A few years ago, I started a speech off like this: Today I want to talk to you about my mom, Amy Rodgers Venter, and how her death affected me. Oh, I’m not talking about the pain, the agony, the defeat. I’m talking about how it affected ME. Suddenly I was a 60 year old orphan who was the matriarch of the family, supposed to know everything like “Amy, how many cows did the Jackson’s have when we sold that ole bull to them back in ‘48?”

I was an abject failure in the “know everything that counts” arena – no college degrees really matter! No way can I tell you how to cut and frame a window in a house, how many newspapers I need to scrounge in order to paper over the bad spots in the wall, how to can tomatoes, how to set a fence post in a garden plot, how to sew a wedding dress, how to crochet a baby blanket, how to cook noodles, how to install a threshold, and on and on. Things that matter. Things that help your kids live, love, and laugh. 

But if anyone asked me now the most important thing she taught me, I would answer, “She taught me how to die.” Mom, watching you that morning as you were moved out of your home without even a look around at all the things you had build, decorated, and valued. Like shedding layer one of your earthly garments. The days in the hospital bed, the ravages of cancer changing your body, taking away all privacy, but you had already shed that garment too. Most days you wanted to know who had visited, but that garment was being shed also.

I wasn’t there at the end because I had been up with you all night. Those who were told me this story. Becoming conscious after about eight hours of being put out by pain medication, you came to and while striking your hand through the air, you said, “Forgiven, forgiven, forgiven, and all because of the blood.” Nothing else mattered at the end—just Jesus and his blood.

Knowing I am forgiven by his blood – That is knowing how to die. Thank you, Mom.


I wrote this for Face Book six years ago.  I’ve referred to some of the same things in other blogs.  Maybe even posted this.  I don’t remember.  But I need to say it again.  Happy Mothers Day, dear blogging Friends.  No calling as great as being a mother.  (Well probably being a father.)  You have learned much from mother – whether she was good or bad.  Mothers are your first teachers.  I see myself as lacking much, but amazingly my sons treat me as if I’m one of the best!  😀 

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. grAnnie Roo says:

    “I see myself as lacking much, but amazingly my sons treat me as if I’m one of the best!”
    Thank you for putting it so perfectly, my friend. Happy Mothers day!

  2. judyjourneys says:

    Oneta, beautifully written. It’s so nice that you have such memories of your mother. I could have been with my mother the night she died; but as I explain (you may remember) in my first book, I did not want to think of her as dead. I wanted to think of her as having gone somewhere for a while. Well, anyway, that’s how I felt at the time. I guess I could say that Secrets Revisited is a tribute to her sacrifices although they were of a different nature than those of your mother. But we both had the “best mother,” didn’t we?

  3. eob2 says:

    Wonderful memory a lesson Learned in death. Reminded me of my mothers death. I was with her the whole evening, she would call out, “Mother I’m coming, I’ll be there soon.” She than feel asleep peacefully. I went home to get some rest, and go back. I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said, my Mom loved the blessed Mother, always prayed to her for help or solace. Was it her she was calling out to? I would like to think so. Shortly after I came home I received the call she had passed. For a moment I felt guilty I wasn’t with her, when I felt touched and that guilt had been lifted. She taught to have faith in the end. Happy Mother’s Day.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Sounds beautiful. There is certainly a victory won by the Christian’s death, however much we do not want to release one to death. Thanks for your comment. Your mother sounds like a hardy and faithful child of God.

  4. Thank you Oneta! That was a beautiful, painful, honest and very truthful tribute—your life is now her gift—and what a grand gift that is!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thank you, Julie. “Your life is now her gift” – a beautiful thought. She and I could share some deep things now that I’ve “smartened” up enough to appreciate them. 😀

  5. Faye says:

    What a truthful and wonderful post Oneta. Thank you very much. On Mother’s Day it is like a prayerful inspiration for us all to leave behind such a legacy. Dying with the certainty of Christ’s forgiveness and blood covering must be the most enduring of all things a Mother who loves deeply can leave to others. The Gift of Faith from generation to generation. We must all live and keep on learning the depths of Christ’s Love to us to pass on. Blessings!

    • oneta hayes says:

      I am very concerned with the fear that our younger generations are not armed to deal with the Satanic attacks coming on Christians now. But God is still in control and Jesus’ blood has not lost its power to save. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Oneta, this is absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful tribute to your mother. And wow, what a fabulous way to die. God bless you!

  7. SarahC says:

    Very nice.belated happy mother’s day

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