A Life Well Lived

A Life Well Lived eases the sorrow of sawing “goodbye”.  My mother has passed away and while our family will miss her, we are grateful that she had a long and happy life.

My Lovely Mother, We Will Miss You
My Lovely Mother, We Will Miss You

My mother, Juanita Hughes, passed away peacefully in her sleep this weekend. She was born in Kansas almost 95 years ago, and schooled in Oklahoma. She spent the majority of her life living in Texas after she and my father were married. She was a mother to my brother and I, I called her momma, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. I believe her happiest role in life was as the wife to my father, Larry Hughes.

My mother never seemed to question my father’s ideas over the years, even when he decided to retire in his forties, move to the country and become a rancher. While growing up a city girl, she and my father started a new life on a small ranch outside of Houston, Texas.

We lived in a small four room wooden house with slopping floors, one board thick walls and a “pot belly” stove for heat until a new home could be built for us. She led a quiet life on the ranch, being a “stay at home mom” until I was in high school, when she decided to go to work to help with our family’s finances.

Even though she did not enjoy cooking, she always made a home cooked meal for our family each day when returning home from work. My favorite was her terrific fried chicken with cream gravy, it was delicious. I remember her happily picking wild grapes that lined our road with my father and I to make homemade jelly.

While being a reserved person, my mother had a fun side. When we first moved to the ranch, I remember her wearing shorts and cowboy boots to go to the local grocery store, going for moonlight horseback rides with my family and friends, and attending the famous rodeo each year in Houston.

She had a life well lived…long, happy and healthy but missed my father terribly when he passed away. It will be hard to say my last “goodbye” to her but it will be made easier knowing that two people who loved each other so much are now united once more.

May you rest in peace mother, you will be missed by your family.


Posted by

I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

260 thoughts on “A Life Well Lived

  1. May she rest in peace! No matter the age, it is difficult to say good bye. My sympathies to you, she sounded like an amazing mother. She is reunited with her beloved Larry.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Kathleen. It is difficult to say “good bye” but it is easier knowing that she is with my father once more.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. It does sound like she lived and long full life. I’ve picked many of those mustang grapes on the back roads of Texas myself. I can just taste her jam. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

    1. Thank you Karen, for your kind words. I road down the roads that were once lined with wild grape vines today…so much has changed but the memories of that sweet jam still lingers.

  3. I am so sorry to hear the sad news, Karen. Losing a parent takes time to process and I hope you will gradually find comfort in all the fond memories. (((HUG)))

    1. I appreciate your lovely thoughts, Didi, thank you! Mother’s friends have been sharing memories of her over the past few days with our family…she won’t be forgotten.

  4. Karen, I am so sorry for your loss. So terribly difficult, even when your mom had a life well lived…and thank goodness she did. May those fond and happy memories sustain and comfort you. I know you were a great daughter to her.

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Karen! It’s good to read, though, about your mother having had a happy life and that you seemed to have a good relationship with her (not always a given…).

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen, but what a lovely post you’ve written in memory of your mother and your love and affection shines through. It’s so nice to look back on a life well lived and what a wonderful long life she had with you too. Kind thoughts and wishes to you and your family.

    1. I appreciate your kind words Kay, as this was a hard post to write. Our family is very grateful that our mother did enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life. Thank you!

    1. I agree with you Darlene, a life well lived is a real blessing and my mother had a wonderful one. Thank you for your hug and lovely thought, it is appreciated.

  7. Karen, My sincere condolences to you for your loss. My own mother is 94 and not doing too well. No matter their age or your age I don’t think a person is ever ready to lose a parent.. May God give you comfort and peace.

    1. Thank you Molly, for your lovely words. You are right, it is hard to lose a parent no matter their age. Wishing your mother better health in the days to come.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear about your dear mother. She is lovely and it sounds like she lived life well. May happy memories be with you and your family!!

    I don’t know why I can no longer post a comment on your blog. I keep getting asked for my password. When I put it in, it just asks again. I haven’t changed passwords!

