Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Mimi

Right after Christmas we lost our dear Mimi, my maternal grandmother.

Everything that I would want to say about my Mimi was summed up so perfectly by my mother in the eulogy she read during Mimi's funeral services. Mom was so strong and kept it together to get through reading all of our favorite thoughts and memories of this spectacular woman we called "Mimi."

Here is my mom's eulogy...
Who best to describe a mother but the women in her life? So I decided that it needed to be me to eulogize her. My mother was quite the lady. Prim and proper from head to toe. And sitting on her bookshelf, the guide to proper behavior “Miss Manners” and Amy Vanderbilt’s “Complete Book of Etiquette”. So it is no wonder that she was intent on passing her important details to me and my daughters.
Never wear white before May. And for her, never wear white at all because it’s blah!!.
Never forget to write thank you notes in a timely manner and be specific about the gift.
Silver set polished once a month.
Set your table correctly with the right silverware and the right glassware in the correct order and don’t forget matching tablecloth and napkins. I inherited no less than 75 tablecloths from her. Every color, every size table.
Always wear a necklace and make sure it matches your earrings. And what about a slip? I think we failed at that one!
Never go without lipstick.
Never wear flats with a dress or skirt.
Add color whenever possible which is always.
Never go without hose. I think we failed at that one too!
Give at least one surprise gift at Christmas.
Be at least 15 minutes early to an event or meeting. Otherwise you are LATE!
Give more than you get and forgive before asked.
My husband thinks I overdress for most occasions. Well, I came by it naturally. And I tend to go overboard on color. Again an inherited trait. And if I’m not 15 minutes early, then I must be late!
She had many acquaintances and a few good friends. She spent most of her time caring for her home and my father. Doting over my brother and I and my girls. And oh, how she would have truly loved playing with her 8 great-grandchildren, but she was not physically able.
She suffered for many years from a disease that has always been a mystery to us. She spent the first few years of her decline searching for answers but the diagnosis was never discovered.
My greatest regret is that after her decline she was never able to have a conversation when I had questions about how to plan a wedding, what accessories to wear, what color to paint the walls in my home, when to quit griping and just let things be, and when to challenge an injustice.
Although she never boasted , money was no object to her when it came to her granddaughters. I remember once, I was so proud of myself because I had learned to use a sewing machine and had spent hours making a few clothes for my girls. And in she walks with boxes of new clothes she had bought for them at a favorite shop in Del Rio where she and my father had a lake house. I wanted to shoot her because of course the girls loved the clothes she bought much more than the ones I had slaved over!
She never wanted to miss the girl’s eyes when they saw what Santa had brought them. So when the girls awoke on Christmas day, which was usually in the wee hours of the morning, she wanted to be called immediately and in less than an hour she and my Dad arrived at our home, coffee in hand, and the frenzy began with wrapping paper flying everywhere.
Her greatest achievement had to be the hospice she founded. Her mother died in 1989 under hospice care in Odessa. She called me one day shortly after that experience and said, “We don’t have access to hospice care in Hobbs, don’t you think we need to do something about that? I could be the volunteer coordinator and fundraiser and you could handle the business side.” We were both too na├»ve to think that we needed a medical background to start a hospice. And that’s where it all began. We spent hours in her upstairs office working out the details and learning everything we could about hospice care. She recruited a much coveted board of directors committed to making her dream come true. They could raise money like nobody could. The hospice thrived and in 1991 she was awarded citizen of the year by the Hobbs Jaycees.
My father died in 2007, and shortly after that I moved her to a wonderful nursing home that just happened to be 2 minutes from my home in North Texas. By this time, she had very few words, mainly “yes” or “no.” She loved to watch movies so I bought her a complete series of “I Love Lucy,” one of her favorite TV shows. One day a nurse at the facility stopped me in the hall and said, “Say, rumor has it that your mother is related to Lucille Ball”. I said of course not, but I knew what had happened. The nurses had noticed that all she watched were I Love Lucy episodes and when they asked her if she was related or something, she must have said “YES!” A little gentleman in a wheelchair made friends with her in the nursing home and came to see her twice a day for three years. He could make her smile when no one else could.
My girls, the “Three M’s” as mother called them, have memories they wanted me to share.

From Mandy:
Her crazy driving
Her bright beautiful clothes and jewelry
She remembers spending hours in her bathroom putting on makeup and jewelry
Her coke machine full of Tab
How beautiful her house was at Christmas
The dolls she bought for them
Their shopping trips where she would practically close down the store for them
How she loved to read
Her library of classic books
Easter egg hunts
How good she always smelled
Her cards and letters to me over the years
I feel blessed to have inherited some of her traits

From Missy:
She was always in bright colors and bold jewelry. My sisters and I used to love going into her massive closet to look through her clothes and high heels and try on all of her jewelry. She was always in style. Her home reflected her personality, vibrantly decorated to a T, not a white wall to be seen. She used to let me drive her Cadillac when I was way too young to be driving. I specifically remember driving through the Dunlap’s parking lot cracking up. She’d be in the passenger seat just giggling. She wanted the best of the best from cozy towels and sheets to feeding whole boiled chickens to their dog Wrinkles. Everything was slightly bigger than life and over the top with Mimi. Like the player piano she bought, the staircase banister had to be removed and a lift was used to get it upstairs to the loft area. The piano was always playing during parties they would host at their home. And the life size Easter Bunny that graced her front yard on Easter. She was very mannerly…maybe that’s why we thought she was so funny when an occasional bad word would come from her. She had a mischievous spirit at times which I loved …she’d wink at me and twitch her nose. I knew a surprise was coming. When we’d come home from college, she’d hold our hands as we were leaving and just squeeze. I remember her squeezing Clark’s hand at one time and he joked with her about her grip and she just laughed with this light in her eyes. You just knew you were loved by the look in her eyes. Everything was “FANNNNNtastic,” “WONDERFUL” or “FABULOUS” to Mimi.
I remember the time I called 911 from her house over and over, the police went to Papa’s office and I remember locking myself in their guest bathroom as Mimi tried to coax me out and to tell the truth. Each of my sisters and my mother are blessed to have inherited some of Mimi’s amazing traits.

