Seventeen years

February 23, 2010 | My Jottings

I have now lived seventeen years without a mama. My mother, Virginia Sooter, died on February 23, 1993.

I’ve tried to write about her on this blog several times, only to set my attempts aside for another time. Writing about my mom opens up things in my memory that could come out as thousands and thousands of words. I never quite know where to start in telling people about my beloved mom. I will share about her more in-depth in the near future, but for today, I want to write a few words and phrases that described her.

Beautiful. Warm. Musically gifted. Generous. Worry-wart. Plump. Melancholic. Humble. Loving. Witty. Creative. Sensitive. Self-conscious. Hardworking.

She was a good sport and could laugh at herself. She could listen to a song once, move to her Hammond B-3 organ and play it perfectly, in any key. She had over a hundred friends, making them all feel like they were her best friend. And she probably didn’t know she did this. She had a hearty laugh. She was really tall, and had very long legs and a short torso. She had long, slender fingers. She loved to cook and feed people too much food. She was almost crazy with love for her grandchildren. She was easily wounded. She could paint. She loved crafts. She wore a size 11 1/2 AA shoe. She made up a yummy peanut butter and chocolate frosting recipe our whole family still loves to this day. She was lonely, in spite of being so loved. She could hear a song on the radio and identify in which key it was being played. She believed in Jesus. She cried easily. She had two sons and one daughter. She loved to watch cooking shows. She had macular degeneration of the retina. She was very neat. She loved to play Spite and Malice. She died too soon. She would be out of this world in love with my sons-in-law and grandchildren, and would be so proud of my three wonderful daughters.

Typing this is making me sob right now, so I’ll share more another time.

Here is a photo of my mama and me, when I was about 4 1/2 years old. It was taken in my grandparents’ home in Southern California. My mom wasn’t much of a reader when I was little, but she read to me. I can tell she was laughing in this photo as the amazing world of books and words was opening up to me. She was holding a paper cup from In-n-out Burgers, where our family ate at least once a month.

She loved me and told me over and over that she was so happy to have a daughter. I was her youngest child.

I have lived seventeen years without a mama. I know where she is. She is no longer blind, no longer lonely or melancholy, and she probably knows more about my life than I can imagine.

Now I am doing for my grandchildren what she did for me in this photo.

I have so much to say to her when I see her again.

I love you Mom.


  1. Tauni says:

    Dear Jules ~ thank you so very much for sharing about your mom. I had not remembered the date, or that it has been so long. My heart hurts for the pain of your earthly loss, but I am joyful that you will be able to “see” her again! I too have so many memories of your mom. I remember her looking the way she does in that photo. You and I had just met at that time! Your mother had a way of making me feel so comfortable in your home. She was as you have described and much more. I became teary eyed even as I read. Some of my most vivid memories of your mom, was in the summer months when all the windows and doors were open cuz we did not have central air conditioning and hearing her play her organ in the afternoon hours. My parents loved hearing her play too! I remember you and I crowded around her in the “dining room” where the organ was (man that thing seemed huge!) and asking her to play all kinds of songs and we would sing along, as would she when we did not remember the words. I remember popcorn balls, fun bingo games she would organize for you and your friends, and food, yes I remember your mother’s cooking! She would make some pretty special things. I remember your mom being very patient with us too. I don’t know if I ever heard her yell except to call our names from the back of the house. I am grateful I was able to see her again before she passed away. I know your mother would be so proud of the woman, mother and grandmother you have become. She would be blessed to know how many lives you have touched in the years you have been on this earth. And I can hear her say now with that beautiful smile of hers, “I love you too, Julie.”

  2. Just Julie says:

    Oh, Tauni. Now I’m sobbing again. Thank you for remembering all these things, and for writing them here. I love you.

  3. Sue Raimo says:

    Thank you for sharing just a glimpse of the woman who helped make you who you are. As I was reading your description of your mother, much(if not most) of it would be how I would describe you. So not only does she live on in heaven, through her daughter she lives on here on earth.

    My sincere sympathy to you as you remember this day.

    Love, Sue

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for your wonderful words, Sue.

  5. Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. I love hearing about the people and experiences that have shaped you.

    My heart aches for you as I read this because I am so very close to my own mom and I wish yours was still here with you. What a joy though for you to know that she is sitting with Jesus and will some day wrap her arms around you again.

    Thank you for sharing this anniversary with us.

  6. Christy says:

    I am amazed that the older I get, the more understanding I have of my parents. The older I get, the more I see their reasons for the rules, the disciplines, and the traditions that were a part of our home. The older I get, the more I love and respect them. It is commonly said that you don’t really understand your parents until you are one yourself. I am 62 and both of my parents in eternity but I love, understand and respect them more every day.

  7. Just Julie says:

    Beautifully said, Christy. I agree with you completely.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Oh, how I loved Grandma Sooter.

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