    Best, Bonnie

    1. Hi Bonnie, I’m happy that you persevered and I was able to read your kind words, thank you. Blogger and WordPress don’t seem to play well with each other…I’m sorry that you have been having problems. I’m constantly having troubles living comments as well.

  9. My sympathies Karen..

    Lovely tribute to her..What a very pretty lady also.
    My mom would have turned 96 January 2nd.In my mind..she will always be 55.

    1. I appreciate your thoughts, Monique…thank you. I always thought my mother was pretty and the photo I shared is my favorite. I know that you mention your mother often and miss her very much as I will mine.

  10. What beautiful and happy memories you’ve shared about your mother, Karen. I send you my sincere condolences at this very sad time. It’s never easy to say that final “goodbye” to a loved one. *hugs* Sylvia

  11. Karen I feel for you and my thoughts are with you, but what a wonderful way to leave this world in your sleep. I lost my Mum very suddenly at 87 when she she had a massive stroke, and it is not easy. I now have many of my Mum’s items around the house and I find myself having long conversations with her 🙂 Your mother is very pretty, remember the good times. Thinking of you Diane x

    1. I appreciate your kind thoughts, Diane. I’m sorry that your mother suffered…I’m very thankful that my mother passed away in her sleep just as my grandmother did. It is such a peaceful way to leave this world.

  12. Karen I am so sorry for your loss. What an exciting life you all lived…a life well-lived because of your wonderful parents. I understand what you mean about your mom missing your dad and them being reunited once more….my dad has been gone for almost 20 years and my mom has missed him terribly.

    1. Thank you for your wish, Donna. It gives me peace to know that my parents are reunited in a better place. I’m sure your mother misses you dad terribly.

  13. Lovely tribute to your dear mother. Have always heard that one’s life is never the same after losing a mother. True, but you have been blessed with special memories that are yours alone.

  14. I am very sorry for your loss, Karen. You have written a beautiful tribute to your mum and I am sure she would be very proud of you if she could read it. I am pleased, however, that you can take comfort in your memories and the good life she lived and shared with you all. Our loved ones will live forever in our hearts, so they don’t truly die. Big hug and lots of love to you.

  15. Sending love and prayers, Karen. This was a beautiful tribute to your mother. I’m sure she was a huge inspiration to you, and to live this long…we can only hope.

    Jane x

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, Jane…they are much appreciated. I wish we could all have such a nice long and healthy life like my mother did.

  16. So sorry to hear about your mother! My condolences to you and your family. What an interesting life she had — sounds like there are a lot of good times to remember.

  17. Dear Karen, My sincere condolences for the loss of your beloved Mom. What a tribute. Yes, you will miss her tremendously, and you will feel her in you more than ever. Your Mom, you and your family will be in my prayers. ❤

  18. Karen, I am so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. My heart goes out to you and your family. She was a very pretty lady and sounds like she really enjoyed life. I was thinking about the Houston Livestock & Rodeo just the other day. Seems like it should be coming up soon. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Hi Sam, Our family will certainly miss my mother but we are comforted by the fact that she had a happy and long life. The Houston Livestock and Rodeo was an annual event that our family always looked forward to attending. My mother had beautiful western outfits and jewelry that she would wear. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers, they are much appreciated.

  19. A life lived well indeed Karen—long and full–living as a wonderful example to both you and your entire family. You were blessed to have had her as long as you did—but that never prepares us for the loss—no matter the time, age nor place–loss is truly loss.
    I pray that you will find comfort in your memories and of the daily remembrances noted in yourself, siblings, children and grandchildren as tiny pieces of her reside in each of you—

    1. Julie, your sweet and kind words mean so much to me…thank you. It is a great comfort to us that our mother left us in such a peaceful way but you are never prepared for that last “good bye”.