From Michelle:
My Mimi rocked the 80’s and 90’s. Her home reflected her personality, always welcoming and vibrant with pictures of family everywhere. I specifically remember a picture of myself and my sisters in FAB jumpers with HUGE hair that Mimi had professionally taken which was then blown up to fit an entire wall in her dining room with a very ornate frame. Everything was slightly bigger than life and over the top with Mimi but she did everything in style. Like the life size automated Santa that sat on their front porch each Christmas waving at light lookers in the neighborhood. My favorite memory of Mimi is that I would lie down in the pew at Church and put my head in her lap and rub my fingers over her smooth manicured nails. They were always so pretty. Also when she took us to the Galleria in Dallas, just the girls, and gave us ice skating lessons

And from her sister Rheta:
Wilma was always the “big sister” that made sure that I was properly dressed when I was in High School. She had a good job at the Model Shoppe in Odessa and would bring me home the latest in fashion. I always looked up to her. She was special to my two boys as she always brought them special surprises when she came to visit. I was the youngest child and the “brat” of the family. Wilma was very popular in school and always had lots of boyfriends. Mother used to make Wilma take me with her when she had coke dates. I’m sure she loved that! I always reported to Daddy when a boy kissed her goodnight. After I became an adult our relationship became much closer and we enjoyed many shopping trips together.

As you can see there is a central theme. Colorful, graceful and loved her family more than life itself.

This is one of my gorgeous.
Mimi and my Papa

Mimi, Papa, my mother and Uncle Mark

Mom and Uncle Mark
On Mom's wedding day...
Uncle Mark
Christmas time
My sisters and I...I'm the youngest with the akward look on my face :)

Mimi as Grand Marshall of a parade and Citizen of the Year
My parents and Mimi and Papa

My sister Missy and Mimi
Addison with Mimi
Reagan and Mimi
Baylee and Mimi
Me and Mimi
This is Mimi's obituary...
Wilma Dale (Roberts) Slater long time resident of Hobbs, NM and founder of Hospice of Lea County (now Vista Care Family Hospice) was born October 26, 1932 in Coleman County, Texas. She died on December 28, 2010 in Gunter, Texas at the age of 78. Services will be held on January 3, 2011 at First United Methodist Church, 200 E. Snyder, Hobbs, NM. under the direction of Chapel of Hope Funeral Home and officiated by Hospice Chaplain Elio Barrios. Viewing will be held from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday, January 2. 2011.

Wilma attended Odessa High School, Odessa Junior College, and Sul Ross University where she met Charles Arthur Slater. They were married in Odessa, TX in 1952. They were married 58 years. Before moving to Hobbs in 1958, she modeled for a prominent dress store in Odessa, TX. She also worked for Hughes Tool Company and Don Hallum, Atty. She was a member of First United Methodist Church, Hobbs, NM. followed by First United Methodist Church, Sherman, TX.

She raised two children, Mark Wayne Slater who died in 1985 and Brenda Karyl (Slater) Chambers.

In 1990, she started the first hospice in Southeast New Mexico which provided end of life care for residents of Lea and Eddy County New Mexico; Gaines and Yoakum County, Texas. She was awarded the 1991-92 “Citizen of the Year” by the Hobbs Jaycees for her work in End of Life Care.

She is survived by her daughter Brenda Slater Chambers and son-in-law Steve Chambers of Gunter, TX; three granddaughters Amanda Rose (Chambers) Payne and husband Rev. Tim Payne of McKinney, TX; Melissa Renee (Chambers) Miller and husband Clark of McKinney, TX; and Michelle Ann (Chambers) Huse and husband Brent of Hewitt, TX.

She had 8 great grandchildren; Luke Payne, CJ Miller, Mark Miller, Peyton Miller, Mackenzie Miller, Addison Huse, Baylee Huse, and Reagan Huse.
She is also survived by a sister Rheta Duncan of Odessa, TX; a brother Don Roberts of Bixby, OK; and two nephews Michael and Jason Duncan.
She was preceded in death by her parents Vernon and Opal Roberts, her husband C. A. Slater, and her son Mark Slater.

The family wishes to express their deep appreciation for the special attention and care given to Mrs. Slater by the team of professionals at Hilltop Haven Care Center, Home Hospice of Grayson County and the personal attendants from Home Instead Senior Care.

On our way home from the funeral on Monday, I told Brent that I hope I can make some sort of impact during my lifetime and leave a legacy behind like my Mimi did with Hospice. She will forever be missed and one day I hope I can do something that would really make her proud.
Thank you to everyone that came to the viewing or the funeral to see Mimi one last time. It meant so much to our family to see you there.

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