“When one door closes another opens; it’s just hell in the hallway!”
My sweet mother Rayola died Jan. 26, 2013; only 77 years young. My mom had a very full life but also a painful one. She had a back fusion at 38, then later two hip replacements, two knee replacements and a shoulder replacement. I called her the million dollar woman. She struggled with alcoholism and her weight, having lost 100 pounds twice in her life.
Mother had four children – three boys and and girl (me). Then after 18 years of marriage my father left for another woman, leaving mom to raise four children. She began working as a waitress during the day and a bartender at night. When the divorce was final my mom was awarded the house and all its past due payments, not knowing my father had not paid them. We were evicted and mom put everyone’s belongings in a friend’s basement. That friend got rid of everything when mom was out of town – We lost it all. Mom forgave her friend, saying you can replace stuff, you can’t replace people. Mom, my younger brother and I moved in with her sister’s family in a two-bedroom home.
Mom was tending bar in Murray when the carnival came to town. Mom got to know some of the people and started dating one of them. We joined the carnival for about two months until the money ran out and ended up at my mom’s brother’s home in Arizona. My mom was drinking a fifth of vodka a day. My uncle told mom she could stay and not drink or leave, but he was going to keep me and my brother. Mom stopped drinking, but withdrawals and DTs almost killed her.
We moved back to Utah about eight months later. Mom’s second marriage lasted six weeks, over the next 10 years my mom married four more men, one of them my husband’s father, and yes my mom used to say, “Leesa is a great daughter but a lousy step daughter.” For a short time my husband I and were step brother and sister. She started to write a book and called it “With Seven Do I Get a Discount?”
Mom was known for her wit and humor. She had a very hard life, but she always tried to see the bright side of things. That’s where my positive attitude comes from. My mother changed her life, she found Alcoholics Anonymous, and she had 30+ years of sobriety.
My mom had her own apartment and she would say that nothing is better than a good book, a sweet tea and a peppermint in your mouth. She would often say how blessed she was.
Mom would never say no if she could help you; she made over 300 calls for the Utah Gay Chamber events.
Here are some of those truisms she would often say: “You have not truly lived until you have eaten the best food, had the best drink, had the best sex and great adventures”, “You can spread jam on peanut butter but you cannot spread peanut butter on jam”, “Do not expect anything and you will not be disappointed.”
Mom taught me a lot about life and people both good and bad. I am proud and honored to call her my best friend and my mom. I miss you.