• stacymwray

A Special Tribute: Sharlyn Trine

On January 23, 2019, my mother-in-law left us on this earth to be in a place that she had talked about all her life. I started dating her son, Terry, when I was a mere 14 years old - a freshman in high school. Of course, I wasn't really allowed to date - we met up at football games, basketball games, after-game dances, etc. Even though it took Terry's mom some time to warm up to me, once she realized that I loved her son just as much as she did, she welcomed me into her fold and what meant the most to her: family.

I've never met another person who loved her kids and grandkids more than my mother-in-law. She never neglected to mention how she couldn't pick better spouses for all of her kids. She felt blessed beyond blessed for every grandchild, again, always thanking me for raising such wonderful children. But I wanted to share something my husband wrote for her Celebration of Life because it touched everyone who heard it:

Mom always called me the quiet one and I guess I am compared to my brothers and sister. If you know me, then you know sharing something personal is not something that comes easily but there's a story that Mom would tell me from time to time that keeps coming to my mind.

For those who don't know, Mom was just 16 when I was born. Her marriage to my dad was a brief one so in the beginning it was just the two of us. I can't imagine being a teen parent is easy, but I'm sure it would've been especially tough to be a 16-year-old single mom in the early 60's. So, Mom tells me when my first birthday arrived in October of 1963, she wanted to make me a birthday cake. We didn't have much but still she bundled me up and walked to a little grocery store to get a cake mix and some eggs. Now, I don't expect a cake mix and a carton of eggs to cost much in 1963 but when Mom went to pay, she didn't have enough money. She explained that it was my birthday and asked the grocer if she could pay the difference later. That man turned away a 16-year-old girl with a baby to walk home in tears empty handed. She said she told me that would never happen to me again and, as far as I know, I always had a birthday cake after that.

When I was younger, I wondered why she wanted to share such a sad story with me. I just think she never wanted me to forget where we came from. I don't know why that man would not give Mom credit but today, I want to give my mom some long, overdue credit I think she deserves.

I want to give her credit for having me in an era where all the stigma of being a single parent was heaped on the mothers while dads got a free pass. I want to give her credit for supporting us, sometimes with two jobs in the same era where opportunities and pay for women were limited. I want to give her credit for raising five kids, mostly on her own. Aside from them being my brothers and sister, Kevin, Chris, Sherry, and Jeff are literally the best people I know. We all love our dads dearly but we turned out like we did mostly because of Mom. I want to give her credit for her unwavering faith in God in a church that sometimes does not apply grace equally to all. Finally, I want to give her credit for opening her heart to anyone who needed it. You didn't have to be family to be family.

Like most modern families, Stacy, Aaron, Allison, and I often communicate through group messaging. On each of our phones is a group called FOE and it stands for FAMILY OVER EVERYTHING. Right now, there are just us four in the group but I can't help but wonder how big Mom's FOE group would've been.

If you ever loved one of Mom's brothers or sister, you were family.

If you ever loved one of her kids, you were family.

If you ever loved one of her grandkids, you were family.

Membership was unconditional and open to all.

I don't know why life was so hard on Mom. There is a line in one of my favorite songs by the Eagles that always made me think of Mom and the lyrics are this:

Now I look at the years gone by,

And wonder at the powers that be.

I don't know why fortune smiles at some

And lets the rest go free.

I just wanted to share this because I found it so emotional and heartfelt. And I wanted it written here so his tribute to his mom would be carried on in time, not just the day we said goodbye.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally, Sharlyn. You touched everyone around you, even if you didn't know it.

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