She was in the church choir nearly all of her life, starting at age six in the children’s choir, and all of her adult life, until dementia stole her ability to concentrate.
She brought us to every choir practice, Lenten dinner, fall soup suppers. Mom became a church elder as soon as women were allowed to do so. She helped with nursery duty, the food pantry, Sunday school and fixing dinners for various events. She loved the community that had nurtured her parents and grandparents and great-grandparents.
She also served Jesus and her community through her career as a nurse. She worked many years as a nurse practitioner at the local Planned Parenthood office.
She did cancer screenings, gave women accurate science-based information regarding sexual activity and family planning, and listened! to women who had no other place to discuss their fears and dreams for the future. As she listened to women lacking in financial security, or personal safety in relationships, or damaged senses of self-confidence, she kept in mind the overall message of the Gospel, that Jesus’s gift of grace frees us from the unachievable goal of gaining heaven through our own works. Imperfect people caught up in imperfect lives still receive love and forgiveness from Jesus. She loved being able to offer this grace to women seeking control of the reproductive aspects of their lives.
The last part of her nursing career was spent working for a doctor who did in-vitro fertilization. She made babies. She loved this approach to reproductive freedom as well. She loved sharing the joy of bringing a healthy baby into the lives of these families who wanted with all their hearts to be parents. Every time I came home from college, I would find pictures of my new “sisters or brothers” on our mantel. To this day, my parents receive Christmas cards from this “side” of the family, and several of these people attended her funeral.
From the joy of helping parents through infertility problems, to being a calming, non-judgmental source of information to women overwhelmed by circumstances or bad choices, my mother touched many lives outside of her immediate family.
Rest in peace, Mom, job well done!
Laura Twing lives in Cedar county, with her husband and various animal companions.