We are gathered here to celebrate your life. And celebrate, we do. Although we mourn your passing deeply, feeling and coping with the pain in our own personal ways, we agree together that your life was a life well lived. We know that you would have understood our sorrow. You would have smiled, given out some hugs, and pointed out how good God is. It is your legacy, this great faith you modeled for us for all these years.
I remember the stories you told; so many of them. Stories of God’s provision in times of personal and financial need. Stories of trust when life’s circumstances seemed bleak. But you never became bitter; you only became sweeter. And you shared that sweetness liberally as a testimony to God’s grace through the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mom, do you remember in the latter years how we would stand on your front porch talking? I cherish those times. You would reach up and bump the chimes hanging low. And then I would follow suit. We would smile and laugh, and then do it again, the chimes laughing along with us.
You would invite me inside to show me all your Teddy Bears, hundreds of them. It fills my heart with joy to know they will be distributed to children in need just as you insisted.
I also remember over the years our conversations late into the night. We talked about life and the Lord, and we told funny stories. We remembered and we hoped. You never let me hear the end of some of my childhood sayings, such as, “Neeeeveerrrrmind.”
When I was little I would squeeze up next to you in your plush chair made for only one person, but you always made room for me.
You came to my track meets, football games, basketball games, choir performances, and even to my graduations. You comforted me when I cried, cheered me on when I competed, and challenged me to live as a testimony for Jesus Christ.
You loved all your children equally, wanting the best for each of us. You would never hesitate to say, “I love you.”
Late one night as a child, just six years old, I knocked on your door in tears. I was not sure whether I would go to heaven when I died. The man at church with the fancy three piece suit told me that it was worth a try. But I was not so easily persuaded. I needed more than that. Through the simplicity of the gospel you set me on your knee, heard my fears, and led me into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
It is for this reason I am comforted in knowing that you now enjoy an eternity with God, and that you are reunited with Dad. So, while we mourn for a season, we do not do so as ones without hope. Goodbye for now, Mom. Oh, and in response to your inevitable, “See you later, alligator,” we would all like to say, “In awhile, crocodile.”
3 September 2010 by Glen Alan Woods
This letter was read today by the presiding pastor at my Mom’s memorial service.