Archive | November, 2019

Eulogy

18 Nov

At 2:38pm on October 29, 2019, God plucked a beautiful flower from this world and brought her home to be with him for all eternity. The last few months, my mom and I would talk about what that day would look like, the day that she met her bridegroom; The day she entered heaven. We lovingly joked that we should have wedding cake and celebrate rather than have a funeral. She is there now, rejoicing. We miss her terribly.

We kids lovingly referred to our mom as the energizer bunny. She was blessed with a stubborn strength that was evident even in her last breath. She just kept going through all that life threw at her. And life threw more at her than most could have handled. If you knew her story, you were amazed by her strength. Our mom continued to pick herself up and keep moving through, taking care of what ever needed to be done. Through all of her trials and disappointments, she never became bitter, never lost her faith. She remained a gentle spirit, full of joy.

She worked several jobs, just to put food on our table. Teaching her children a work ethic that is evident even in her grandchildren. She kept the roof over our heads. She took care of her husband afflicted with Early Onset Alzheimer’, she struggled with a heart condition, breast cancer, later melanoma of the eye.  The past 3 years of her life were difficult. Her spine was collapsing causing excruciating pain. She learned to live with the pain, not complaining. Such a hero, our mother.

Our beautiful mom earned her master’s degree, she played the piano, taught herself to play the organ. Later in her life, she was blessed with a marriage to her best friend and a man that expanded her horizons. With him she learned to laugh and have fun. They rode bikes, she learned to play and love the game of golf, having accomplished 2 holes in one, she traveled, she danced and played cards. Her family grew to include not stepchildren but children she lovingly called “Bonus Children”.  

Of all her joys, her greatest and the core of her was her love for her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She prayed for them daily, she loved hearing about their accomplishments, encouraging them and supporting them, and hurt for them through their trials.

Galatians 5 speaks to us about the Fruits of the Holy Spirit “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.  We can say with confidence, the Holy Spirit lived gracefully within our mother’s heart. Her never ceasing prayer was that all of her offspring would come to know the Lord in the same way.  

We have lost our mother, our grandmother, great grandmother, our wife, our friend. Our loss will be felt forever.  We also rejoice with her; her suffering in this world is done. When she arrived in heaven, I am certain the words she heard from God’s lips were “well done my child”.

As our mother took her last breath, she spoke one word. “Amen”.  We say this with her. Amen mom, Amen.

 

Forgotten

2 Nov

As my mother slowly began to slip away from us, it became clear to us that it was time to draw close. To not leave her at all. She would speak to us a bit but would tire quickly. Everything had been said long before. Now it was just time for each of us to see to her comfort and to say our goodbyes.

It was an honor and a blessing to be beside as my mother crossed over to heaven. I thought of those that have gone before, my father, my uncles, my aunts, my friends. I began to reflect on her time the months prior. The trip we took to spend fun time with as much family as we could gather; the visits each of us took to be one on one with her while she was still able to enjoy our visits. Now, we prepare for her funeral, a family united by love of our mother.

I rested today. There was this nagging thought that would not leave my mind. Not of my mother, but of the countless men and women I see in the nursing homes and Veteran’s home, day after day in my work. So many of these people will die with no one holding their hand, praying over them, caring for them. (Yes this would be one more huge reason for Hospice at end of life!)

I recall the social media cry for people to attend the funeral of a veteran in Sarasota that had no family. It was touching. It was an event one could “check in” at, did you know this? You could let the world know you do good deeds.

What if your good deed went vaguely unnoticed by the world but made a huge impact on the life of a human being. Without knowing what the reasons are for living life in a nursing facility, without any family or friends to stop in, to check on you, I have to ask… Does it matter?

These facilities do religious services within those institutional walls, but then the crowd dies away and for the remaining 23 hours, with the exception of an aid or a nurse, your day is spent alone. Waiting to eat; Waiting in your chair, or your bed.

How lovely would it be if we began to “foster” the lonely nursing home patients? If the social media cry was to “rescue” an invalid or dementia patient; an ALS patient or Parkinson’s patient. Maybe your calling is to visit the veterans and visit with them, spend time letting them feel valued and seen?

We are a nation of “see me” and “look at what I did” and “listen to my opinions”; “Make me feel important”, “I am enough”. Can you imagine how completely important a selfless act of time and friendship would be to someone that is invisible, unseen, forgotten?

This is not the grief I anticipated, nor the sadness I thought I would process today on this beautiful Saturday.

My mom is no longer.here Her new life began on Tuesday, when she became a bride in heaven. She doesn’t need a funeral, we do, we need the closure. Her suffering has ended and she is rejoicing. I am rejoicing for her. There will be tears I am sure. She will be missed but she is no longer ever going to feel anything remotely close to suffering, regret,sorrow or loneliness.

Have you been lonely? I have been so lonely it took my strength away; being lonely is true suffering.

You don’t really live well until you love well and you don’t love well until you give it away selflessly to someone who can never repay you.

I encourage you to give this thoughtful consideration.

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10

And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:16