Nurse, nursing instructor, chemical dependency counselor, administrator, parish nurse. These roles described, but did not define, Jean Godtland's professional life. Instead, Mom's love of people made her the person she was, in all aspects of her life.
She wanted to get to know everyone she met. Caring, rather than nosy, she would find out about the lives of the people she encountered just as naturally as others talk about the weather. This basic aspect of her character held true throughout her life, even during her difficult last seven years. She then suffered nearly continuous pain, from multiple knee replacements that became chronically infected and from many medication side effects. Her increasing dependency on others was tough to take for an independent farm girl born during the Great Depression. Yet her faith in God and her positive outlook carried her through it all.
Mom was the last person in the room to get a joke, but the first person most people wanted to talk with. Mom was one of the special few who project a welcoming, comforting presence. Mom did so with people she knew, but also with strangers. Many family gatherings included a child or grandchild's friend who was unable to be with her/his own family. Invariably these folks would later comment about how welcome our mom had made them feel. And Mom would ask about them long after their visits.
Here's to you, Mom! You helped us through difficult experiences and cheered our individual successes, all the while modeling a caring, faithful life. Your positive influences, on the people you loved and on the people you saw just a few times, will last long beyond your earthly life. May peace be with us as we celebrate Christmas, which we'll also always remember as your birthday.