Farewell, Bea!

Thoughts on the passing of my mother, Bea Holmquist, read at her service on April 11, 2015

Our mother was a tough old gal. That’s after growing up as a tough young gal. We all know she came from a not so happy beginning to tenaciously build a life that was full and rich. Dad would say she was stubborn; I say she knew what was important to her. From the busy, card-playing family of her childhood, she became a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

Mom was a self-taught, expert seamstress; I have early memories of her current project always draped over the sewing machine in the dining room. She even made suits for Dad that no one ever guessed were homemade. One Christmas, all my presents were outfits sewn by Mom, a new one to wear to school each day for two whole weeks! My friends insisted they were too stylish to have been made at home. One even accused me of sneaking off to Milwaukee to shop. Mom loved that story. She also loved to gift her kids, husband and grandchildren with a new hand-knit sweater complete with a personalized “Made by Bea” tag. Where did she find the time along with the cooking, cleaning and taking care of six kids?

Mom was the queen of cookies, mixing up a batch whenever the whim hit her. And that was often. The plastic containers on her pantry shelves were the first place grandchildren (everyone, actually) headed when coming for a visit. Even before a hello kiss. And getting a container to take home wasn’t a treat, but a common practice. Mom especially loved being “Granny.” She was a special friend, a purveyor of inside jokes and a confidant during troubled times for all her grandchildren.

An active member of her community, Mom was involved with her parish, Blessed Sacrament. And the way they took care of her, rides to Mass and a visitor for communion and confession, allowed her to remain active with her faith which was so important to her. She especially loved going to the Senior meals. And she took her duties as pen pal to the students very seriously, responding with personalized comments to each of their letters.

Mom loved her home and neighborhood; in later years, she was a sight to see, tooling up and down the block with her walker. These very special neighbors watched out for her, checked on her often, one brought her homemade bread, invited her to neighborhood events and probably contributed to her being able to remain in her beloved home as long as she was able.

Dad always joked that his and Mom’s marriage resembled the cartoon, The Lockhorn’s and the radio program, The Bickersons. With Mom’s passing on Corky’s birthday, April 7, it’s for sure that the thunder and lightning that night signaled the end of the honeymoon as they wrapped up their birthday/reunion party. For Bea Bickerson and Corky Lockhorn, some things will never change.

Though we will miss Mom greatly, she’s finally at peace and our memories will remain vivid. I like to think she’s somewhere playing cards and laughing at jokes told in German by her mother, Mary and Aunt Gert. Along with kibitzing from Corky, of course.

 

 

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