Mom, 30 Years Later

September 22, 2015, marks 30 years since my mom, Audrey Mae (Bollmann) Arneberg, lost her battle with leukemia at age 51. This was life-changing for me (her baby) and clan-changing for our extended family (she was the main social catalyst), but her earthly legacy lives on in unique ways. As a follow-up to my Juggle Jam 17 tribute to my mom, whose personality inspired me to create so many aspects of this company’s founding and heart, I thought it fitting to share this poem written by family friend Lynn Kerst within hours of Mom’s death and read at her funeral, where the church choir sang and three priests officiated. Mom had five kids, eight siblings, 48 nieces & nephews, and was married to my dad, Ron Arneberg, for 29 years.

     A Tribute to Audrey

     My best friend’s mom, full of joy and surprise
Light through the kitchen window lit up her twinkling blue eyes.
She’d sing songs and hymns in her rich alto voice
While going about her work as a mother—full-time, by choice.
What a vibrant sense of humor—a joy to be around
Laughter ringing through the house was a familiar sound.
To the church and community she was very active.
A Christian, an Optimist, she had so much to give.

Vivid memories flash by:
Blowing bubbles with gum called Bap.
Holding a baby on her lap.
Pepperoni spaghetti simmering on the stove.
Watching her Little League sons catch pop flies in their gloves.
For Girl Scout activities she’d readily volunteer,
Always adding so much extra fun and cheer.
Setting up her portable lawn chair for games, parades, the beach.
So involved with her children—to encourage, to love, to teach.
Winner of “Foto Funnies” and “Dialing For Dollars Letter Game”–
Calling “Is there an ‘N’ as in ‘Norbert’?” brought her fame.
Bridge player, Bowler, loved to take trips
Her ‘fridge and bulletin board were covered with newspaper clips.
Through illness and trials she had courage and strength like no other,
Even knitted a blanket from her hospital bed for her brother.

On the last day of summer, she lived her last day.
Like the season, we’ll miss her brightness, warmth & cheerfulness in every way.

Audrey Arneberg—relative, friend, devoted mother and wife,
We are all so fortunate who shared a part of her short and precious life.

     Audrey Arneberg, 1933-1985

The minute she died, Mom’s last words to me were, “I love you, Paul. You’re a good boy, and stay that way.” By Jesus’ grace, I continue to pass on my mom’s love, example and charge by making a career out of helping to shape youth not my own, but rather loaned to me for a moment in time to be developed…for good.