By Julie Anderson
My mom asked that we celebrate her life. And that is easy to do because it was a life well-lived.
She had such a wonderful impact on so many people. The proof of that is by how many people put aside their aches and pains and took time off work to drive so many miles to celebrate her life.
Everyone who met my mom said the same thing. She is such a sweet lady. And she had such a beautiful smile. It didn't matter if you saw her in the grocery store or the dentist's office, if you talked with her for even a few minutes, you smiled and felt better.
My mom was a devoted daughter. She and her own mother were so close. She talked to her every day on the phone. In those days that meant stretching the phone cord as far as it would so she could sit down for what was sure to be an hour long chat.
She was a special sister; the baby of seven. As a kid she explored Minnehaha Falls and climbed billboards with Uncle Jack. In her early twenties, she explored the arts with Uncle Byron. And when their children were grown, she and my Aunt Jeanne Anne would sit with each other all day catching up on the years they had been too busy to talk.
Charlotte was a true friend. She travelled with her girlfriends from the bank she worked at as well as those from a catholic group called the Dominique Club. Lifelong friendships were formed.
In Golden Valley she made new friends with many dear neighbors and here in Alexandria she found wonderful ladies with whom she enjoyed long lunches. Believe me you were all very special to her.
She was a wonderful wife. My dad's no fool. They had just a few dates before he proposed. They were both 28 years old and the priest said, if you were younger I'd advise you to wait but at your age, what the heck. My mom loved my dad very much.
Their marriage was a precious partnership. They spent most of their time adopting and raising us kids: Brad, me and Mike. The three luckiest kids in the world. She was meant to be a mom. Always there to listen to our teenaged troubles, offering wonderful advice and boy could she cook. I really miss her pot roast and pheasant, two meals you could smell simmering as soon as you walked in the door after school.
Charlotte was thrilled to be a grandma. Tim, Danny, Josh, Lyndsey and Emily were very lucky to have her in their lives. Even when she was sick, she made sure I baked them cinnamon rolls when she couldn't.
On Mother's Day, shortly after we learned she likely had cancer, I noticed she was wearing a sweater I had given her years before. She had never worn it, saying "dear, it's too good to wear around the house." I asked her why
she was wearing it now and she told me it was my arms wrapped around her to keep her warm.
We are here to celebrate her life. A life spent keeping us all warm with her hugs, her kind words and her beautiful smile.
Rest in peace mom.
*To read more on "The Sweater" go to Stories to Inspire