Auld Lang Syne

My mother was a faithful woman.  And in the early hours of Christmas Eve morn, she went to be with her Lord and Savior.

Yesterday was the Celebration of Life for her, and tomorrow starts a new year.  My first year without her.

My very talented sister in law put together a beautiful photo retrospective.  She included one of my favorite photos of my mom.  Still glowing with youth and full of life, it perfectly captures her joy and fiestiness and her grace…

Charlene Zeller (1935-2016)


In honor of her, I will recount the words I said at her service–mostly so those who never got a chance to know her might at least know of her.

Those gathered here today undoubtedly knew of my mother’s grace and generosity. One of the ways her love manifested itself was through giving. It was undoubtedly her Love Language, and she was fluent in it. She loved to go shopping—she considered it a quest of sorts—a quest to find the Perfect Pairing of Gift and Value. (She came from Scottish ancestry, and their renowned thriftiness was a trait she bore with pride.)

In her quest to find Just the Right Gift, my mother hunted all year. The only problem was that, once she found that Perfect Gift, she simply couldn’t bear to wait to see the expression of joy and surprise. Many times she would call me at work and tell me that I needed to stop by on my way home so she could present me with one of her finds.

Even once she started chemo, she often sweet talked my father to run her by some store or other on the way to treatment, or afterwards, so that she could pick up something special for someone. I still have the text on my phone from this past Spring when she had located something special…you see, Mom had passed on to me her love of plants, and she had found a certain plant which she knew I wanted for my garden. She was eager to surprise me with it and couldn’t wait to tell me about it. Her text said: Hint: Witch Hazel, come by and get it tonight, OK?

When I picked up the plant that evening, I was shocked to find that it barely fit in my SUV. As always, when Mom did things, she did them big.

A lot of the flowers and herbs that grace my garden were gifts from my Mom. They are a living reminder of her and, soon, when Winter gives way to Spring, I can walk among the plants and feel her near.

Once of the reasons she loved plants so much was, along with their beauty, they had purpose…they had meaning.

One of the last plants she gave me was that Witch Hazel….in ancient times, it was believed that Witch Hazel could ward off evil…and soothe a broken heart.

It seems that, even as the end drew near, Mama was searching for one last perfect gift.

Thank you, Mama.


Go mbeannai Dia dhuit.




12 thoughts on “Auld Lang Syne

  1. So sorry for your loss. My mom passed away 16 years ago, and I still miss her every day. Moms are so special and we are blessed to have them in our lives. May your sweet memories comfort you in the days ahead.


  2. I am so sorry sweetheart for your loss. I don’t have the right words for you except for you must be hurting like no other hurt.
    I only know you briefly because we chatted on a couple of your articles last year but when I saw this in my inbox just now I knew that I had to respond straight away.
    Please know that, I guess, you are loved and cared for by many in the Outlander World, but I wanted you to know that you are also loved and cared for in my World.
    Warm Blessings and Hugs
    Dawn XXX


  3. So very sorry to hear of your loss. 😦 Not that there is any “good” time to lose a loved one, but holiday time is tougher, I think. I am happy for you that you and your mother had such a special relationship. She sounds like an amazing woman. And, from what little I know, she had an amazing daughter. She will be remembered well.

    Dawn – OSS


  4. I know from painful experience that there are no words that will make you feel better. I am so sorry for your loss. Your eulogy for your mother was quite lovely. I will keep you and yours in my prayers and send you blessings of happy memories of your mother to fight off the pain.


  5. Terri, I’m so sad to see this, and so indescribably sorry for your loss. I’m praying that the God of all comfort will be near and inescapably present to you and your family in the coming weeks, months, and years–whether you’re in any mood for His nearness or not. What a beautiful gift the springtime will bring you with the renewal of all those plants which are physical manifestations of your mother’s love and generous spirit. I know from my own experience in the past year that those gifts, reminders, and memories are precious treasures whose worth and value seem to increase exponentially with every passing day.

    You might already be familiar with this hymn, but it’s a favorite of mine, and has come to mean even more to me since my father’s death. (And it was written by a Scot, no less.) Here are the lyrics, and I pray that they comfort you.

    Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

    Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see—
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

    I need Thy presence every passing hour;
    What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
    Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

    I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
    Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

    Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
    Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
    In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.


    • I am incredibly grateful that you took the time to write this, to reach out, and to bless me with your words and experience. And I am going to go find this song. It sounds lovely, and I could use a bit more lovely right now. Thank you, and bless you.


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