October 29, 1932 marked the birth of my beautiful mother, Dalsie M. Mills. She was born at home in Maury County, Tennessee. She was the only child of Floyd Mayhue and Anne Elizabeth (Cole) Mills.
She was a gorgeous little girl with blonde spiral curls and long eyelashes. She lived a simple life with her parents and extended family. She especially spoke fondly of her great-grandpa, “Pa John” (John Francis Gilliam). She had grand memories of spending time with her grandparents (Edward Dunnagan & Cordelia (Tucker) Cole and Milton Everett & Lunie Mae (Gilliam) Mills), aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, particularly in the summertime.
On July 19, 1947, at a very young age, Dalsie married William Marcus Byrd. They had two (2) daughters. They later divorced.
On December 8, 1956, Dalsie married Charles William Norman in Corineth, Mississippi; although they both resided in Maury County, Tennessee. This was the man that she declared, “I loved him – to the depth of my very soul.” In 1958 they moved to Gibsonton, Florida. They had two (2) daughters. Charles’ life ended abruptly with a vehicular accident on November 21, 1979. Dalsie described her life after the loss of Charles like this — “Tragedy is one of the trials of life that must make us stronger or we perish. I have always tried to be a survivor, and with family who rallied ’round … I kept the faith.”
Charles and Dalsie — & then just Dalsie — always lived life as a celebration. Every holiday or sometimes just on a weekend — friends and family members gathered to share food, laughter and love. Friends without family or “a place” to be for the holidays were always invited to their home. They were strongly committed to family — they could not have loved their children any deeper.
Dalsie was an intelligent woman, with a heart of gold that never met a stranger. She was very strong in her values, convictions and personal character. She loved unconditionally and always sacrificed herself for the sake of others and their well-being. Her faith and love of God/Jesus Christ was always enough for her — material possessions were essentially non-important. She was a loving, giving woman that lived life to lend help to those in need and always had a smile to share. Her family was her world.
Dalsie passed away on August 11, 2009 at age 76 in Brooksville, Florida, following a battle of several years of illness. She was surrounded by family. In her final moments her family joined hands in a circle around/with her and thanked God for this wonderful woman and asked that He wrap His arms around her.
Funeral Services were held at Hodges Family Funeral Home in Dade City, Florida on August 15, 2009. Her body was laid to rest next to the man she loved, Charles, in Floral Memory Gardens Cemetery, Dade City, Pasco County, Florida.
The words of Dalsie M. Mills Norman, written on the 25th day of August in 1994: “Four grandparents, a father, a husband, a daughter and three in-laws now gone. All I really cared for. None of them have I truly grieved for, but I am sure that too will come. I’ve steeled myself against death, believing it is in God’s hands, and knowing I must be strong for the sake of others who need to grieve. My time comes someday. Remember the fun times. Turn your back on the bad or sorrowful times. Look ahead! Life is for the living. We can’t go back and right any wrongs. We can only go forward and make each day count to the fullest.”
“Lord, help me each day to do the very best I can at whatever I have to do. Help me to touch a hurting heart and make it sing. Help me to say a kind word that will cause someone to be happy — to be alive. Help me to find my eternal place here so it can be with you when it comes time to leave my family and the love they’ve shared with me. Amen”
Happy birthday Mom — each day I strive to be more like you — seeking your inter-strength, your faith and your ability to love unconditionally.