All Betty's Children™
All Betty's Children is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization founded in honor of Betty Evans and dedicated to Comforting Families Confronting Cancer
The following stories were written and read by Betty’s children at her Rosary Service at St. Andrews’ Church in Tecumseh, NE on April 14, 2011. As we reflected on Mom’s life, we were amazed by her role as our teacher. Often, Mom taught us by praising us when we were good. Occasionally, she would teach us by correcting us when we were bad; however, most of the time she taught us by her example. We hope you enjoy our reflections about Mom, The Teacher.
As my brothers, sisters, and I were reflecting on Mom’s life, we were amazed by Mom’s role as our teacher. Most of the time Mom taught us by praising us when we were good. Occasionally, she would teach us by correcting us when we were bad, but most of the time, she taught us by her example. Each of the children wrote a brief story or reflection about Mom, The Teacher.
Mom was my best friend. We laughed together, we cried together. She was always there to help me with anything that was troubling me. She often said, “I may not have any advice for you, but I’m a good listener”. And she was. She usually did have good, sound advice for me; and the rest of the time it did help me to just talk about the issue with her.
Mom taught me to pray. She prayed for each one of us kids and our families every day, which is practically a full-time job. And she taught me to pray to St. Anthony when I lost something (which is becoming more & more often as I get older).
Mom also taught me to keep a sense of humor in the face of adversity. Last Saturday, when Mom could barely speak, my sons Tanner & Talon were with me sitting with her when I realized I had to run home to get a picture I wanted to show her. So I told her, “I’m going to leave you with these strapping young men and I’ll be right back.” After I left the room, Mom jokingly said to Tanner & Talon, “I don’t see any strapping men.”
Mom was the best woman I’ll ever know. She was an angel among us.
Mom taught me to put others first and put myself in their place. When I was 15, Mom and I were at Gas-N-Shop and when I got my change back I noticed right away that the cashier gave me too much. I was excited while I was driving away and told Mom about my new small fortune that I had just made. She said, “Trenton Tucker Evans, turn this car around and go back to the store!” So I replied, “C’mon Mom, it’s only a quarter and it’s going to be embarrassing!” She wasn’t having any of it, so I turned around and went back. On the way she said, “Put yourself in her shoes, at the end of her shift when her supervisor yells at her because the cash register is short, then she’ll have to take money out of her pocket and put it in the register to balance it.” I walked into the store and gave the cashier the quarter and explained that she had given me too much change. I didn’t think the quarter was a big deal, but the cashier smiled and said, “thank you.” That smile and Thank You was worth the money.
Aunt Carol always brought out the “Goofy” in Mom and vice versa. When I was a freshman in high school, goofy did not equal “Cool”. During a volleyball game I thought I was soooo cool sitting with the upperclassmen. Then I saw Mom and Aunt Carol come into to the gym so I started to slouch down in my seat hoping they wouldn’t see me on the way to their seats. Just when I thought they didn’t notice me, they stopped right in front of the student section and started looking for me. I’ve never been so nervous in my life and thought my social life was going to be ruined. I couldn’t slouch low enough and they locked eyes on me. As if they were trying to ruin my life, they started waving, yelling at me and blowing kisses. It wasn’t a cool wave either; it was infamous two handed wave. It felt like everyone in the gym stopped what they were doing and were laughing at me. Then something crazy happened and a couple of senior guys forced me to stand up and they waved back at Mom and Aunt Carol with me. A few kids actually said that my Mom and Aunt Carol were cool! That’s when I realized that it’s OK to be yourself and be a little goofy at times.
The Lesson of Selflessness
When Mom was in the hospital receiving chemo, She, Aunt Sara, and I went to visit the gift shop. Mom and I found a cute little clock that we both liked but neither of us made any notion to buy it. The next day, I stopped by the gift shop to buy the clock for Mom but it was already gone. I looked for something else that I could remember she said she liked but I didn’t find anything. I was pretty bummed as I made my way up to her room. Once I got to her room, she had a gift sitting on the table for me. She had bought the clock for me.
Even when she was going through something terrible, she was always thinking of others.
Mom taught me justice and accountability. One of my favorite pastimes as a young boy was irritating my older brother - Ted. It wasn’t always easy because Ted was a nice, patient young man. I had worked hard at pestering Ted and it paid off. One day we were outside our house and I had pushed Ted too far and he was chasing me. My usual tactic at this point was to run in the house to get Mom’s protection. As I raced around the corner of the house, there was Mom working with some flowers. As I ran up to her and saw the look on her face I knew I was in trouble, but I tried my story anyway. I gave her my usual line, “Ted is trying to beat me up for no reason”.
