Eternally Grateful Journal


As I was driving to my hometown of Kilgore, Texas to help make funeral arrangements for our Mother’s funeral, a sense of calm came over me. I don’t know if it was because I knew what to expect since this was our third funeral to plan. Can this process possibly get easier? It seemed so absurd. This was the matriarch of our family so shouldn’t it be the hardest thing we have ever done?

What I then realized was that our Mom prepared us for this moment our whole entire lives. There wasn’t a day that we didn’t feel loved. She would sing praises of our accomplishments every moment that she could and those of the entire family, all nine of us.  I think it created a bank of strength on which to draw on in these times of grief. While some families tend to break apart when they lose their parents, it brought ours closer together.

This is the first time that I have had to grieve “out loud.” It is strange having a blog that you have to feed every day in order to call it a success. How in the world am I supposed to write when I would just rather have a good cry!

Since I am a busy mother of 3, I was going to pencil in some time that I could let myself fall apart; between the football game and the Girl Scout meeting was on my agenda last Friday.

This weekend I came up with a new and better plan. I am naturally a positive person, glass half full but with whipped crème and some chocolate sprinkles on top! I decided to start an “Eternally Grateful Journal” so I can write about all the wonderful things that I am grateful for on a daily basis.

Nothing will replace having our Mom in our lives but this is my way of grieving that would make our Mom proud. Despite her own tragedies, she was the ultimate optimist who had total faith in God’s plan for her life.

Today, I am grateful for my hometown of Kilgore, Texas.

Our Daddy picked this town to start his medical practice.  He could have very easily stayed in his hometown of Fort Worth and be near his father who was a neurosurgeon; but he was drawn to the people he had met in Kilgore.

Our parents would eventually raise all of their nine children among the tall pine trees and even taller oil derricks.

We grew up in this small town with a population of a little over 12,000.  A place that was heavily reliant on the booms and busts of the oil industry. It is in the hard times that evoke a sense of community and resilience.

When the oil business was down, so was our parent’s medical practice. I heard so many stories at our Dad’s funeral about someone never receiving a bill because our Mom knew that their parents were out of work and couldn’t afford the office visit. She always thought someone else’s needs were greater than ours.

Mom would later tell me that all the patients that she didn’t charge at their time of unemployment would eventually pay them back and usually with a little extra for interest or a homemade pie!

We grew up in an era where we would simply play from house to house. Every mother had an understanding that they could discipline each other’s children. It usually wasn’t necessary because we all had a mutual respect for one another’s parents. Looking back, we probably had about four or five sets of parents growing up.

Last week, as word spread about our mother’s passing, we were immediately surrounded by love and support.

And as we gathered together to say our goodbyes to our sweet mother, I renewed those feelings of belonging and sense of community in my hometown. I heard so many stories of our growing up together and how much our mother was a part of their fond memories.

After being away from Kilgore for over 25 years, it still feels like home.

And for this, I am eternally grateful.

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  1. Angie Ritenour says:

    I am eternally grateful that I grew up in Kilgore and met you…. a wonderful, sweet, funny girl who grew up into an amazing woman!


    laura hey darlin iam sorry you loss sure wish i had known her but by the way you desrib her. i feel like i did after reading your blog she sounds like my mother as people whom i never knew . knew me through my mom or dad . seems like she knew everyone in town lol . after reading your blog iam thinking publisher after you write a few more stories . agin iam so sorry i love you my friend!

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