Far Above Rubies: A Tribute to my Mom

My mom was like a ruby in the center of a gold setting.


 Sandra J. Chantelau
January 1, 1951-February 16, 2010


The gold is the life of our family, and she was the gem at the heart of it, radiating from the inside out. Her light and beauty were gentle, softly illuminating our lives, sensitively weaving all of us together like a silken scarlet thread. When we lost her, we lost a big chunk of our hearts, as if that lovely thread had been pulled from the tapestry—compassionately taken by a Father who said it was time for her to come home to Him.

Yet, the fabric of our family will by no means fall apart. She wove herself into all of our lives, but she added thousands of threads, along with our own contributions, that will remain. The strongest and most vibrant one is her love.


Mom was the most devoted wife I’ve ever seen. She truly understood what it meant to be a partner and helpmeet for my dad. Her heart was in tune with his desire to give financially to missions so the nations could hear the gospel. She worked side by side with him to build his business. Mom and Dad parented their children together, planned home renovations together, vacationed together. Ours was a family that sat down to eat dinner together every day, that always spent time talking and relating to one another.


Talking together—that is one of the things that stands out most about Mom and Dad’s relationship. I never remember them not talking. I never remember them yelling or fighting. We would always hear them talking in their bedroom as we got ready for bed. When I visited them from out of state as an adult, I would wake up to the sound of their voices floating up from the kitchen each morning. Mom was my dad’s best friend.


And she was one of the closest friends each of her grown daughters had. We confided different things to her, and she to us. Yet I never felt that she favored one over the other. Some days I would call her and find out that she had talked on the phone with each of her daughters that day. When I was visiting, I would see how many calls she received, not just from her daughters but from her mother and sisters. And she had time for every phone call. She would sit down and talk as long as was needed.


I think one reason our family is so close now as adults is because she always took time to communicate with us when we were children. Mom was always there in the kitchen as different ones came down for breakfast, and she talked to us. She was always there when we came home from school, and she talked to us. In the evenings we talked as we did things around the house. On so many of my visits, Mom was content to hang out in the kitchen or sit by the fireplace and simply be together. The home she made with my dad has always been a gathering place where relationship flourished. And that’s not going to change.


This gift is one of her many legacies to her family. Now, more than ever, we want to be together. My family is golden in my eyes, as it was to hers. We may not be able to see her smile, hear her voice or lean into her hugs. But we will always be able to feel the love and warmth radiating from the relationship we had with her.


My Mom’s favorite book of the Bible was Proverbs. I am sure she did not realize how much she fit its description of a godly woman. As I think about the legacy of her life, these verses come to mind: “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies…Her children rise up and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:10, 28, NKJV).


And because of her life, I am, and always will be, blessed.



One Response to “ “Far Above Rubies: A Tribute to my Mom”

  1. Tony & Kara says:

    Beautiful, Joanne. You're mother was blessed to have you as a daughter. Thank you for sharing something so beautiful and yet so personal. It truly reminds us to value the life we have with those we love.

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