I’m back on two feet, and my foot is getting stronger every day; however, I’m still slow and limping, especially on stairs. A few times, I’ve lamented that I am walking like my mother.
Today in honor of my mother’s birthday, I want to affirm that walking like my mother is a noble aspiration for anyone.
My mother never met a stranger. If she were here, all the people in the branches would love her. Children would all call her “abuela,” she would be the first to know about a pregnancy or engagement, and she would not need to speak Spanish to share love with the person sitting alone on the back row. She would not forget their name. She knew my neighbors better than I did.
My mother was always a missionary, passing out pass-along cards or invitations to church to everyone who crossed her path. When my father died, she had me drive her all over town, inviting grocery clerks and hairdressers to his funeral. Her tenacious testimony brought our family of seven into the church, and we now count nearly 100 souls among our family, including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their spouses, all sealed together in the temple. Four of us are currently serving as full-time missionaries.
My mother never quit being active. She went to the temple, kept her nails and hairdo perfect, went out to lunch with friends, made quilts for all the great-grandchildren, and started new businesses up until her last week of life on earth. In the months before she died, she visited her family from Texas to Virginia and Illinois. She was on vacation celebrating Christmas with family in Utah when she suddenly became ill and died there at the age of 87—but not before giving pass along cards to all the nurses and doctors there.
All her life, my mother was interested in her ancestors, and she did genealogical research and temple work for dozens of relatives. Family members at her last bedside felt the presence of many of those loved ones there, waiting to welcome her back home. I miss her, and on what would have been her 91st birthday, today is a good day to remember to walk like my mom.