Lois Anne Reddan, mother (Chris, Kim, and Kerry), grandmother (Abby Grace), spouse (beloved Jack), friend (a list much too long to recite), passed away Sunday, August 7th, 2022.
“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” –Amy Carmichael
There are people in this world who are givers. They give hope. They give laughter. They give tears. They give love. They give themselves. These givers enrich all that touches them in their journey through life. Our mother was one of those special people.
From childhood in Chicago to college at Ole Miss to raising her family in Chattanooga, her presence was felt. Lives were touched. Lives were impacted. And maybe for just a small window of time, lives were uplifted with a smile. We, as her children, were certainly given a blessing that I think we felt at a very young age. That blessing was to experience our lives through the prism of calling her our mother.
It is said “givers never lack because they receive back the love they give by tenfold”. This was certainly true for our mother. So much kindness always seemed to come her way.
“Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.” – George Elliott
The memories of our mother are so colorful, so vibrant, so happy that she could never be forgotten. From collecting so many variations of Frosty the Snowman that it simply became easier to keep them out all year to singing Barry Manilow songs all night with her young daughters until they almost lost their voices (to be clear- Chris was NOT involved in that). From blaring 70s disco music through her 1986 Sony Walkman during her daily five mile walk (even after receiving at least two Apple iPods and/or until at least 2016) to decorating her wonderful home with an orange ceiling, wall-papered kitchen cabinets, and a lime green door with a bright yellow frame (hard to imagine the zebra printed bushes out front didn’t make this list). From those silly but joyful birthday celebrations (how neat it was to wear the special and required Dr. Seuss birthday hat all night on your 40th birthday) to summer backyard cookouts in sweltering heat (“yes, Chris, I know the thermometer says 102 but it’s not always right”). From her ever present support to her hugs of need as we encountered heartache. From her cheering on the sidelines to the tears shed with us as we learned of disappointment. From each mountain top scaled to the descent of each valley, there was one constant, our mother. Yes, indeed. We have been blessed.
“To me, there are three things we should all do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.” –Jim Valvano
As all of us who knew our mother search for meaningful ways to honor her life, we accepted a challenge. And in her memory, we would like you to consider this challenge as well. There are many wonderful organizations whose work change the trajectory of others’ lives in a positive way. Two of these are the Alzheimer’s Foundation and Hospice. Please give in her memory if possible. However, and most importantly, consider taking the words of Jim Valvano to heart. Challenge yourself to laugh, think, and cry each day. This is how our mother took on her life. Seven days a week. And she was special.