Several months ago, I felt inspired to sit down and write a special song as a tribute to my mother. I felt impressed to title the song, “The Memories Live On.” The song was officially released on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2020, and is now available on all major music platforms. I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend Memorie Coon Dudley who graciously asked to sing the vocals, and to Eric Tetz for playing guitar. This is the story behind the song.
For 39 and a half years, my mother and I enjoyed life on this earth together. During those precious years we laughed together, we played together, we shared our hopes and dreams for better tomorrows, and there were even times when we cried together. I can honestly say that she was not only my mother but a true and faithful confidant and an endearing friend. Sadly, she bid farewell, but for a season, just before noon on Thursday, 12 June 1997, after losing her battle with breast cancer. She was 59 years young.
I have so many wonderful memories of my dear mother. It was she who was my first school teacher, preparing me for the higher institution of learning called life. She never attended a class in a college or university classroom or earned any online degrees, yet she was deserving of the highest degree and honors that could be bestowed upon any person when it came to the knowledge, wisdom, and discernment that had already been bestowed upon her.
I humbly echo the words of President Abraham Lincoln who is quoted as having said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Thus, if someone were to ask me the question, “Who is the one person who has had the most influence on your life?” I would answer with two words, “My mother!”
The writer of the Old Testament Book of Proverbs posed the question, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” (Proverbs 31:10). I was blessed to know such a woman in the person of Frances Mae Harmon Brown. She was a loving wife and mother, raising the four children that she loved dearly in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. She gained the favor of many people she crossed paths with on her life’s journey, and they too lovingly referred to her as “Mom.”
My mother was a very humble person. She never owned a lot of worldly possessions but as the writer of Proverbs exhorted, “her price [was] far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10). She did not own or drive an expensive car, have a large bank account, or even own an expensive wardrobe or expensive jewelry. In fact, she would make frequent trips to the fabric store to purchase material to make most of her own clothing.
My family never lived in a big fancy house, but what made the houses that we lived in so special is that my mother knew how to make a house a home. There were many nights that she would be the last to lay down and rest, only after she was sure that her family was all in, at rest, and the home was secure. The writer of Proverbs adequately paints a picture of my mother with his words, “She [looked] well to the ways of her household, and [ate] not the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27). I can honestly say that my mother set the tone and atmosphere in our home and everyone who entered our home was a welcomed guest, whether they were a family member, a long-time friend, or a total stranger.
Even after her four children had left home and been on their own, she maintained constant contact with each one, and at times offered wise counsel and direction when and where needed. However, she always allowed each of us to have our free agency, all the while praying that we would always make the right decisions. “She [opened] her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [was] the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). Not only did my mother offer her counsel, but she always made sure that her children would always have a home to come home to, and she delighted in each visit.
I still have and cherish letters that my mother wrote to me while I was serving on active duty in the United States Navy – many times thousands of miles away on the other side of the world. Those letters often brought me great peace and comfort since her passing.
The scriptures teach us, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). My mother loved the Savior and spent time each day reading His Word. When she was too sick to read the scriptures, my younger sister would read to her or she would listen to the scriptures on cassette tape or CD. Her favorite Bible verses were Psalm 37:1-9, which could very well have been her counsel to the family she loved.
Growing up in our home, there was always a copy of the Bible available. My mother introduced her children to the scriptures at a young age and taught them to love the Savior by keeping His commandments and following His will for their lives. She took us to church every Sunday without fail unless there was some reason that she was unable to go. I cannot recall one time when my mom ever called for a family meeting to discuss the matter, or call for a vote to see who wanted to go to church and who didn’t.
One of the last gifts that I bought for her was a study Bible that she wanted. She read from that Bible every day and carried it with her to church when she was able to go. I am blessed to have that Bible as well as other Bibles that she studied, complete with her personal markings and handwritten notes, in my library at home.
Thank God for mothers -those special daughters of our Heavenly Father who are rare, precious, priceless, jewels. There is no love in all the world like the love of a dear mother. Maybe I am a bit bias and partial because she was my mother, but as an endearing tribute to her, I humbly say, “ Many daughters have done virtuously, but [you] [dear mother] excellest them all” (Proverbs 31:29). I think of my beloved mother often – “ The Memories Live On.” Dear mother till we meet again, some sweet dawn!