Over the past few days, my husband Doug, my cousin Mike and his wife Susan have all written beautiful tributes to my mom. I have the privilege of sharing my tribute at her memorial service on Friday, 3 May at 1.00 p.m. at Our Savior's Community Church in Palm Springs. I will post my thoughts after the service. For now, take a moment to see what these others had to say about the special person Rose Ann was in their lives.
From my sweet husband Doug:
A Tribute to the best Mother-in-law I will ever know!
Rose Ann Mullen died yesterday, and I'm heartbroken for my wife and for my father-in-law. I also feel the heartbreak big time! Rose Ann was a woman who has had a special way of showing me the difference between being hole-hearted and wholehearted. I'm not sure I've met a woman with a bigger heart. (I must be careful here. I'm married to her daughter, who also has a giant heart.)
We had our moments. Rose Ann used to drive me crazy talking about her golf game and how bad she would say it was. God knows, I only hope to play the game as well as she did in her prime and past her prime. Probably not gonna happen for me!
We had our moments when it came to politics.
“You're a dumb diddly” was the nice term she used. She had other expletives that can't be mentioned. Yet, I admired the fact that she sincerely stuck to her principles, even if she was sincerely wrong.
(As for the expletives, I'll let St. Peter take those matters up with her at the gates of heaven. But somehow I suspect she will hear St. Peter saying,“You couldn't be more right Rose Ann- that son-in-law of yours is a dumb #####. But remember, God loves him anyway!)
I particularly loved listening to Rose Ann reflect on the football years. She loved each team as much as Ted did. She surely would have called the games differently than Ted did, but at the end of each Friday night (win or lose) she loved Coach Moon and each player dearly.
Still, she did have some special favorites! Her favorite players of all were a boy named Bill who didn't play often, but when he played- he played his heart out. Her other favorite of the game was a Spartan mascot (a greek term meaning-one who is courageous in the face of difficulty and pain) Jodi has been, and always will be a Spartan to me, and countless others. She did everything she could do to inspire players on the field and fans in the stands way back when. And she's still doing it now. I'm a major beneficiary of her Spartan attitude.
Rose Ann and Bill are no longer with us, I'm telling you...this is a major, major loss! (I'm not talkin' football anymore!) They're gone, and no pep-talk is going to relieve the pain. Bill went to be with God six years ago, and Rose Ann went to be with God yesterday.
The hard part for us is the loss- especially for Ted and Jodi! Nobody likes to lose. Love makes it hard for all of us to lose (be it- love for a game or love for life). But love makes it especially hard for a husband and a daughter to lose someone they treasure at the core of their being.
Even in losing we need to be reminded the day after, of a love that never fails- God's love- and how it was manifested in a special way through Rose Ann. And we need to remain thankful. Why? Because God gave Rose Ann a special way showing us all the whole heart of God.
The truth is, Rose Ann didn't lose! She's with God! She's now marveling at her crown in heaven! She's seeing her son again! Both, big time winners! Another follower of Jesus named John describes this victory in the book of Revelation, and he uses a term we simply think of as a tennis shoe. Rose Ann is Nike/or Nikao- victorious in Christ! (a bit of serendipity here- not surprising a tennis shoe has a way summing up Rose Ann's life.)
For Rose Ann, she now knows the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, better than we do ourselves. She knows it so well I can almost guess at her interpretation of the Apostle Paul's words:
“I didn't give up! How could I? Even though on the outside, everything fell apart in the end, on the inside God made me new again! Not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. Don't you forget that!
Hard times? Even death? Small potatoes,when you compare them to a ribeye steak and baked potato- cooked up perfectly night after night by Jesus. There's more to life than meets the eye. (And I ain't talkin' ribeye) Lots of things in the here and now matter! (But don't be a dumb diddly.) There's so much more to life than than the here and now! There's a Nike (and I'm not talkin' tennis shoes) and I want you to be a part of it!”
-My interpretation of Rose Ann's take on this text.
Rose Ann's gone from us now. But her example, her legacy can live on:
-through people she counseled and cared for.
-through sisters and brothers in Christ who felt their heart expanding because of something Rose Ann said, or did, or didn't do.
-and through any person who has ever been impacted by her straightforward and frank- yet compassionate, and loving care.
Somehow, I suspect that everybody who knew her has a wonderful story to tell about Rose Ann. And surely these are going to be really good stories to tell. They will undoubtedly have a way of expanding our hearts, pointing us to the God she now knows in full.
So let's tell our stories.
Let's grieve our loss.
But, let's also remember to live into her legacy.
We too, can be wholehearted reflections of the love of Christ right now!
We too, can follow in her Nike/Victorious tennis shoes!
May God bless us all in the loving memory of Rose Ann Mullen, an outstanding, (and I mean a really outstanding) life coach!
Thank you Rose Ann for the many ways you've expanded my heart by revealing the whole heart of God.
Your favorite “Dumb-Diddly” son-in-law, Doug
And from my cousin Mike, my mom's oldest brother's oldest son, who shared a special bond with his Aunt Rose Ann:
My universe has a hole in it...a rather large hole.
It happens...it comes with age.
And for the most part I can accept it and move on.
But...as I said...this is a rather large hole.
A larger-than-life-itself hole that used to be filled by my aunt Rose Ann.
I was the first born in my family and therefore inherited all things that go with being the first born.
Next to my parents...no one enjoyed my arrival more than my aunt.
I don’t remember this, of course, but I couldn’t pronounce her name...
so I called her “Aunt Fo Fan”.
She, of course, always reminded me of this fact.
I didn’t mind it at all...it was part of the bond.
She was the youngest in her family...
the youngest and the only girl...
so she really didn’t have much of a choice...
she was going to be a great athlete.
Given a different time and circumstances,
she could have been a professional baseball player or golfer...
she was that good.
She accepted the Nelson mantra...
if you’re going to hit anything...
hit it as hard as you can.
That worked for baseballs...
and the occasional football player.
She was the first in the family to graduate from college.
She was the first in the family to visit Europe.
She was the first in the family to go to graduate school.
And she was the first in the family to marry a bona fide football hero.
She was the loudest voice at all of Ted’s games...his greatest cheerleader.
She wasn’t just the cheerleader for her family...
she was a cheerleader for the human race.
We need more like her...
and that’s why we miss those voices more than others.
I’ll certainly miss...”Give your Aunt Fo Fan a hug"
And from Mike's wife Susan, who has her own blog called "A Desert State of Mind"
Aunt Rose Ann passed away yesterday. She is technically Mike’s aunt, but I adopted her along with the rest of his family. As most of my own family is gone or thousands of miles away, I’ve been lucky enough to actually like my husband's family.
In this year that we’ve been living in the desert, I’ve had the pleasure of spending more time with Rose Ann. She was always up for a good joke or discussion, whether it be about politics, religion or sports. We ate, drank, laughed and argued, but always left each other with a hug and a smile. She was smart and caring and competitive and always left her mark on whatever she did. She could play just about any sport and play it well. She had great insight and whether you agreed with her or not, she could make you think. She met each challenge in life head on and even in a year filled with adversities, continually rebounded and inspired us all.
She was one of the girls and one of the guys and will be greatly missed.