A Life Remembered
It has been a couple days over a month since my mother (blessed be her memory), a Princess Warrior of the Most High God slipped from this time realm to the next. It still seems impossible that this is a reality. My reality.
My life has been intertwined with hers for almost 71 years now…71 years. That also seems impossible. It began in the daybreak hours of Sunday, February 24, 1952 and ended with her goodby on January 16, 2023 at 3:30PM. From the very beginning, her love for her family was evident to one and all as well as her love for life and living.
My earliest memories are ones of safety, love and lots of fun! Mom was just a 18 year old kid herself and not ready to give up her childhood, even though it now was intermingled with the trappings of adulthood and parenthood. She, herself, was the youngest child of eight – born to John Henry & Agatha (Edna) Michael nee Steppig in Maplewood (now Cahokia), IL on September 1, 1933. Her childhood memories were mostly blessed, even though there were hard times during those late depression days. She never realized that there was never enough food, no new clothes and way too much work. After all, she was the baby and spoiled.
As she grew into young adulthood, she loved being in the debate classes at Dupo High School and being active in whatever the cool kids were doing. In her senior year, at age 17, she met and fell in love with a young dashing young man named Ronald R. Frierdich of Milstadt, IL. Actually, when she met him she thought he was kind of arrogant, but he kind of grew on her and soon they eloped. Yes….eloped! My mother …. and father .. eloped. However, her mother would not allow them to ‘live’ together because they weren’t married in church, but within three months they changed their marital status and began their life together in a small 20′ travel trailer outside her parents home.
Within two years, they were the proud owners of a small 2 bedroom, 1 bath home. They thought they were rich. And looking back, they were. They settled in a small town (village) called Cahokia, IL and began building their own family. The first three daughters came along quickly, after myself, came Karen and then Donna…but they weren’t finished yet! After some distance of about ten years, the second group followed quickly – Ron Jr., Steve and Michelle. Family complete.
Skipping past a lot of what happened during those next twenty years when the ‘kids grew up’, the daily ins and outs of just living and raising kids, I’d like to focus on a few outstanding timestamps. It always amazes me to ‘look back’ and see how ‘things turned out’ even when we thought it was a wrong turn. For instance, when the first set of children were grown and out of the house (I had one child, Jim III) they moved to California. Mom loved California – the palm trees, the ocean, the people…she loved it and thrived! It wasn’t long before my husband, Jim, and I followed them to the promised land. However, we didn’t stay long – Jim hated it – too many people LOL.
However, mom grew exponentially during that short time they were in California and then they moved to Kansas as dad was able to move back closer to the girls. At least we could drive back and forth for holidays! During that time in CA mom spent time ‘playing’ with our three younger siblings by joining various groups and taking a number of fun classes. Than she continued that in Kansas where there was a tennis court on every corner and a health food store on every other corner! She soon became involved in both! Her love for all things organic and her desire to stay active carried her through all her days.
During her time in Kansas she became involved more fully in searching for God…and in the early 80’s was ‘born again’. This started a chain reaction – soon my oldest brother, Ron, (ten years younger than I) also was ‘born again’ and soon I was more than curious as to what was happening. After all, we were born and raised in the Catholic Church – never even heard of the word born again. But the Father had his way and called us out of the doctrines and traditions of men as we began to dig deeper and seek more answers. Oh the forks in the road we took! Many movements came and went…..the Charismatic movement, the Holy Spirit movement, the Messianic movement. Ups and downs and sideways … we saw it all.
After mom and I immersed ourselves in seeking out the ways of God by following our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) doing things the way He did them…doors opened up in Israel for us! My parents and Jim & I made several trips to Israel during the 90’s … and one of those times it was simply her and I! It was an amazing and miraculous time…it was (what my oldest would call) a God wink! What a wink! There were so many God-appointed meetings that we made – and we never looked back.
Those are the times I remember the most….the blessings of being with my mom – one on one – two friends traveling across the globe. Mother and daughter experiencing the love and mercy of God! Memories of how much she loved her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren and her great great grandchildren! Her fun-loving attitude and her child-like faith that always lifted her up and encouraged us. Memories of all the sacrifices she made for her family and yet never complained but made the best of every situation.
She was amazing.
She was outstanding.
She was ……. my mom.
and she’ll be missed.
~ Pamela Marie Staley nee Frierdich ~