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FROM READERS: Paying tribute to a mom who was a fighter and an inspiration

Friday, May 16, 2014 | 4:44 p.m. CDT
Mother Janet Barnes with daughter Angela Barnes.

Angela Barnes is the daughter of Janet Barnes, a Guinness World Record holder for being the longest living quadriplegic (incomplete). Janet, who died Sept. 9, 2013,  lived in Columbia for about 30 years, until she was in an accident in 2012. Angela Barnes wrote this tribute for Mother's Day.

Mother wherever you are, and I personally think you went right up on the first escalator to God's Arm's, I wish you Happy Mother's Day.

I am sure many others join me with this remembering. You were and you are known! Your life is a guide, a light and beacon for others. No, not everything was wonderful —  there were many hurts and fears — but I believe the final test rests in getting the job done. You did, and you did it with grace.

That is my hope — that by learning and getting to know you, your life, your beliefs and convictions, that others will pay a little more attention and do a little more. We can do this! The second tribute book, "CELEBRATE, the Life and Legacy of Janet Barnes, and her Unsinkable, Unstoppable, Fighting Spirit" is still in the works. It will be shared. The original book,  "90-pound Heavyweight: Her Story, Words and Life in Vignette" has been shared and embraced by hundreds and even more who have read about you on the website, Facebook, and though my public sharing events. The revised edition is just about ready to print. It will share some of the amazing examples of living fully even after the horrific accident — in short the miracles of everyday life!

When you went to God's Arms on Sept. 9, 2013, one month before your 85th birthday, over a thousand people paid tribute to your death. You succeeded — you got off the ventilator not once but twice, you were present, talking, eating, telling blond jokes and promoting mayonnaise as the ultimate condiment of choice.

I hope I did it right. I hope you know you were a priority, a gift and blessing. I hope you remember me sharing with you the poem/song 'She's a Miracle, alright — God's Gift and God's Delight!'

Happy Mother's Day.

Angela Barnes is inviting the community to help celebrate her mother's life. Silk flowers may be sent to the Life and Legacy Foundation, 331 Chamberlin Ave., Fairview Heights, IL 62208. They need to be received by May 24th to be included in the Memorial Arrangement. For more information, call 618-398-4357.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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