|Honored by:||Lisa Gail Soldat|
|Brick location:||D:16 map|
Strength is often silent. Love likewise leaves its marks in quiet, indirect ways. Elusive truth is taught to be sought, and at best, we must spend our lives seeking good, never to be relieved of the relentless, perhaps impossible quest. Harmony only comes from within, connected to the without. These are but some of the precepts that my mother has spent her lifetime instilling in my very soul.
My mother is Breta Carol Gath Espe Soldat. She is partly her heritage, mother Espe, and father Gath, partly her life’s love companion, husband Soldat, and all her unique self. From her fountains, she has flowed freely both her heritage and her love, without reservation, without condition, to her children, their love companions, and their children. In a world of great hurt and loneliness, her comfort never has waned. We all are so blessed that she has lived in this time and place.
Mom, giving thanks to you is simply inadequate. Therefore, in the human way, I will try to honor you by pursuing and sharing all those parts of you which you have melded to me.
I believe that all of us need the nurturing that only a mother is able to provide. As I have tried to fulfill myself as an adult, wife, and mother, I have turned to you, Breta, over the twenty-one years that you have been a part of my life. I realize that the best traits of motherhood are universal. I felt them with my mother, and I have experienced them with you, my mother-in-law. It is unique that I have been so blessed.
There are times when I feel overwhelmed by the various demands and self expectations and want to return to a childlike state of dependence upon a stronger source. In you, I have found that source. You have achieved a great deal of emotional growth throughout your lifetime and in turn have given freely of your love, understanding, and support to all of us. I know that I have needed it and felt strengthened by it. I am thankful to have you as a role model in so many ways, and this generous gift, I do not take lightly.
Love, your daughter-in-law,
The moments of reflection prior to summarizing my thoughts about you, my mother, are full. I know right from the start that words are insufficient to express the collection of my feelings, impressions and thoughts.
I think of my history with you first as a nurturing and caretaking one. I remember feeling your watchful eye and your careful direction. I looked to you for approval and received it. You were always there for me. I still remember little things. Little things which stand for big ideas such as swimming lessons at the Jewish Community Center; YMCA daycamp; family vacations in many various colored station wagons; dogs and cats; meals on the back porch; dyeing Easter eggs; you at the sewing machine; spaghetti sauce cooking in the deep pan and cookies on the tray; canning and preserving precious things from the garden; and the purchasing of new clothes and shoes. You were the purveyor of this sample of good things in my life. All the goodness that you possessed has been integrated into me. I celebrate now all the caring and goodness that you have brought to the world. Through your actions and being you have given meaning to life.
-Christopher Scott Soldat
Breta Soldat, my mother, is the greatest heroine I have ever known. The word mother has such an all encompassing meaning that I feel that being a heroine is just a small part of it. She has showed me those qualities that make her a heroine every day that I have been alive. Her ability to positively affect others has spread beyond her family and into her community and church. She is a woman who is admired for her achievements by myself and those around her. Out of love, admiration, and respect, my brothers, sister and I dedicate a brick in this courtyard to honor her now and into the future.
When I began to think about what to say about my mother, Breta C. Espe Gath, I tried to think of the things that would prove to the world that she is a unique one-of-a-kind heroine. While there are so many reasons why she is special, when you get right down to it many of her definable qualities could, on paper, be applied to others. I understand now that the definition of a heroine and opinions of others do not matter. What matters is that she is and always will by MY heroine.
I will never forget her reaction when she was given this recognition by my brothers and me. She seemed to be trying to imagine herself as someone special enough to deserve such attention, saying, "But I've always thought of myself as just a wife and a mother!" This statement baffles me. Does she not see that she is considered a treasure, not only by her family but by those who know her? She is one who gives unqualified love to those around her. What greater gift can one make than giving unqualified love— the kidn fo love a mother, my mother, gives?
Imagine if she had chosen a different path in life. She has the creativity and intelligence to succeed in any endeavor she chooses, and has done so repeatedly. Her choice to follow the particular road that she did, to give and give and give of herself to her family, influences the way we all are today.
Little vignettes of my life come back to me, and so often my mother is there. Searching for the perfect fabric remnant to make clothes for my dolls… teaching me how to preserve the produce of my father’s garden… directing us onto “roads” that were simply “little red lines” on the map during family trips (often risky but rewarding adventure)… driving me to a procession of piano lessons, ballet lessons, art lessons, basketball practice, summer camp…sharing her spirituality with me through her commitment to St. Andrew’s Episcopal church… sending newspaper clippings in the mail about things she thought were of interest… on and on the memories go.
So much of who I am today is certainly due to her influence. The gifts I give to my world are shaped and colored by her gifts to me. She teaches me much. She will always be with me.