Perhaps, once in a lifetime, we are made aware of a person who has overcome difficulties on a scale beyond comprehension. I choose this day to pay tribute to such a woman, Fawn Ann Stevens Wilde… My mother…”Annie”.
Born on a beautiful summer day, she was the last of 7 children, living in Ferron Utah. Times then were difficult for all families. That was the time of the great depression.
It was a cold frigid morning, February 17th, 1927, Annie was just 2 years old. Her father answered the call to travel up to Indian Canyon to clear a road that had been covered by an avalanche slide. With a kiss on the cheek to his little girl, he was out the door. That would be the last kiss that she received from her dad, as he was tragically killed while on the mountain from another avalanche.
Devastated, the family continued on without their dad. But this event would only be the beginning of an incredible tale. One that almost seems too difficult to comprehend.
Time marched on. Annie was looking forward to her 8th birthday. A time for celebration of family recognition and love. But this birthday would damper Annie’s desire to ever celebrate a birthday again. For you see, Annie’s mother tragically died from an illness on Annie’s birthday. She was confused as to why there would be no party for her on this day, and why her mother was no longer with them.
Can you even imagine the sence of loss that she must have felt? The pillars in her life as she grew up… Mom… and Dad were both gone. At such a young age, where do you find stability to continue. Left alone… or so it must have seemed. Abandoned? Who would she run to share her worries and concerns. Future accomplishments? What would be the point? Her young life had been tarnished with the loss of the two closest people in her life.
Living now in a parent-less home, Annie had two sisters, Nona 21 and Laurine who was 16. Who would raise these two young children?
Nona was asked before her mom died if she could handle the responsibility, with the assistance of her grandparents. She agreed to accept the task. “I promise Mama… I will take care of them,” was her verbal committment. And so a plan developed. Annie would have some source of stability in her life.
Yet again, tragedy raised its head. Both of her grandparents would both die within a year of losing Annie’s mom. It was Nona… Young, and by herself. Thrust into the adult responsibility of raising two children.
Death was frequent in Annie’s life. Her brother Floyd was tragically killed in an auto accident when she was 13 years old. He left a wife and two small children.
Both of her parents, …grandparents… and brother… had all left this earth life..Leaving Annie behind at such a young age. Five seprate deaths. How would she process each of these? Especially in a period of time when emotions were not always discussed with one another.
It’s not hard for me to become overwhelmed when I think of this happening to my mom. I myself have felt empty on the few occasions that my mom wasnt there for me when I got home from school, or my dad not in the stands of my little league baseball game. But those experiences, as small as they are in comparison, give me some insight to the incredible emptiness that must have been my mothers constant companion. I admire her ability to continue on… to somehow find the desire to smile again, and look for positive events to build upon.
A very guarded Nona spoke of having her true love who was serving a LDS mission at the time of her mother’s death. There plans prior to his leaving on his mission were to someday wed, with him becoming a doctor, and Nona a nurse. But with the changes that she had now as a mother, when he returned home from his mission, things did not go as planned.
She repeatedly stated that she had made the right choice, but I feel that she must have truly experienced some disappointment that her fairy tale life had become so different than it must have played out in her mind.
The events that I have just written frequent my mind often. I have found Annie and Nona to be important influences in my life. I admire their strength! I also have two great examples of people who were give challenges… that they did not ask for, yet they pushed through …successfully. They have taught me to be unselfish, and that life is simply not just about what we wish for, or even expect. They are shining examples of not questioning God, or running away from Him, because of being given more than their share of hardships. They ran toward Him, and He saw them through.
I want all of you who are reading this to know about these two women. Their sacrifices have been, in most part, silent to the world. Yet to me, they are legendary and inspiring.
We can all benefit from their examples. We CAN overcome! We CAN do it! Life is not so-called “fair”! Do not take your challenges and let them become the face of you being a victim. Let your challenges define you in positive aspects of accomplishment, victory, and improved self-worth. It is not about what we could have become under different circumstances, but what we have become because of how our life’s course, changed by the curves of destiny.
Mom… I love you! I miss you deeply. I will continue to follow your example of trudging forward. And, Nona, there is a throne of glory for you as a result of your sacrifice. Your life has influenced ALL that have known you.
I choose to carry the torch which you have lite, and hope to make a difference in others lives just as you have. Thank you for giving of yourself, and weaving such a strong family bond for us all to grasp in times of trials. Rest in peace beautiful angles.