Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Twenty Years


Friday was the 20th anniversary of The Wreck. Sister Amy has been in a wheelchair for two decades now–and without a whine. The Day is never easy, but the day after is usually even harder. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we gear up for it and when we let down, we get hit.

We’ve learned not to dwell on what we lost. Instead, we try keep our great memories alive.

Going to market with Mom to buy for Four Seasons Fashions, and how she’d think of each of our customers and what they’d enjoy.

Vacations with the entire family–skiing, Yellowstone, Branson.

Weddings. Her hard work getting ready for them. (Wedding planners had no place at the Spess Girls’ nuptials.)

The day we moved to C-Town with all the packing and unpacking, Mama stopped working long enough to read to Sister Debbie and me. (I can still see all my books scattered across the new wood floor.)

Mama’s fear of tornadoes. And appendicitis.

Her ability to teach kids to dive, even though she couldn’t dive. (We didn’t find that out for years!)

Her love for her grandchildren and her entire family.

Celebrations at Christmas.

The few times I saw her cry. (Three, maybe?)

The way she could outrun me, way into my teens.

Her dreams. Her hopes for her kids.

Teaching my sibs to play basket ball.

Enjoying basket ball games, no matter who was playing.


Her love of God, and her joy at being in the Lord’s house every time the doors were open.

Her death was senseless and tragic, but her life sparkled. So that’s what we remember. Mom’s life and her heart.

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

18 thoughts on “Twenty Years

  1. Susan, You are so right! Your Mom’s life sparkled & continues to sparkle through her children & grandchildren. She would be so proud of each of you, & lives on through the wonderful sparkle in her childrens’ eyes & God’s love in their hearts. Just continue remembering her & thinking of her & keep the sparkle going. 🙂

  2. I wish I could have met her. I’m sure I would have adored her. What a tough anniversary to mark.

  3. Susan, my heart goes out to you all. I know we always remember the anniversary/s of our parents.
    Big hugs to you all.

    • Paula,
      Your parents were both so young–especially your mom. We’re never old enough to lose our parents, but you guys were just babies when she died. But she left you such a heritage!
      I heard once that children spell God–“m-o-t-h-e-r.” That’s not exactly true, but I think we first learn to love Him at our mother’s knee. And your mom taught you well!

    • Yes, she did, Terri. And some days I miss that sparkle too much to stand. Especially when we’re getting ready for weddings and (hopefully!) grandchildren.
      Middle Son (works at Prairie) is getting married this summer on the day before Mom’s birthday. They set it as close as they could to her birthday to honor her.
      We miss her so much!

  4. Such a perfect description of Mom.
    Her life sparkled so much that we still strive to be like her. And she was striving to be like Jesus. What an example.

    • Absolutely. She always amazed me. How in the world did she grow up in the depression and know all the things she knew about life? Even when Grandma thought anyone who wasn’t Baptist wasn’t too bright, Mama knew what she needed to do and where she needed to be.
      What a woman!

  5. “You look just like your mom, or You are just like your mom” Those are the greatest compliments we could ever get and I know all of her girls hear those words from time to time. Don’t you just love it?

    20 years, its hard to believe. She is still so alive in each of us, and such a big part of our lives. And she did love her grandbabies so very much, when I hold my granddaughters I feel her there, loving them too.

    What precious memories we have, that’s how we have made it through losing her. All the precious memories of her and feeling her with us so much, especially at special times, like weddings. She hasn’t missed one special day in our lives!!!

    One very amazing ability that she had, she made each one of us feel like we were her favorite. How did she do that? I really believed I was her favorite and she enjoyed spending time with me more that any of my sibs. It wasn’t until after she was gone that I realized that she made each one of us feel that way. WOW I hope I have done that for my kids, make each one feel so special that they feel like my favorite!!!

    Love you much, Sister with the beautiful words. Thanks for always sharing your heart with such beautiful words.

    (BTW – I really was MOM’s favorite)


    • No! I was!

      Lica Beth

    • I may be about to lose the title of Sister with the beautiful words. You have quite a knack yourself! (You might be a romance writer in hiding!)
      You’re right about Mom. So many people thought of her as their best friend when she died. I think she made everyone think she liked them best. With all the people in the world who want to make others feel invisible (lol) she made them feel important. And she shared God’s love where ever she went. ]
      Love you much, too, Deedlebug.
      I’m glad you were Mom’s fav!

      • Debbie did do a great job of putting into words just exactly what I think too.
        You both are very talented in many ways.

  6. Susan, Words cannot explain how much I loved your Mom and Grandmother. They were extraordinary women of God and always so wonderful to me. Mary Sue always encouraged me and paid me compliments even when I was overweight, she never looked down on me. I think she was so beautiful inside and out and so much fun. Ruby was my last blood ancestor to die, they all left a beautiful legacy for all of us to live up to, those Mitchell women, Ruby, Lillis, Lena, Lola and Nola. You girls all look like your Mom. Your parents did a wonderful job with you gitls and Jeff. Love from Sue

    • Thank you, Sue. It brings tears to my eyes to know how Mom affected those around her. She was just a nice person, wasn’t she?
      I’d forgotten Grandmother was the last of her family to pass away. But she was the oldest of those sisters.
      You’re right. They were both beautiful women of God. A wonderful legacy to follow.
      Thanks for the sweet words.

  7. Pingback: ♪♫ The Eyes of Texas . . . ♪♫ or Yellowstone Pt 1 | Susan Spess Shay

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