    1. I’m sorry that you are dealing with the loss of your Mum, Grange. Thank goodness we have lovely memories of our time spent with our mothers. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  20. Oh, Karen, sincere condolences! My most comforting words come from Lao Tzu: Life and death are one thread; the same line viewed from different sides..
    She will always be with you. Hugs, Diane

  21. Dear Karen, passing on my sincerest sympathies on the passing of your beloved mother. This is a beautiful tribute to a fine lady.

  22. No matter where we go in life our mothers are always with us Karen. She continues to live in your heart and follow you all the days of your life! My sympathies…

  23. So, so sorry to hear of your loss, Karen. What a lovely tribute to her and I appreciate you writing about her so that we may know her too.
    A mother’s loss is hard, I lost mine 17 years ago when she was only 51. It’s been hard all this time to be without her and to have my children never know a grandmother’s love.
    Your mother lived a long and happy life and now she’s with her love once again.
    All the best, Karen


    1. I want to thank you Nazneen for your kind words, they mean a lot. My mother had a long and healthy life and is now with my father with gives our family comfort. I’m sorry that your mother was taken at such a young age, I know you must miss her.

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. What a beautiful tribute to a strikingly beautiful woman. It sounds like she lived a long wonderful and honorable life and she’s lucky to have people like you to honor her. Very beautiful.

  25. I am truly sorry for your loss Karen, losing a parent is always hard. You will always have your memories and knowing that she had a good life. My grandmother grew up in Kansas and was born in a sod house – they used buffalo poop to keep the house warm. She was 96 and she passed on in 1986.

  26. It is always difficult to say goodbye to someone we love. My father died 7 years ago and I still miss him. Your mother was very beautiful and it is lovely to know she had a happy life.

    1. It really is hard to say “good bye” Debra, but it helps knowing that she had a happy and long life. I appreciate for your kind words.

  27. Dear Karen, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences….what a sweet tribute to your mother. I also lost my mom three weeks ago on Christmas Eve. Maybe we can help each other. Let’s stay in touch . Hugs!

    1. Gerlinde, I truly appreciate your condolences, knowing that you have just gone though loosing your own mother. Thank you for the hugs, we will stay in touch.

  28. What a wonderful tribute to an outstanding woman. I think the highest praise anyone can be given is that they loved well and truly. I’m so sorry for your loss. While expected, it’s never easy to say goodbye. You’re in my thoughts today.

    1. Thank you Maureen, for your kind words. My mother was indeed loved by many and it has been very helpful to meet many of her friends that joined us to say “good bye”.

  29. I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. Its never easy to lose a parent whether they’ve lived a beautiful full life or like mine, plucked away way too early. Your post is a beautiful tribute and it’s clear how much you loved and respected her. I will raise my glass to you tonight and to all mothers with special relationships with their daighters.

  30. Karen, my deepest condolences to you and your family. Your mother sounds like a beautiful person. It’s never easy to lose a loved one, especially a parent. May you find joy, love and laughter in your memories. I will be thinking of you all. All my love!

  31. Angie says that losing a parent takes time to process. It’s been five years and I still think of my dad every day, Now and again a memory will surface. Occasionally I will have an ‘oh yeah’ or light bulb moment when something becomes clear that once was a mystery. I know it’s clichéd, but I believe that as long as we remember our parents, they’re not quite gone.

  32. I’m sorry to hear your sad news and know that you’ve suffered a great loss. I lost my own mom in September of 2012 and miss her loving presence in my life every day. This post is a loving tribute and celebration of what sounds like a wonderful lady.

    1. I appreciate your kind thoughts, Boleyn…thank you. My mother will be missed but it helps knowing that she had such a long, happy and healthy life

  33. A beautiful, loving and heartfelt tribute to your mother, Karen. My heart and sympathies are with you, my friend. Thank you for sharing such sweet memories and the pretty photo of your mother with us. I’m so happy to know she lived a long, happy and healthy life and that she loved your father so much. xoxo

    1. Thank you Stacy, for your lovely words of sympathy. What gives me comfort is knowing that she did have a long, happy and healthy life and that she has now been reunited with my father.

