Ramona Ann Cotrupe, 1935-2011: greatest person I have ever known

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It is hard to put into words what most of us feel when we lose a parent. My Mother was the sweetest, kindest, bravest, most caring, considerate, unselfish and pound-for-pound strongest person I have ever known. Life dealt her vastly more than her share of challenges…starting right in her own household with Dad, my brother, and me, and continuing when cancer snuck in like a cowardly thief in the night 12 years ago. Yet from her perpetually smiling face and sunny demeanor you would never know it.

So much of what passes for “conduct” in today’s world is people behaving like idiots. Ready to stomp their fellow human beings if it means being first in line at Starbucks. Braying like burros if one inconveniences their Supreme Highness for a second. My Mom was always about quiet strength, not making a loud spectacle of yourself, putting others first. Over the course of her life, and especially as she waged a 12-year battle with cancer, she endured things a thousand times worse than the complainers will ever see, yet through it all radiated class, grace, and patience they could not begin to comprehend. However, she would always chastise me–and I can feel her giving me her “I disapprove but I still love you” face right now–at the thought of me speaking ill of anyone. She did not throw “Jesus” and “religion” in your face, but she was devoutly religious and more importantly, the way she lived her life was the textbook example of what I believe our Creator put us all on this earth to do. She simply loved everyone. The one thing she would not tolerate? Someone hurting one of us. Do so and you had a small but lethal tornado heading rapidly in your direction.

There has never been anyone quite like my Mother, nor will anyone quite like her ever pass this way again. If you did not know her, you missed a great one…but hopefully through words such as these in venues such as this you can know her at least enough for the warmth of her heart and the power of her love to wash over you and comfort you. That is what she lived for.

I’ve said to family and friends that when I pass from this earth, if I am given serious consideration for Heaven it will only be because Mom pulled a favor with God to get me in. That and, if for reasons unknown (and indefensible) in the cosmos my Mom were not in the company of God in Heaven, then I don’t want to go. I want to be wherever she is.