Letter: Thanks to community for celebrating mother's life

To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all of the wonderful family and friends who came to my mom's house to help us celebrate her life. We were overwhelmed with love, kind words, great food, wonderful stories, and incredible memories. I also want to send my love to those who just couldn't come by. I understand. It was a tough day.

It was very obvious that my mom touched so many people's and animal's lives during her time here on this Earth. I just want everyone to know that all of you really touched her as well. She loved her kids. Not just her family. She helped raise neighbor kids, 4-H kids, wayward kids, and she especially loved her animal kids. She taught each and every one of us the importance of honesty, integrity, hope, appreciation, hard work, graciousness, patience, respect, thoughtfulness, tenderness, and, especially for me, tenacity. She taught me to have the courage to stand up for what I believe in, what is right, and to demand justice for wrongdoing. My mom is an inspiration and I am so, so proud to have had her as my mom. I am also so thankful that she was able to be a part of so many of your lives, too.

I apologize that I couldn't spend more time with everyone like I wanted to. I did, however, make sure to give hugs and my best words of encouragement to the kids and young people who my mom mentored. I encouraged them to embrace the values that my mom had lived by over the years. I told them to carry my mom's legacy forward, and take another child or an animal that needed help under their wing. Mentor them, help them, encourage them, challenge them, and sometimes give them some tough love. Guide them back to the right path. Praise them when they do well, scold them when they stray; but never, never give up on them. She believed that we could all succeed with a little help and a lot of love.

This was my mom's legacy.

Mom freely shared her love, kindness, generosity, and helping hand to anyone or any creature that needed her. She had such skills at rescuing, comforting, healing, and training, and she taught so many of us how to follow in her footsteps. Her passion for life and her hope for the future will live in all of us. I would be lying if I said that I haven't shed lots of tears as I write these words. This is a very sad time for all of us. My wish for you is to live each day as if it were your last. Love, hope, dream, laugh and remember to take care of yourselves. As each chapter closes, look forward to the next with enthusiasm and joy.

That was what my mom would have wanted.

Jonel Wagoner

Williams resident

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