnít finished loving you.

 

The lilacs that you love so well

They bloom from brown, bare wood

Each spring their purple blossoms,

Remind me that Godís good.

God has promised heaven

To us who call Him friend

To us who choose to trust Him

My darling Ė I believe in God and I know Heís true

SomedayÖ Iíll finish loving you.

 

 

 

 

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Last modified: 10/20/05