Remembering 3 special women this Mother’s Day

“A mother understands what a child does not say.” — Jewish proverb

This weekend, the focus should be on all the mothers out there.

And well it should, for they are a special breed whose love never seems to be in short supply to their children.

For many, it will be a special and happy time. For others, it might be a weekend with sadness mixed in, as well.

This will be the first Mother’s Day for me without a mother to call and wish her a special day. I believe it is going to be strange come Sunday without making that call.

It also is going to be a time of reflection and remembrance for me this weekend — not only about my own mother, but also about two other women — the epitome of wonderful ladies — who passed away this past week.

Those two ladies — Janet Mendler and Wilma Kirschner — were inspirational not only to me, but to whole groups of others who looked to them for their compassion, wisdom, and understanding. They graced me with their friendship and their insight, and I believe I am a better man as a result of knowing each of them.

Wilma loved the Lord and her knowledge of the Bible encouraged many others to strive to “be like her.” From a teacher’s perspective, I enjoyed having her in my classes, as she would offer insights into passages that helped to explain them and make them easier to understand for others.

She had a scholar’s mind and a servant’s heart — two qualities that will be sorely missed at Word of Life Baptist Church, where she attended. Today at her funeral service, Wilma’s life will be celebrated, and I will join with others in that celebration, just as she would have wanted her friends to do.

Still, when someone that special is taken away, those left behind are left with holes that now need filled.

So it is, as well, with Janet, a woman who, while she never had children, was “mother” to hundreds of journalism scholarship recipients in Michigan over the years.

I have met few who were as organized as Janet. She knew where every one of those scholarship recipients went on to work, how their careers were going, and what big story they had just reported on.

Janet and I would cross paths often in our work and mutual journalism organizations we were a part of. We developed a friendship, and she always was particularly pleased to discuss my oldest son, Jeremy, whose college years and then professional career she kept close tabs on. If ever there was a person whose veins bled black ink instead of red blood, it was Janet’s. And, as a person who loved history, she also loved to see someone like my son follow in his parents’ footsteps through journalism. She never grew tired of talking about the next generation of journalists.

So, while this weekend I might experience a tear or two amidst the smiles from the memories of these special women, I am fortunate to have enjoyed one as my mother and two others as special people in my life.

My hope is that each of you also have had inspirational women in your lives to celebrate, as well.


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