The look of Mom’s face told me 2 things: 1. she had heard me teasing Ted, and 2. I was in deep trouble.
She looked at me and then she looked at Ted and said, “get him Ted!” Poor Ted didn’t know how to react, but I knew from then on that Nobody, not even Mom was going to stick up for me when I didn’t deserve it.
A few weeks ago, Mom, Dad, Taylor, Logan and I decided to go down to the woods in front of Mom and Dad’s house to scope out a location to build a tree house. The kids took off running through the pasture and Dad followed. Mom and I brought up the rear. I constantly scanned the ground ahead worrying that I might step on a horse manure landline, as Mom glided faithfully through the tall grass without a care in the world.
I’m not sure which was stronger, her faith or her serenity. Faith that she wouldn’t hit any obstacles or serenity that it she did encounter a problem God would handle it and everything would turn out fine. That evening, she was so focused on getting to those woods with the grandkids.
As we approached the end of the pasture and neared the woods, she suddenly fell down. A fallen tree limb hidden in the grass had tripped her up. Dad and I helped Mom to her feet and picked the burrs off her clothes and out of her hair. She wiped the dirt off her hands and knees, but never complained. Dad asked why she hadn’t followed the horse trail, because “the animals know where all of those obstacles are”. She shrugged her shoulders, smiled, and took his caring lead down the horse trail to the woods.
Instead of following the zig-zag trail that so many others have been on, she blazed her own trail. Mom taught me numerous lessons over the years, but on that beautiful evening three weeks ago, she intertwined multiple lessons: strong faith and serenity will carry you through anything. There will always be unforeseen obstacles that will arise on any journey, but you just pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Finally, if for some reason, you’re unable to pick yourself up, family will always be there to help you on your journey.
Brush your teeth, make your bed, clean your room, eat vegetables, and wear your retainer. I heard most of these every day. She was so persistent about it. Thank you Mom.
When I needed discipline she would be there with one of her sermons. I heard plenty of them. After a while I was able to tune out the words and she would sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Kinda like one of Father’s sermons during Sunday mass. Not you father Dunavan, your sermons are great and never too long.
Now during the sermons Mom knew what I was doing and would say “look at me when I’m talking to you.” As a glanced into her eyes I instantly knew what she said and what she was going to say. Something about her eyes. I could see the disappointment and concern for my well-being but also she knew she loved me unconditionally. She gave us the tools and the format to be the best of the best.
As I watched her eyes on Sunday and Monday I started wondering what she is seeing now.
I asked myself that today.
She is seeing the most incredible sights now. She might even be talking to Jesus himself. Then I asked myself what she is saying. I concluded only one possibility. She is pleading forgiveness for us all.
Thank you Mom.
Mom has been my teacher for 34 years. I didn’t always realize that I was the pupil, but Mom always knew she was the teacher. I may have skipped class, fallen asleep, or outright ignored the lesson, but Mom never missed a day. Mom taught so many so much, yet I somehow felt I was the only kid in class. When I think about it I can see how the lesson plan looked… Do the right thing; your family are your best friends; treat others as you’d like to be treated; do your best; always try and never give up; pray about it; respect everyone; love your children; God comes first. I know I haven’t always been the best student, but Mom has always been the best teacher.
Every hour of every day, I attempt to apply these lessons to my life. I often find myself thinking “what would Mom do” or “how did Mom do this”. Respect for my teacher grows with every waking moment.
I see now that we all have been taught by my Mom and that we all are teachers in our own little ways… whether it’s looking into our children’s eyes and kissing them good night, talking with friends we’ve yet to meet at a gathering, speaking with family and friends on the phone and singing “Happy Birthday“ horribly out of tune, or hugging our loved ones; we are teaching from Mom’s Lesson Plan of Life and class is always in session.
I find comfort knowing that I have had the best education anyone could hope for from the best teacher, my Mom. May we go forth and teach so others may know the love, happiness, and kindness my Mom has provided during her lifetime.
We hope you enjoyed reading our reflections and will help us spread the warmth and compassion that Mom exuded. That warmth and compassion lives on through All Betty’s Children.
How can I help, you ask? Find out here.