  34. I am so sorry for you loss. Juanita was a triple threat: A Donna Reed look a like, born a Jayhawk with a Sooner Education………….Why, your dad didn’t have a chance of resisting all THAT! You are so lucky to have had your mom for so long. I dread the day I become parentless. It’s an odd place to be I think. 2015 must be the year of Big Change for Karen.

    1. Your sweet comment brought a smile to my face, Kelli. You are right, my daddy was crazy about my mother. It is so true, this year is all about changes in my life…not exactly what I would have expected if anyone would have asked me this time last year.

  35. Oh Karen, she sounds like a truly lovely and kind woman. XO I’m so glad you had her in your life for so long. Wishing you deep comfort as you grieve and remember her.

    1. Hi Krista, I’m happy to say that my mother did have a good life and we were lucky that it was long and healthy. I appreciate your lovely words of comfort, thank you.

  36. A big and warm hug . . . your oh so beautiful late Mom had laughter in her eyes . . . .and am certain lived a very full life. A long one: be grateful for that . . . . my deepest condolences . . .

  37. My sincere condolences Karen. I am so happy that you had so many years with her and such warm memories.


    1. Thank you Madonna, for your words of condolence. My family was indeed lucky to have had our mother for so many years and we have lots of memories of our good times together.

    1. I appreciate your kind words and thoughts, Agi, thank you. Our family and mother’s friends have been sharing memories of her and they do help us at this sad time.

  38. Dear Karen, I’m so sorry for your loss, please except my deepest condolences. I know your fond and happy memories of your beautiful mom will help to heal your heart. Your tribute was beautiful and your mom sounds like she was a lovely woman, your precious memories will bring a smile to your face during this difficult time. Take care my friend.

    1. I appreciate your kind words of condolence, Mary as I know you have lost a loved one recently as well. Nice memories of a life well lived does make it easier when you have to say “good bye”.

  39. I know it will be hard to come back and read these sentiments after putting your lovely mother to rest, but just know that this cyber-world of cooking friends grieve with you. Many ((((hugs))) to you and your family and sincere condolences on the loss of momma.

    1. Hi Kathryn, I’ve always appreciated when my readers, such as yourself, have left comments…the kind thoughts that I am receiving now about my mother are so touching. They are indeed very comforting and I have to thank you and all the others for your thoughtfulness.

  40. I am so sorry for your loss, Karen and it’s a big one. I think one of the hardest of life’s experiences is to lose one’s mother. I do love the image of her in her younger days; what a beautiful woman. I’m glad you can say she had a life well lived and I wish you all the best as you gather to celebrate her life xx

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Charlie. The photo that I used of mother was always my favorite…I do think she was lovely. It has been easier for all of us to say our “good byes” to mother as we know that she did indeed have a life well lived.

  41. Blessings to you and your family, Karen. I’m sure your momma felt as blessed to have you as you were to have her. I wish you peace.

  42. She sounds like a lovely person. I’m so very very sorry for your loss Karen. Mothers are very dear to us and I know just how you feel. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  43. I am so sorry, Karen. I love the sparkle in her eye – you have painted a wonderful portrait of her. She will be with you always. Peace to you and your family.

    1. Thank you for your wish and kind thoughts, David. This was just a little wallet size photo that my mother had made for my father, it has always been a favorite of mine.

  44. I’m very sorry for your loss, Karen. It looks like your mom had a happy life and that’s what matters the most.
    I’m fascinated by people who are able to love each other with the same intensity for decades. I like to think that now your parents are together. Hopefully, it will help to ease your sorrow.

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Francesca…thank you. Even thought it is hard to not have our mother with us, it does make it easier knowing that my parents are once more united.

  45. Karen, you are so right – she sure sounds like she had a life well lived! So sorry for your loss, as I lost my dear Mom almost 3 years ago at 88 years old and still feel the pain of her not being here… I think those “gals” of that time had to be a little saucy, don’t you?! Remembering my Mom today, as my thoughts go out to you and your family. Hugs from Atlanta, GA to you all.

