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  2007 Paula Baker
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Mabel Adkins Baker

March 8, 1926 - August 15, 2004

Mabel BakerOn August 15th, 2004, I lost the most precious angel of all, my mother-in-law, Mabel Adkins Baker. We know that heaven is a better place because she is now there, walking with God, whom she loved and served her whole life. She is with my father-in-law, after waiting 23 years to see him again.

I know there is joy and dancing in heaven and I am grateful. I also know that she will continue to be a guiding light for all of us who knew and loved her.

Mom came from humble beginnings. She grew up in the hills of West Virginia. She never had wealth, or fame or accolades heaped upon her. There are no awards for being a quiet, gentle, ever present light of love.

 

In this life, you are rewarded for material accomplishments, academic achievements and financial wealth. Mom had none of these. Her gifts were, by far, more valuable. The legacy she left behind is priceless.

I met Mom when I was 13 years old. Of course I didn't know she would be my mother in law one day. I knew that I loved to be around her. She loved me, just as I was. I felt special, I felt welcome, and always felt safe. It was comforting to see the strong bond of love she had with her husband. They were a team, working hard for their family. They always cooked dinner together, and no matter how many people showed up, there was somehow, always enough. There was laughter and fun in the simplest of things. She played the guitar and sang old gospel, mountain songs. She would say and do funny things to make us laugh. She made fried apple pies, homemade fudge, and the best buttermilk biscuits I have ever eaten. When the garden came in there were fresh tomatoes, corn, green beans, and potatoes, all to share. She tended her garden as she tended those in her care, with love, respect and a generous heart.

I learned many lessons from Mom. It was she who taught me to quilt-I made my first quilt using her treadle sewing machine! She taught me to crochet, (my poor children still talk about the vests, ponchos and other creations I would make for them and still laugh at the pictures of themselves taken back in the 70's) She taught me how to grow and tend my own garden, how to can and preserve the gifts that came from those gardens.

She taught me about being a humble servant of God. A deeply spiritual woman, she read her Bible every day. She wasn't one of those 'cram it down your throat' people. She showed you by her fine example that this is how God wanted us to live our lives. She went about her life quietly, with love, compassion and grace, and we were all witnesses to this blessing.

The greatest lesson I learned from Mabel Baker was how to be a caregiver.

There was no task too unpleasant, or beneath her dignity. Regardless of color, creed or cultural background, if a neighbor or even a stranger needed help, she was there. She helped prepare loved ones' bodies after they had died, she went to stay with people who had had surgery and no one to help them. It was she who tended to my needs after the births of my three children. She cared for the babies' needs, the household needs and my needs. She always inspired me, and helped shape me into the caring, giving person I try to be. She taught me to be the best mother I could possibly be, and showed me how to be a good mother in law. She made no difference between her birth children and her in-laws. We were all her kids. She never got involved in family squabbles. She remained the one constant source of love in each of our lives. What a profound gift!

She allowed me to come pray with her and lay hands upon her whenever she was ill. She trusted me, even though she didn't always understand the techniques I was using. She knew I loved her and would only do what was helpful and safe for her. At the end of her life, the tables had turned and it was I who had the honor and the privilege to serve and care for her. Our family sat around her bed for days, a week long vigil as we prepared to let her go. We cried, we laughed, told stories about her. We celebrated her life. We thanked God for the honor of having had such a precious angel in our lives. And then, she took God's hand and walked into His magnificent Light.

I dedicate my website to the memory of my beloved mother-in-law, Mabel Adkins Baker. I can only pray that I can love and care for each of my loved ones, friends and clients and as she had done on her journey. I know she will continue to guide and inspire me from her glorious place in heaven.

I love you, Mom!