He used to be an artist and a sign painter for the big advertising signs you see in the Mainland. He was a part time driver for the Coca Cola company and the last stop he made every day was the End of the Line Grocery Store on Fauntleroy in West Seattle. He came home and held my mother gently in his arms and decided the name for her would be Endoline Mae Munday. Endoline because she was the end of the line of ten children and Mae for Mae West one of my Grandparents favorite actresses.
To me she was just Mama. I loved her so very much and felt so lucky to spend her last summer with her. My mother was beginning to get forgetful and she had COPD so she was in and out of the hospital. My sister Chrystal who took such wonderful care of Mama called me and asked if I could fly home to help with her. I talked it over with my husband Peter and he told me to get on the next flight. I can't begin to tell you what it means to have a husband like the one I was blessed with.
This summer would become one of the most illuminating summers of my life. A summer I am so very grateful and blessed to have had with her. She was living at a wonderful Christian Home on the South Sound called Judson Park. Her room overlooked beautiful evergreens and Puget Sound. Living in Ballard most of her life Mama loved the water. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do so I picked her up and we went on field trips to all the places she loved. Capital Hill, Madison Beach, Port Townsend, Hood Canal, Sulton and I would drive to Ballard and go to Totem house to get the best fish and chips in the world!! Then we would take our treasures to Golden gardens and I would wheel her right to the water and we would sit and talk for hours. Eating the fish and chips that would melt in out mouth and appreciating the crispness of the cold lemonade as it quenched our thirst. She wasn't able to remember what happened five minutes prior, but she could remember everything from her youth in great detail. I realized that God had given me one of the greatest gifts ever. I could write down every story she had to tell me and share them with my family. In my Native American background from my father there was a person in every family who had the job of "The Storyteller" This gift was mine alone for my family. I could weave a story like no one else. I have to give my Irish Heritage a little credit for this as well.
While letting the warmth of the sun shine on us, Mama told me that when I was born, my sister Janis got to name me. She liked the name Teresa. So my parents named me Teresa Marie Delaney the fourth child born to Endoline and Henry Delaney. My Mother who was a Catholic convert had me baptized when I was one month old at Holy Rosary church in Edmonds, Washington. She confided in me that day that she had laid me on the alter and given me to the Lord. I don't think she had a clue to what she had done!!! The Lord had taken over my life even then. My name Teresa means "The Harvester" and she told me that day on the beach that she was never so shocked when I came home one night when I was seventeen years old and a Junior at Ballard High School and told her that I had been saved. She looked at me and said "saved from what?" I was so young and so passionate about what I heard that night that I told her that I was born again and free from the fires of Hell. I told her that Jesus had come into my heart and He was living inside me!!!! I was so excited that night that I was flying and not with drugs. It was the Holy spirit and it was life changing!!!
I think that because my other siblings had problems with drugs and alcohol, she was so grateful to have one child she didn't have to "worry" about. I had some of the best friends in the whole world. Colleen McLellan will always have a very special place n my heart. We will be sisters in eternity!!! Mama was happy to hear that my Friday nights when I wasn't in plays at Ballard High School were spent at Evangel Temple on 8th avenue and 80th NW at the Eye listening to The Brethren play Christian music and lead many young people to Jesus Christ!!! It was so much fun and we were reading the Bible and praying and listening to really good Christian music. It was an AWESOME time of my life.
I asked my Mama that day on the beach if she knew Jesus. She told me that she did. I asked her if she had asked Him into her heart as her Savior and she said she had done this with my other sister Christina. I asked her if she minded if I prayed with her too. We held hands and thanked the Lord for coming into our hearts and blessing us so richly.
She would tell me stories of going to Madison Beach as a child and climbing on the Ferrys that used to go to Mercer Island before the bridges were built. Her and her brothers and sister would scream penny, dime nickel, quarter and the people on the ferry would throw coins into Lake Washington where the kids would dive into the water to get their treasure. it is a good thing my grandmother had no idea what they were doing. I had quite a collection of stories when that summer was over. My Mama graduated from Garfield High School in 1945. She was a wonderful mother and the strongest woman I ever knew. No matter what happened in her life, she knew that the Lord would always get her through and that is what she taught me.
I will never forget her eighty first birthday in 2008. I sent her flowers and called her as I always did every week just to talk. mama was my touch stone. I could tell her anything and she would be honest with me and tell me exactly what she thought and believed. On this day when I called her, she told me very calmly that the ambulance was coming for her to take her to the hospital. She told me to come to her. I told her that I would be on the first flight I could get out of Honolulu. She told me to hurry. That she might not be there when I got there. I told her, "Mama, if you need to go home, you go. Don't stay and wait for me. I don't want you to suffer. She just told me to hurry. I was so blessed with a daughter who has so much talent on the computer and got me a flight within the hour. As I was rushing through the airport I heard Terry!!! I turned around and it was a good friend who worked at Hawaiian Airlines. Our daughters had gone to Kamehameha School together. I told her what was happening and she upgraded me immediately to first class round trip. I hugged her and she told me she would pray for me and my family. The Lord was right there with me through it all.
Off I went into the wild blue yonder to say goodbye to the most important woman in my life. I thought Lord, how am I going to get through this? He just made me feel that everything would be all right. He was with me. I arrived at the hospital and had time to talk to Mama tell her what she meant to me and how I loved her. My Mother was so strong. They thought she would die that night, but she wasn't ready. She was waiting for my brother to come in from Norway. Then she looked at me and told me she wanted to talk to my husband Peter. I called him right away and Mama told him that she loved him and wanted to see him one last time. Mama was looking after me. She knew that I would need him when she passed. People look at the elderly as being useless and deficient but they are not. They are filled with wisdom, love and experience. If we are lucky enough to listen to them and care for them, they will give us gems that are more valuable then gold!!! My husband and brother came in an hour apart from opposite sides of the world and made it to Mama's bedside to say goodbye, to tell her they loved her and to watch her pass into eternity and the arms of the Lord in peace. Only the Lord could have orchestrated everything so perfectly. When ever I read this verse it makes me think of my Mama:
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. Proverbs 31:25-31
It was three years ago and even though I know Mama is in Paradise with Jesus I miss her!!! On her birthday I always sent her roses, roses for Mama! A Hui Hou Mama, until we meet again, I love you with all of my heart! God bless and keep you until we are together again!