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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.