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Mom is Gone but Never Forgotten

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.

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

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

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.

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

© 2015 Linda Bilyeu

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