ForeverMissed
Stories

From Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shared by Jason Lanier on March 1, 2011

All who knew Kathy, Mom, described her as tireless. Whether it her social work, physical labor or just being a mother her inexhaustible drive to help, is without question.

When reflecting on my childhood that description “Tireless” is ever so pertinent. Those of you who didn't know or don't remember, I was a trying child. You see, at a very early age I became aware of my rights …

the right to say no

the right to refuse without comment

the right to refuse with comment

the right to say "I don't care"

and most importantly the right to argue non-disputed subjects.

I was not going to do anything until I had a full deposition on exactly how the request, or reply, or non-disputed subject reconciled with my rights.

A typical exchange might start with me asking Mom a question such as: “What's for dinner?”

Mom replied:   “We're having spaghetti“

My retort: “I don't have to eat spaghetti”

Mom calmly responded: “Your right you don't, but that's what's for dinner.”

As an adolescent absolutist I proclaimed my rights countless time. Typical decrees included:

“I don't have to pick up my clothes”

“I don't have to wear boots in the winter”

“I don't have to go to sleep now”

“I don't have to, take a shower, brush my teeth, wear shoes, do my homework, get my hair cut ….

And each time, Mom allowed me..helped me to realize why I should do something even if I didn't have to do that something.

Doing things because you should not because you're required, is how Mom lived. This simple juxtaposition, should do vs. have to do, was the underpinning of my mother tireless efforts. You should do that which is helpful.

This "should do" drive didn't stop with family members. Mom's friends knew best not to mention a yet to be completed project within earshot, lest you were prepared to complete said project. You see, to Mom, unfinished tasks hung like an albatross around the neck of ones conscience.  And mentioning a chore in front of my mom was no different then asking her out right for help.  You concluded you should do the project now just do it...completed the task, free your consciences. And Mom was always there to lean on....to help bear the load...to motivate by doing. 

Professionally, Mom was just as tireless. In Mom's mind her “clients” were not anonymous problems with case numbers but rather people with names.  People who needed help...help unburdening their consciences so they could feel the freedom of less worry.  Day after day, year after year, 24-7,365, Mom was on call.  And when the government systems bogged down, Mom, just did it herself.  It was the clients-the individuals who needed her time and help, not the agencies.  Although she officially retired fifteen years ago she still remained active in many of her clients' lives.

This leads me to ask; what drives a person to tirelessly, inexhaustibly volunteer everyday for these labors ... to help strangers, family, friends...

to help her ridiculously stubborn son to gain new perspective ...

to help friends paint their house or move to a new home or organize a garage, basement or attic...

to help a returning soldier navigate government bureaucracy to receive the medical assistance he needed...

to help the grandson of a client from 30 years ago get into college...

to help a homeless man find an apartment, reestablish his identity and start rebuilding his life...

or year after year restock a freezer with homemade casseroles, cookies, and of course, spaghetti sauce...so her son and his wife wouldn't be burdened with making dinner for her grandchildren... Let me restate that..she replenished with homemade casseroles, cookies, and spaghetti sauce...replenished with love.

For her, Mom was doing what should be done, lessening our physical, mental and intangible loads.

Mom was; alturism, amity, charity, compassion, empathy, generosity, goodness, heart, kindness, mercy, sympathy..love...mom was humanity.

And in the grand notion of humanity, the pay it forward, geometric progression, the cascading-light notion of humanity, where one kind action leads to a dozen more equally kind actions...that cascading-light grew a little less bright two Sundays ago.

 

Shared by Mary Stuhler (Donegan) on February 15, 2011

I, too have fond memories of Kathy while my son was attending Fairmount Children's Center in the mid 80's. I remember one of the last times I spoke to her regarding my older son. I needed to talk to someone, so I called Kathy and asked if she could meet me after work. I worked at Syracuse University at the time so we met at the Burger King across the street around 5pm. I needed to speak to her regarding my teenage son. This visit was on Kathy's own, private time. But she took the time to talk to me because I needed someone to talk to. I remember her saying to me regarding my son, "He will be okay Mary. He has your values and morals." She was right. This son will retire from the Army in 4 years as an E9.

I will never forget you Kathy Lanier. You have touched my heart more than you will ever know. Thank you for the memories. God Bless, Mary Stuhler (Donegan)

Frogging

Shared by Rebecca Raymond on February 14, 2011

Kathy and judy visited us several times while I was recovering from a fractured femur.   One Saturday I was lamenting about a lack of frogs in our small pond.  I wanted to go froggin' on my crutches but that was not allowed.  So Kathy said she would go frogging with Barbara amd Judy would keep me company.  Kathy was always up for anything!  Had she been to catch frogs before?  No!  But how hard could it be?

Kathy and barbara headed to the swamp with two nets, a garbage bag and big boots.  When they arrived at the swamp the two women waded out into the water and stared quietly for frog heads to pop up from the water.  Barbara explained that one needed to be very fast and that going under the frog usually worked best.

Kathy was determined and headed to a deeper location where she had seen several frogs.  The muck on the bottom was thick and liked to keep one from pulling their foot up.  But nothing stopped Kathy!

Barbara had made several grand attempts with no success.  Kathy now had a frog in her net and was clutching it to her chest.  Barbara quickly got the bag and Kathy grabbed the frog and dropped it into the bag.  She headed right out again as the swamp water began leaking into her boot.

Next thing Kathy knew she was sitting in the swamp with her arms in the air laughing. Barbara went to help but Kathy stood right up.  Now both women were laughing. Kathy was wet and smelled of swamp. The giggling continued as Kathy caught two more frogs.  Barbara caught no frogs but she told Judy and I the story which is and always will be one of my favorites.

We are missing you so much Kathy Lanier!

Love and Hugs,   Rebecca and Barbara

 

Shared by Gloria Fletcher on February 13, 2011

In the mid 80's my son was a student at Fairmont Children's Center.  Kathy was one of the people that worked with him and also my family.  We had many a cry during the 1 1/2 years he was there.  I will never forget what a wonderful caring person she was.  I was never made to feel like a "client", it was much more personal than that.  I found myself being comforted and knew that things would somehow be okay.

Perhaps things would have worked out for the best without her help but I am not sure they would have turned around as well without her.  I am proud to have called her a friend and my son and I are better people today because of her understanding and because of the way she treated others.  Lorene and Jason thank you for sharing your mom with so many others.  She is a bright star in the heavens that will always be looking down on you and yours.

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