    1. Hi Susan, My mother did enjoy a life well lived and our family is happy for that. I appreciate you kind thoughts at this time. Yes, let’s do remember both of our moms and thank you for the hug.

  46. It is never easy to lose a parent even if 90+ is a very long time to live. The good thing is your mother will live on as a result of your memories. Cherish each one. Hugs.

    1. I appreciate your kind thoughts and hug, Linda…they are much appreciated. I have thought about you over the last few days, as we have been in Texas.

  47. Oh Karen, my most sincere condolences to you. What a beautiful trbute to your very beautiful mother you have written here. I hope that in the not too distant future, the happy memories will outweigh the sad feelings.

  48. A beautiful post and tribute to the wonderful woman who was your mum. It’s sad to think of others leaving us, but happy to know they go to those whom they also love. Thanks for reminding us to treasure these moments in life whilst we can. xo

  49. What a great tribute to your mother, Karen. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is not easy. Keep your memories close to your heart. There she will always live!

  50. What a loving tribute to your mom. It sounds like you enjoyed a special, close relationship with her. Living to be 95 is definitely an accomplishment! Yet, the older I get, no number sounds old enough. We have eternity in our hearts and losing our loved ones, no matter the age, leaves a hole in our lives and a scar on our souls. May your memories and faith comfort you in your grief. I don’t know if you are a Bible reader but these scriptures may help to bring you comfort too: John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15; Isaiah 25:8.

  51. I am so sorry Karen. She was indeed a lovely woman. She and my Mother were about the same age and the picture of her made me smile. Her hairdo looks so similar to what my Mother wore in her twenties. You were lucky to have her for so long, but I know the loss runs deep. Thinking of you.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and your kind words about my mother, Penny. Our family was indeed lucky to have had mother with us for so long. Now she is reunited with my father and knowing that, gives us comfort.

  52. It seems your mother was beautiful – both inside and out. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. But it does make me happy to know you were ever so lucky to have had a wonderful mother like her in your life!!

    1. I do think we were lucky, Cecile, to have a good mother. She tried hard to raise our family properly and I think she enjoyed her life very much. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

    1. Thank you Grace, for you kind thoughts. After talking with many of my mother’s friends, it seems she was liked by so many people and that gives our family comfort.

  53. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. You wrote a beautiful tribute to her. I have always said that life is to be lived and your mom sounds as if she lived a good life.

  54. Losing a mother at any age is tough. My own mother died a few years ago at 92. And although she wan’t quite the same then as she was at 62, or 72, she was still my mom. I talk to my mom almost every day still. Thank God for our memories. You have my sincerest sympathies, Karen.

    1. I appreciate your lovely words, Rosemary…thank you. Time may change our mothers over the years but their love always shines through. Yes, it is nice that we can hold on to our memories.

  55. What a beautiful post in honour of your mother. I am so sad to hear about her passing, but it brings a warm smile to my heart to feel the love that shines through each of your sentences. My thoughts are with you and your family!

  56. I’m so sorry Karen to hear about your loss. Know that from 1000 miles away I’m sending you hugs and lots of love.

  57. Oh Karen, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Take solace in knowing your Mother lived a healthy and happy life doing what she loved with her family and your Dad. My prayers are with you and yours at this time of loss.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, Louise. It was easier to have made our final “good byes” knowing that mother’s life was a long and thankfully happy and healthy one.

  58. Oh sweet Karen, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. What a wonderful story of her well-lived, long life. What a blessing to have her for so many years and what a gift that she passed peacefully at home. I will keep you and your family in my prayers for healing.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers, Roz. They are much appreciated. It truly was a blessing that mother passed away peacefully in her sleep after and long and healthy life.

  59. Karen, I’m sorry to hear of your loss, but I think your sense that my mother had a long, full life well lived does ease the pain. In the five years since my mother died, I have found that I miss her less than I might have expected because she is in my thoughts every day.

