Mildred Smith, of Marshall, born Mildred Lucille Heynen on May 24, 1921, in Sedalia, to Clyde and Margaret (Heuchan) Heynen, died in her sleep of natural causes at the age of eighty-six in Santa Monica, California on August 16th. Mildred's passing occurred on the 65th anniversary of her wedding to James L. Smith (3/28/1917-12/24/2000) of Marshall.
Mildred and Jim owned and operated the Valley Drive-In in Marshall for 29 years. After a brief retirement Jim successfully ran for Missouri State Representative and served five terms before retiring. Mildred managed Jim's State Representative office. Jim was fond of saying the voters were electing both husband and wife to serve the public trust. Their legendary fish dinners in Jefferson City were among the most prized events for members of both political parties year after year.
Jim Smith passed away in Marshall on Christmas Eve of 2000. Mildred and Jim are forever held in loving memory by friends and loved ones, especially their children Jamie and Clyde and their grandchildren.
Jamie Smith Jackson lives in Honolulu with her husband Michael Ontkean. She owns an interior design firm and furniture store. Her daughter Jenna Millman lives in London and does freelance work with ABC News. Her other daughter Sadie Ontkean is a student at the University of Southern California.
Mildred's son Clyde Smith lives in Santa Monica with his wife Lynn Dickinson and their daughter Aspen Smith. Clyde is a freelance Cinematographer for film and television shows.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to the First Christian Church in Marshall c/o Campbell-Lewis Funeral Home in Marshall. Online condolences may be sent to www.campbell-lewis.com.
Mother Love: A moment with my Mom, Mildred Smith, before she passed.
I am holding an eighteen year old photo of her second grandchild's birth, when she was 66, which was well before we noticed any change. She's looking down beyond the photo at a particular spot in the pattern of the carpet. I'm betting she wants to rub the pattern with her tissue believing she's cleaning a stain, as she sometimes does.
I'm sitting with her on the bed in her room. It's her room because the socks in the drawer have her name written on them in bold sharpie. It's her room because there are photos of me, of that grandchild all grown up and of the other lucky ones she loved; and was lucky to be loved by.
She no longer knows my name and that's ok. Seeing her smile and sometimes hearing her say it's good to see me, warms my heart. A nurse walking by says, "She smiles with you in a bigger way than she smiles with anyone else." I don't know if that's true; but I do like to hear it.
She lays her head on my shoulder as I must have laid my head on her shoulder as a boy. I wrap my arm around my Mom, wanting to protect and care for her exactly as I often embrace my daughter and feel the deep seeded intention to protect and care for her as well.
I want to protect and care for all my loved ones, even as I know it's not really possible. I don't even know what protecting and caring for anyone really is. How can I know which moments of joy or pain will help them move onward and upward toward peace, joy, happiness, love? It's not up to me; yet my intention to love, care and protect is as clear as a bell and rings true in my heart.
Yes, it rings true in my heart and I feel it's vibrations so clearly from all those who love me in the same way. I even feel it now from the woman I'm holding and barely know since the dementia. It's a circle of light that moves me to quiet tears.
And then it happened. In this moment of loving, but not knowing her now, I am suddenly filled with a crystal clear understanding of the woman who raised me, but whom I did not comprehend while she was fully with us. She lost her Mom as a child and probably never had this moment of understanding that I am experiencing.
She spent her life creating Mother Love anew for us, without having experienced it herself. She worked hard at it because hard work was what she understood. Yes, she was deprived of Mother Love, but her blessing was that she had no baggage, expectations, or judgments about Mother Love. She knew she wanted Mother Love but didn't get it and so she was determined to create it for us, and she did.
Her creation was good and now I understand. It's not that she washed the towels every day or double-checked our homework; her creation was her heartfelt intention to give us Mother Love, to protect and care for us, even though she too didn't know how. She did her best at it. Her creation lives on even as she has changed. I don't grasp where she is now or why she's the way she is, but I can still feel the loving vibration, the same vibration I see every day in my daughter's eyes.
I'm quietly crying and holding her, not really understanding her now, but clearly feeling her take comfort in my love for her, and feeling my inner self moving forward in joy, peace and in faith that the love is enough, even when there's no way to bring her back, when there's no particular thing I can do that will make any difference in a worldly sense.
Love, that's all she ever really wanted; as a kid, as a Mom or even now. Maybe that's all I've ever really wanted. As she bends down to rub the carpet I grasp for a moment that that's all there is. Our now, here together after her change, is just the flip side of the creator of Mother Love; the other side of a brilliant full moon, a circle of love.
A circle of love that goes on even after she has passed on from this world.
--By Clyde Smith
Additional information provided per family recompense.