Note from Publisher: We are publishing a column written by Tim Beeland, publisher of the Scott County Times. His mother, Newton’s Rachel Beeland, passed away last week. Because of her impact on the community, we would like to share farewell to his mother.
We first met on January 25, 1961 and it was love at first sight. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and we both knew our bond would last a lifetime on the day I was born. She was my mom. She died Sunday after a nearly month-long battle with something no one gets, Cryptococcal Meningitis. It was simply more than her 83-year-old body could handle.
She and my 86-year-old dad spent their 65th wedding anniversary on the sixth floor of St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson on September 10, and we had literally spent a day or two on every floor there until her death at 10:55 Sunday morning in the fourth floor CCU.
September was a hard month.
As a child I was hard on my mom too. I’m not sure how she survived just me, much less my two brothers. I can’t remember how many times during my childhood that she threw her hands into the air and reminded me that I was the one that was going to make her have a nervous breakdown. That never happened, but I assure you it wasn’t because I didn’t do my part. I, alone, am proof positive my momma was a very strong woman.
She was a fashionable woman too. In the sixties and early seventies she was known for her beehive hair doos and that spooky look at bedtime when she had that doo wrapped tightly in toilet paper, determined it would hold its shape after a long nights sleep. I suppose it did, too. Seems to me every morning it was towering above her as she sipped coffee in her smock-like snap dress.
She was a multi-talented lady as well. She was a wonderful seamstress and often made her own clothes and did work for others too. She also went through a stage as an artist. She did some tole painting and decoupaged just about everything that could be decoupaged.
She made wooden purses, and plaques made out of dollar bills, and even shellacked pictures of my brothers and me to a blue board with little gold frames around us. Once she even decided to be a jewelry maker and could be seen sporting big gaudy rings and broaches to church on Sunday mornings.
She had a favorite pew at the First Baptist Church of Newton and loved her Sunday School class and Bro. Randy like she did her own family. She was one of the ladies that prepared the meals for grieving families after they laid their loved ones to rest. Some of those same ladies will be taking care of us this afternoon.
Mom was real good at taking care of others and she was an extremely talented cook. Our family home is located next door to Newton High School and in our school days the scent of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove would waft through the gym parking lot, and our classmates were envious that they weren’t on the list for dinner each night.
But of all mom’s many talents I think she was best at loving. She loved my brothers and me with all her heart and she loved my father even more than that. We were all worn out after spending that much time in the hospital but dad, at 86, never wavered. He was scared, worried, and facing life without the love of his life. That took a tremendous toll on him.
For me watching him say goodbye to her in that hospital bed was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Seeing him at home in the living room Sunday afternoon and the rest of this week has been almost equally as hard.
We buried her this morning and this afternoon we began the process of moving on in life without her. We will all be fine. Dad will be fine. In the end we may no longer have Ora Rachel Hudson Beeland on earth with us, but we know where she is and that we will see her again one day.
As for now, we will cherish the memories.