As many of you may know, my mother passed away from complications of a stroke this past weekend. It’s been an heart-breaking week for us, as we just had the funeral yesterday. The pastor who led my father and me to Christ, Phil Tanner, just happened to be at the hospital the day of her stroke. It was the first time that I’d seen him in fifteen years. He graciously spoke at the funeral and it was a very moving service.
Our world has lost a great light. I . . . and many others . . . will miss the amazing woman who was my mother greatly. Below is the eulogy that I wrote for the ceremony. It was difficult to get through, but I managed.
1Corinthians, Chapter 13, says, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
To say that my brothers and I had an amazing set of parents, would be an understatement. The ins and outs of my parents relationship were truly simple. Dad was the disciplinarian. Mom was the nurturer.
-If I skinned my knee, my mom’s medicine was a kiss “to make it better.”
-If I cut my thumb, a band-aid and a kiss and a hug
-A twisted ankle? More kisses.
-I did something bad? She told dad on me. We feared dad. Mom was the pushover.
My mom made my friends jealous that she wasn’t their mother. Any of them would have gladly moved in with us. She was just as free with the hugs and kisses with my friends and cousins as she was with us. It was a never-drying pool of endless affection that she took such joy in giving away.
Everyone adored Mom. Her personality dictated it. There wasn’t an angry bone in her body. She rarely lost her temper, at least not where anyone could see her. Not too long after I first got married, I told Mom, in front of Dad, that she had ill-prepared me for dealing with a wife with PMS. My dad cocked an eyebrow and said, “I don’t know where YOU grew up.”
I always found their “opposites attract” dynamic interesting. Dad showed his love by working hard and providing for us. He wasn’t affectionate, for the most part. Mom, on the other hand, would jump on his lap randomly to get a deep, passionate kiss, even with us sitting in the living room with them. Dad was embarrassed. Mom just laughed. This uneven dynamic was what made our Dad’s revelation that he wanted to be cremated so that he could be buried WITH Mom so touching. After he passed away in 2006, he was cremated and my brother, Greg, made him a beautiful urn and Mom dutifully kept it with her.
Over the nine years since Dad died, Mom has been a rock for my brothers and me. She walked with each of us through the darkest times of our lives. Had she not been there, I know I personally would not have made it. But, as time wore on, she missed Dad so much. Even through the endless smiles that she had for everyone, we could still see it. She kept busy to cover that fact. She’d wash the same dish for ten minutes, then put it in the dishwasher to wasH again. She loved to cook and was particularly good and frying chicken—a signature dish that has never been topped, at least in our eyes, by anyone else. Some other favorites included banana pudding, egg custard pie and pot roast.
But the affection is what we will miss the most. That endless well of love that God, Himself, put into her heart. Just a peak at the endless love that He has in store for us when we finally see the Lord face-to-Face. On the night of the stroke, before she lost the ability to communicate, she whispered many an “I love you.” It was the last thing that my sweet, angelic mother said to me.
Following that night, we watched Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as her breathing became more and more shallow. Finally, on Saturday evening, she sat up in her hospital bed and took her final breath as God took her out of this dark world and lifted her to the Pearly Gates, where Jesus was waiting for her with George Davis. Our Redeemer placed the Crown of Glory on her beautiful, blonde brow just before she gave our Dad one of her affectionate hugs and kisses. Then, Jesus led our mother, hand-in-hand with our Dad, through the gate and into Eternity.