    1. Thank you Jean, for your kind thoughts. Yes, living a long, healthy and happy life does ease the pain of losing a loved one. I think our mothers will always be with us in our memories.

  60. oh Karen I am so sorry to hear this. I know she was an amazing woman to have raised such an amazing person like you:))) I know you will miss her but I love that she lived a wonderful life surrounded by friends and family. I will be praying for you and your family during this time- prayers for comfort and peace and healing. much love

  61. May I offer me and my families condolences to you and your family. I know what it’s like losing a parent and I hope you hold dear to wonderful memories and always smile when you think of her.

    1. Thank you Kay for your condolences…your kind words are much are much appreciated. Our family is grateful that mother passed away peacefully.

  62. I appreciate your condolences, Celia. If you are like mother’s friends and our family, you would have liked my mother. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  63. Your beloved mom or mother sounds like a great courageous woman! What a lovely photo of her!

    I see that she will be deeply missed! xxx A lovely ode to your dear mom! xxx Hang in there, sweety & a big cyberhug to you! xxx

  64. Beautiful, loving tribute to your mother, Karen. So sorry for your loss. We never get over losing our mother, but time does seem to ease the raw edges.
    Hugs to you.

  65. I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your mother. She sounds like a wonderful woman who had a great life. My sympathies to you and your family.

  66. Dear Karen, I am so sorry to hear about your loss! Your tribute to your mother is very moving and beautiful. you described her so vividly and with so much love – sending you a big fat hug and many thoughts and another apology for being so late with my condolences, dear friend!
    Anything you need, just let me know, please!

  67. My condolences on the loss of your mother, Karen. She sounded like a wonderful and adventurous woman, with a long, rich life. I hope you find comfort in your memories. And thank you for sharing that lovely photo, full of the hopes and dreams of youthful beauty.

    1. I appreciate your words of sympathy, Nia. It is nice that memories keep our loved ones with us. I always loved that photo of my mother, and appreciate your lovely thoughts…thank you.

  68. I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your mother, Karen. My own dear Mom passed away two years ago and I think of her every day. Nothing can replace the empty spot she left in my life. All your precious memories will become more special as time goes by.

    1. Thank you for your words of condolences Cathy, they are much appreciated. I remember when your mother passed away so I’ll take to heart what you have said.

  69. What a lovely picture of your mother. Thanks for sharing about her life–I’m so sorry for your loss. Hope your special memories of her bring you comfort during this time.

    1. Hi Nancy, The photo of my mother has always been a favorite of mine, I do think she was lovely. Thank you for your kind words, they are so appreciated.

  70. I’m so sorry for you loss… Your mother is so beautiful on this photograph and her eyes seem so full of joy! I can imagine her life was happy and fulfilled. Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your mum with us. Very moving post.

  71. Karen, I send me sincerest condolences. I am terribly sorry to hear that your mother has passed away. Death come to us all, but somehow that universal truth does little to ease the pain of the passing of a loved one. Perhaps the knowledge that hers was a life well lived and that she enjoyed the gift of years will make it easier for you. You are in my thoughts.

    1. Thank you for your words of condolence Adri, they are much appreciated. We are indeed comforted in knowing that mother had a long, healthy and happy life.

  72. Your mother was lovely! My mom was with us for 92 years. I miss her every day still… but after some time, I find how much she is part of us, in the way we chose to do things, as well as memories we share as her children.

  73. What a beautiful tribute to your mother Karen. I loved this line: “Even though she did not enjoy cooking, she always made a home cooked meal for our family each day…” My mother was the same and come hell or high water ensured we sat down as a family to a nutritious hot meal each evening. She is now 82 and her health is failing, but her recipes and belief in feeding her family “real food” has been passed down to all her children and those precious traditions will live on long after she passes. I hope you are well.

    1. Thank you Katherine, I appreciate your kind words. I think we are both lucky to have grown up in a home where meals were an important part of our life. I’m sorry that your mother’s health is not good, my thoughts are with you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s