In Honor of Spencer Norton.
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In honor of Spencer Norton

This article started a week ago as a tribute to Mothers, inspired by my friend of more than 10 years, Konnie.  She’s a single mother of four who came to visit me for some rest and relaxation in Lake Tahoe for Mother’s Day. A Mother, like so many other Mothers, that “JUST GETS IT DONE”.

However, today I received tragic news that has caused me great emotion that I have seldom experienced in my life. Therefore, I want to express my sadness by combining the experiences I have recently learned from the Mothers of my life with a conversation about a humbling respect for life and the time we have to connect with loved ones. Today, I received a text from one of the greatest connections in my life informing me that a young man, with whom we only knew from our experiences having an amazing time at Golden Spoon, is no longer with us.

I ask for your forgiveness in advance as the following writing has turned into my grieving process…

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Deseret News Obituaries

While living in Philadelphia, I returned home to Salt Lake City to visit family. While visiting family, we stopped into the newly opened Golden Spoon to celebrate. As is my norm, I attempted to be funny and connect with the people behind the counter. Very quickly, I discovered that the people behind the counter were the new owners of the Golden Spoon and they were a family that had moved to Utah from Pennsylvania, the state in which I was living in at the time. We exchanged opinions as to the difference between the East Coast and Utah. They laughed at all my stupid attempts to be funny. They weren’t just “good customer service” nice, they were the kind of people you were excited to see again, you walked away feeling better about yourself and life.  Each time I returned to Utah, I would stop in to the Golden Spoon and inevitably, they would remember me as if I were a part of the family.

I am constantly amazed by the strength and power of women, but especially those we call mothers. I can’t imagine the pressure and overwhelming responsibility it is to give birth to a life of dependents, to provide for their never ending needs and to being there for their ever changing emotional growth.

During my friend Konnie’s visit ,I asked her the question, “How do you do it? How do you work a full time job caring for others all day long, manage the schedules and lives of 4 children and a puppy, maintain the cost associated with the creation of a home, find time to work out and plan activities for the family?” It just seems so overwhelming to me. She responded with, “JUST GET IT DONE!  I don’t have time to think about what to do as much as I just have a mental list of all the things that have to get done and I have to check off items on the list faster than life adds to the list.”

My mother Carolyn Oborn raised six children, of which I am her fourth. Since I was 8 years of age, my mother has suffered from a rare blood disorder only further complicating the already impossible task of raising six kids. I want to recognize my mother and all mothers for “JUST GETTING IT DONE”! My mother has an uncanny ability to create something from nothing. One of my most memorable birthday parties was when my mom filled squirt bottles with food coloring and my friends and I went outside and painted the snow. We didn’t go out to dinner much but my mother loved to celebrate one on one with french fries and a soda, creating a special opportunity to connect.  She tried work charts, good behavior charts and every other chart you can think of and each time they failed, she had the resolve to keep trying, JUST GET IT DONE!

I have another very special mother figure in my life, Linda. She doesn’t appreciate it when I reference her as a mother in my life but only because she isn’t comfortable with having a 40 year old son. Linda is a special mother to me because she has no maternal reason to provide me with her ear as she will just sit at the kitchen sink listening to me talk it out. She encourages me to take risks providing me with the security that if I fail I have a safe home to fall back on. I frequently receive texts that read…

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While Konnie was resting and relaxing on vacation, we ran several miles each day along the lake. Something I had been thinking about for the year I have been living here. When she returned home I committed that I would, JUST GET IT DONE. Instead of thinking about working out and the reasons it would be good for me or thinking that I would start another day, I committed to just make it an activity like any other activity that I have to do. The first week I ran every day for a total of 20 miles, the second week I ran 20 miles and added swimming, lifting and yoga back into the mix. I lost 10 pounds and feel better about my life than I have in years.

So, when Linda’s husband and my friend text messaged me the news today of Spencer, I was overcome with emotion. Sadness for the family, the mother who is experiencing a loss so great that I can’t comprehend. I even experienced anger as I realized that Connect52 is designed to help people connect and maybe it could have helped Spencer. I experienced such gratitude for the people who have been there for me in my times of need. And when Linda asked as a Mother would if I was okay, I responded with…

Text message that talks about how people should just get it done.

You see, Jim and Linda were there for me in one of my times of need. With very little to no thought, they invited me into their home, their lives and we connected as a family as they supported me like a son.

Spencer is a reminder to me of how precious life is and how important it is in spite of the crazy busy world we live in to take time NOW to connect. Reconnect to the family member who may have wronged you, connect with friends on a level greater than that of a social media post, connect with the neighbors. Connect like the Norton family, so that they feel like family.

In honor of Spencer, give someone a hug and tell him or her just how much you care about them, “JUST GET IT DONE”!

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