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Memories Of Momma

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Carolyn Fern Teel Pole

July 15, 1938 ~January 07, 2000

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Eleven months, three days.....

After the word "leukemia" has been spoken aloud, that amount of time can seem like an eternity.....or a fleeting moment.

An eternity of long, endless days of hospitals, treatment, pain...of the flames of hope springing up with each new treatment, only to be snuffed out again...and again...and again.

Yet, how quickly the time goes from those first moments of denial that anything could take your mother away from you......until she is gone.

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Dear Mom;

I sit here tonight listening to the rain beat against the window panes, the smell of sawdust lingering heavily on the air outside.  This is the place we grew up together in:  the place we have called home no matter where we have lived or what we have been doing.  We always came home for the special events and occasions.

We brought you home yesterday for the final time and now you sleep the eternal sleep with Daddy, Grandpa, Ma and Pa, and Toni.  And one day, I will come there to sleep with you, as well.

We always believed we would have the time to say everything needed to be said: to see all that we wanted to see, and life would go on.  I didn't realize how truly short our length of time would be together.  I'm really glad I got to tell you how much you have meant to me throughout my life.  I hope you know how proud I have always been to be your child: your blue-eyed baby.  Funny, every time I called you I would always say "it's your blue-eyed baby checking in" and you would laugh knowing I am your only blue eyed child.  It was something only you and I could share because the other kids have brown eyes.

Mom, you've always been my Mother, but you were always more than just my Mom. You have been my best friend since I have been old enough to appreciate your wisdom and the love you had for each one of us kids.  We didn't always see eye-to-eye, and we didn't always understand each other, but I knew I could count on you to guide me when life became more complicated than I could comprehend. Your passing has left a void no one else can ever fill.  I've started to phone you a dozen times these past days only to realize you are no longer just a phone call away.  That's my reality these days and I can't begin to tell you how I miss those daily calls we shared.  And no matter how badly you were feeling, we always found something to laugh about rather than dwelling on the sadness we were both feeling.

It has been a difficult year for us as a family.  Anyone of us would have gladly taken your pain for our own to spare you the suffering, the fear, and the dread of what was surely to come to pass.  I know you are happier now; no longer fighting the dread disease which took you from us.

I miss you so much it is sometimes difficult to breathe. I'm writing this just so you will know, I love you, Mama, and forever you will be my best friend. And I will always be that blue-eyed baby full of wonder and questions who nearly drove you to distraction at times. And when you see Daddy up there in your new home, tell him I love and miss him and Grandpa and Ma and Pa, too. And when you see Toni, give her a hug for me, as well.

It's time to close this, Mom.  I know you have important business to tend to now: visiting with eveyone who has gone before. Be happy up there and know we're all going to be ok with time and tenderness.

I love you, Mom.

"Your Blue Eyed Baby"

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Our mother was born in Clebit , Oklahoma. Her grandmother was an original enrollee in the Choctaw Nation at the close of the Dawes Rolls in 1906.

Mom's great-grandfather, Robert S. Frazier (1843-1909) was among the Choctaws who "walked The Trail of Tears" from Mississippi to Indian Territory, Oklahoma during the Indian Removal of 1831-1833. 

Robert and Nacississ Frazier's daughter, Emmaline married Jesse Harrison Teel and lived around Spencerville, Oklahoma.  Emmaline was 1/2 Choctaw.  Emmaline and Jesse were Mom's father's parents.

Mom was 7 when she moved with grandma and grandpa to Riddle, Oregon. 

Her kids are, from oldest to youngest, Vickie, Me(Jan), Lynn, Ava, and Randy. We had a baby sister, Toni Michelle, who passed as an infant in 1961.

Mom was proud of our heritage , and wanted her children to be just as proud of it...

Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

We are proud, mama. We're proud to have descended from this peaceful nation. We are proud of the Tribal values. Most of all....we have always been, and always will be, so proud of You.

A Mother's Walk

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked. And the guide said: "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning." But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come." And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there."

So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you." And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength."

And the next day came strange clouds, which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: "Look up. Lift your eyes to the light." And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said: "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them."

And the children said, " You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates." And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: "We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence."

Your Mother is always with you. She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks, she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well. Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she's crystallized in every teardrop. She's the place you came from, your first home; And she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space ... not even death!

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Native American Version of the Twenty-Third Psalm

Father, guardian of earth and the heavens-
Along with all things, I am your creation.
You are the tree of life, I am the branch-
Flowering, thankful and contented.  

The marvels, the natural elements you have made-
I am in wonder and reverence about them.
Through your love and guidance,
You give me a precious vine to hold onto.
It is the thread of life to follow.
It leads me satisfied among the
Fragrant meadows and calm waters.
It is you who has provided
The fruits of life and I am happy.

You provide my sustenance, nourishment
From the land, the waters, and the air.
I am blessed. I give thanks for all.
I am satisfied-my bowl is plenty.

You are the Spirit at our center.

With you I am strong, my heart good.
Sometimes it is not easy, this life's road.
Sometimes I fall, tested. You give me
Strength and direction to carry on-
To pursue a path of goodness
And to care for others.  

Life is but a part of the cycle-
A beginning. As with all things in time,
I know I must leave behind this
Earthly life-entering another journey
That I shall travel with no fear-for
You are with me-now, then and forever.

Bad times come with the good, but good will prevail.
I speak from the heart. I have done my best
To follow the good path, ready for the next journey.
I am prepared. It is then, in the great heavenly lodge
Rejoining my relatives, with pride in a life liven,
That I will humbly present myself Spirit Father-
In heaven, as on earth-forever.
........Author Unknown

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The following prayer was a part of our Mother's Memorial Service

Native American Prayer
O'Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the winds, And whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me!  I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy--myself.  Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.  So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
..............Author Unknown

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Your free to complete your journey now, Mama. Without shame, and with much pride, You can go rest high on that mountain

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