Nora Williams

Obituary of Nora Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth Williams 1936-2020 I credit Mom, a woman of great strength and resilience, with teaching me the meaning of feminism at an early age. She worked a 9 to 5 her entire life and was a role model in every way, especially for many young women in Valdese. Most of her life, Mom was the manager of a dress store called the Gold Shop. She had a great sense of style and always man¬aged to look cool and trendy, wearing the latest in fashion from the pages of magazines. Many of the high school girls reg¬ularly shopped at her store. She hired many of those same young ladies to work for her and taught them what she could about the business of fashion retail. She took the job of mothering seriously. Mom would sit with me for hours and color when I was young. To this day, I still go weak when I see a new box of crayons. She had beautiful penmanship and taught me cursive writing which is probably the reason I have my profession in art today. I can say without a doubt my most favorite Valentine's Day of all time was when I was 8 years old. Mom surprised me with a doll and a skateboard. A skateboard is not such a big deal today, but 54 years ago, it was a big deal. Only the boys in the neighborhood had skateboards. At age 9, Santa brought me a mini-bike because Mom told him I should have one. And somehow she talked Dad into buying me a motorcycle when I was 14. Mom taught me that being a girl did not dictate what I could and could not do. Her main job though, the one she was the most proud of, was being my dad's wife. This woman was a dynamic force... in my life, my fathers and everyone she met. She demanded attention and she gave it right back. She was probably the most humorous and self-deprecating woman I've ever had the privilege to know. The neighbors would witness her mowing the yard with her thighs and stomach wrapped in saran wrap trying desperately to lose weight... She and Dad had 5 different Scottish Terriers, all named 'Duffy'... She loved video games and was a 'Master Farmer' on Farmville... She was a horrible cook but made dinner every night... She loved to sleep in and would leave notes all over the house for Dad and I to wake her up at a certain time... She stole my parrot for 4 years... I was her co-pilot on a trip to the golf course and witnessed her dump all of Dad's clothes in his car because, well, dinner was ready and he wasn't home... I watched her dump a whole roast in the yard once because, again, golf... I saw her ease the griev¬ing and heartbreak of a porch-full of women after my grandmothers death. She was dressed beautifully and pulled her skirt up to reveal the holiest pair of panty hose any of us had ever seen, to the point that all of us wondered how they were even still staying on. We all belly laughed. In 2011 Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She was a fighter and in 2014, was declared cancer-free. Later that year, Mom had a stroke and that revealed itself not as easy to conquer as the cancer. She developed Vascular De¬mentia. For 3 years, Dad selflessly took care of Mom. When Dad died in 2017, my mother was lost without his love and companionship. Somehow, I convinced her to live with me in Boone. Both of our lives changed. Both for the better. In the early days, it seemed doubtful that we could make this arrangement work for very long. I did not have the skill set to care for a grieving widow with dementia and failing health and she didn't know that much about me, her daughter. We had some rough days for sure but eventually we got in to a rhythm and routine. Every morning, while drinking her coffee and smoking her new e-cig, she would stare out the window and make up elaborate stories about the people walking by, iden¬tify birds with her new guidebook, listen to Motown on the iPad at top volume and talk to the parrot, cat, fish and dogs. Af¬ternoons were for Steve Garvey and Judge Judy. Dinner was almost always an argument but she wasn't allowed to have her beer until she ate. Those that knew Mom, knew she rarely drank but, in Boone she developed a taste for Blue Moon. She always stayed up late to watch Steven Colbert and then we would make the trip back upstairs to her bedroom. For a little over a year, we had this routine every single day. We also decorated for Christmas, planted flowers in the spring, went out to eat at restaurants, stayed up late waiting on snowstorms, danced in the kitchen, worked puzzles... things she had not done in years. We grew closer than we had ever been. Last March, Mom caught a virus and with her weakened immune system had to go to the hospital. From there, she went to Cranberry House, a home that deals primarily with dementia and Alzheimer's patients. It was rough on her. People with dementia aren't comfortable when their surroundings and routines change. It was rough on me... I missed her. Eventually, Mom embraced Cranberry. She made new friends with the other residents and caretakers and was always zooming up and down the halls in her wheelchair. She adjusted well and was happy. On February 14th she was crowned Valentine's Queen and got that Tierra she always deserved! She passed on February 23, 2020. She was 83 years old. My heart is broken. I have lost my best friend. I will always think of Mom when I see those little orange marigolds, when I smell Youth-Dew perfume, and when I hear any song by The Supremes. I realize that this is not an ordinary obituary. My mother was not an ordinary woman. And, after many years and much thought I realize that she didn't expect her daughter to be just ordinary. Thank you, Mom. We had a blast! You and Daddy and all the Duffy's, rest in peace. Online condolences may be shared with Dana at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.
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