(June 14, 1927 – November 13, 2023)
My mom passed away this past Monday. Peacefully. Without pain or suffering. For this, our family is grateful. But she leaves behind a tremendous void.
How do I begin to capture the beauty and the force that was my mom, June Ellen Hurst Taylor, known to family and friends as “Mim”?
My mom was a natural beauty. Stunningly gorgeous as a young girl and elegantly beautiful at age 96. I realized this for the first time when seeing a photo of her from college days hanging in my grandparents’ home. (I was probably elementary school age at the time.) I remember thinking “Wow. My mom looks like a movie star!” She had the beauty (and personality) to be on the stage, and she carried a presence onto the stage of life.
My mom was a party waiting to happen. She had a big, boisterous personality and a laugh to match. She garnered attention effortlessly as others were drawn into her circle of fun and celebration. She didn’t just enter a room, she ENTERED a room. She carried a smile with her wherever she went and constantly “spread a little joy”. People remembered being around June Taylor.
My mom was a person of deep faith. She didn’t just know ABOUT Jesus. She KNEW Jesus. They were friends. Companions. Talking buddies. As my mom became less mobile, her reading increased, which consisted mostly of devotionals. Joyce Meyer. Jimmy Evans. Robert Morris. Sarah Young. These were some of her co-companions on her daily journey with her Creator. She was constantly offering up prayers on behalf of not just herself, but family, friends and frequently in later years, staff from the care facilities where she was living. Mim basically wore a sign around her neck that said, “Let me tell you about my Jesus.”
My mom loved her family, only second to her love for Jesus. Family was everything to her. She committed her life to staying home with me and my two sisters and supporting us in whatever we chose to pursue. She believed in us. She loved us. She served us.
My mom’s love language was cooking and she wanted to do all the work herself. (Only allowing our dear, family friend, Eloisa, to help in the kitchen) One year, my sister JoEllen and I offered to help with some of the Thanksgiving meal preparation. Things did not go well. My mom did not like our cooking and made no effort to hide it. LOL It was the last time we made such a silly offer.
My mom’s greatest earthly joy was being surrounded by her kids, grand-kids and great-grandkids. And that never changed.
But she loved PEOPLE!! She made everyone feel special and appreciated. She noticed you and thanked you for anything and everything. She gave away love and affection to everyone.
My mom suffered one of the greatest losses a parent can experience – the death of a child. I remember thinking after my sister, Karen, passed away, that I would never see my mom laugh again. She carried that grief with her throughout the years, but she allowed God to help her find joy through the promise of seeing Karen in heaven in the future. By not avoiding but rather encouraging conversations about Karen with those who knew and loved her, my mom taught me to be comfortable allowing others to talk about loss in their own life. I saw that it brought her great happiness in keeping those memories alive. It was one of the greatest life lessons that she taught me.
My mom laughed again. She enjoyed life. She lived large in spite of great loss.
My mom broke her hip four years ago and was required to be bed-ridden for over a year. She was completely non-load bearing which meant she had to be lifted to and from her bed into a wheelchair. Her doctor said that she would never walk again but my mom NEVER lost faith that God would heal her and allow her to stand again. AND HE DID!! The therapist at Good Samaritan marveled at her unrelenting hope, doubting that many folks could lay in a bed for such an extended period of time and still find joy and the ability to smile and love on those caring for her. It was rare. And impacted MANY.
During the season of recovering after her injury, along came Covid. She was isolated inside her care facility for over a year. Once again, her joy and appreciation of each day remained solid. Thankfully, she had a room with windows to the exterior where we could come visit. It wasn’t the same as being able to hold her, but seeing our faces never failed to bring a smile. The first time I saw her STANDING and able to TAKE STEPS was through the window. Truly a miracle and testament to God’s faithfulness.
There’s so much more I could write, but I think you get the picture. She was amazing. She was a mess. She was Mim.
She loved well and was well loved.
“Consider yourself hugged.” – June Taylor