Devotion - A simple word really. The dictionary describes it as "love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause". Derived from the Latin "devotionem", meaning to "dedicate by a vow, sacrifice oneself, promise solemnly".
There are many adjectives that I could use to describe our mom, but when we start to really think about her life, this really is the word that embodies what mom's life meant for her family. It's easy to label someone as devoted, but a true testament of this is how she actually lived her life. She lived each day dedicated to making those around her feel loved and needed.
Gloria Jean Gokey, was born November 23, 1956 in St. Albans, Vermont to Lincoln and Joyce Gokey (Snide). The seventh of eight children, she was part of a large and loving family. What they didn't have in wealth, they more than made up for in love. From an early age, mom had a group of very loyal friends that she enjoyed spending time with. She would often tell us stories of riding horses with Donna Partridge or spending time with Martha Bonk. She loved animals and used that as a chance to capture some attention from her busy father as she helped him take care of their horses, Lady and Queenie. As you can imagine, being one of eight children, you had to cherish those moments that you could spend with a parent. She also really enjoyed going to town dances with her parents and siblings. It was one of the highlights of her childhood she fondly remembers. She would also often recount stories of growing up with so many brothers and sisters. The stories could fill hours of your time as she spoke about the special relationships she had with each of them.
Throughout grade school and high school, my mom's family was very close with the Stone family. As you can imagine, coming from a small town, everyone knew their neighbors. My mother and father started dating and quickly fell for each other. In the summer of 1978, my mother married our father, Roger Stone, and over the next handful of years they had three children, Timothy Allen, Tadd Adam and Tyler Ames. They stayed together their entire lives and celebrated over forty years of marriage before my father passed away in the fall of 2020.
Her entire life, Gloria put her family first. She worked hard but somehow found time to attend all of their sports games, school plays and parent teacher conferences. Having three sons with conflicting schedules was just another day for her and she rarely missed an event, even if it meant working all night and then staying up to be able to attend. Add onto that our father's men's league sports, she was rarely home. Mom prioritized our lives over hers and made sure that we all felt loved and as the most important person in the world to her. In fact, that argument still rages on to this day to understand who her favorite child was. In private, each of us was told we were the one, but you can't have three favorites, now can we Tyler..
Life wasn't always easy, in fact, I dare say that there weren't many struggles that we didn't have to overcome in our family. Each of us had our own personalities and challenges that sometimes made it difficult for us all to see eye to eye. At the end of the day though, we were family and we were going to support each other through anything that came our way. One of last things that our mother said to the three of us was that we needed to make sure that we continued to stay close, even after she was gone. She wanted to ensure that the family she had devoted her entire life to, stayed devoted to each other long after she passed.
For those who knew Mom in her work life, they knew how fiercely loyal she was. In fact, often times we saw friends that we had known throughout our lives that had a chance to work with Mom and they would tell us how our Mom had become their "Work Mom". Everyone who knew her had a deep love and respect for her and she made sure that they knew how much they meant to her as well. I can remember countless times that I would call her at night to check in and she would be telling me a story of how she was supporting one of her "kids" from work.
One of the greatest joys in her life was her grandchildren. Alyssa Marie, Brooke Mae and Phoenix Allen were blessed to get to have the time they had with their grandmother. She loved deeply and always wanted to ensure they had the best lives that they could. She supported them whenever she was able and looked forward to weekends and holidays when they would come to visit her. She rarely missed an opportunity to speak to them on the phone and tell them how much she loved them.
On Wednesday, June 29th at 5:05am, our Mom went home to heaven to be with those who had gone before her after a fierce battle with cancer. We know that she will be happy there spending eternity with our father as well as her sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, mother and father, who all took the journey before her. We will all carry on her legacy here until our time to meet again.
Even as I look back over this short representation of mom's life, I haven't done justice in showing just how deeply mom loved everyone she knew. Then again, words can't really explain the actions that she took in each moment of her life to show how devoted she was to her family, friends and loved ones. Love.. Loyalty.. Dedication to a Vow.. Sacrificing Self for Others.. Not sure there is a better word to describe how fiercely our mother fought for us. Devotion.
Friends and family are invited to Mom's Life Celebration to include an open house on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 from 5-7:00 PM at the Goss-Spears Life Celebration Home, 96 Dickinson Ave., Enosburg Falls, VT.
Goss Life Celebration Homes is the area's exclusive provider of Life Celebration events. Please visit our website to share condolences, photos and favorite memories at www.gossfs.com