To those that missed my speech the day of my Mama’s funeral, here’s what I wrote in honor of her life. Thanks for reading.
Celebration of Life Date July 11th, 2020
“My mom loved people, didn’t she? but when it came to speaking in big crowds she was too shy. I too have never wanted to be heard that way because of so much fear, but if it had been me, I know she would have done the same. That’s why my sweet man is up here, I can’t do this alone.
I don’t know how much you know about my mom. Maybe you have met her, maybe not? Maybe you only met her once. Maybe you’ve known her your whole life? But can I pause those memories you have with her (if you do) for just a minute or 10 and tell you a little bit of how I saw her?
Being an artist I’m a very visual person, I can remember brief snips of memories far back as young as a toddler age, 2 or 3 years old. Mama gave me that gift, that artist side and that photographic memory. I remember so many times I would explain things to her and, she would nod very nicely like she knew exactly what I was talking about and then if there was a question at the end she would say, “wait what?” That’s me. Thank you, Mama for that. My motto at work has always been, “if you want me to do something right, give it to me in writing.” Otherwise I will do the same. Wait what?
That being said, being an observer, oftentimes a wallflower, I would see things about my mom, other people didn’t see. She was my best friend from the very time I first remember her. She always made me feel better than I was. I remember her getting down on the floor with me and playing with me like she was a kid again. I don’t say this lightly or boastfully, but She was the best mom, such a gift.
I had a really hard time from the very beginning in school. My experience with school was a lot different than my siblings, maybe they never knew that, but Mama knew. Mama gave us the choice if we wanted to go to school or homeschool. I wanted to try school because it sounded like so much fun. I tried it. After awhile she could tell I was struggling to keep up. My mom then took me to a specialist and I was then diagnosed with Dyslexia. Which if you know nothing about it, that’s ok. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I basically struggled with reading and reading allowed, and writing and the alphabet would often times come out backwards because that’s how I see things. But Mama helped me overcome those hurdles. Even the constant bullying I dealt with at school because I was “different”. And because it took me forever to learn to read and write. “Kids can be so mean.” She would often say, “But we’re gonna get through this and everything will be ok.”
She walked that road with me, every step of the way, she even let me choose to do homeschooling because the bullying was just too much for me, and I knew it was just too much for her.
She made it a habit for us to go into our rooms and shut the door and read our bibles and pray. Sometimes when I would have those debilitating days when it was just too hard for me to read, she would come in and sit on the bed with me and read with me or showed me all sorts of tactics that would help me read better. She made even those days when it was just too hard to simply get out of bed, because I had so many insecurities and felt like I had failed her because I couldn’t read, She always lifted me up. She always helped me get through those rough times. She knew exactly when I was struggling. Sometimes even before I knew it.
She loved all her children fiercely and for a tiny woman, she would have done anything to protect and stand up for any one of us. She loved us that much.
I had made a profession of faith when I was 7 years old. My Papaw, Mama’s Daddy Baptized me. But as years went by and I grew up, We started attending here at Trinity. It was a different church. I mean people who met in shooting range? You can’t get anymore special than that. I remember Mama was just so excited the first few times we visited. She couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved the preaching and teaching. Fast forward a few years later. I finally got fed up because I never was a question asker. If I didn’t know something I would try to find the answer myself because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my questions. But we had been going to church here for 3 or 4 years already and I needed answers about what they believed. Mama loved God as fiercely as she loved us. Even more so. I mean you couldn’t look at her some days because she had such a glow about her, for me, as a visual person, oftentimes I had a hard time understanding where that glow came from. So after asking her if she would explain everything to me finally she sat with me and shared with me and explained to me in full detail the church’s beliefs and understanding of God’s word, and what God’s word really says about being a Christian, about why God sent His son to die in our place. And it was as if I had heard the gospel for the first time almost as if a light bulb had just come on in my head. Wow!! Thank you Mama! It’s not me!! Its all Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. He bore my sins, every last bit. I didn’t even pray a prayer, it was literally a light bulb moment. We don’t have to rely on our own merit, it’s nothing that we have done but only what Christ has done! Years before people would ask me to give my testimony of how I became a Christian and it was ALWAYS something that I did. My sinful pride was in the way of what Jesus had already done. It was the tender heartedness of my mother who brought me to the cross and let Jesus do the work in my heart. I didn’t even pray a prayer, I didn’t walk down an aisle I had already been baptized so I didn’t feel like I needed to again. Because that doesn’t save you. It was all self centered before and all about me. It was never about Jesus or God. I don’t know how many times before that light bulb came on, that Mama gently told me the gospel all the time. ALL DAY, everyday. And I don’t know if you knew this about her. But she prayed for people like no one I ever knew. She WAS the definition of a prayer warrior. BUT she never let on that she was. She was genuinely so. She NEVER, was like the Pharisees in the Bible, she was NEVER, ever showy about her faith. She just Let Jesus rule her life and shine through her. No one had ever taken the time to explain things to me like my mom. She made you feel so special and so important like no one I ever knew. She made you feel like you were living in a time when every one was friendly to everyone. It was as if time actually stood still when you were around her. People tell me all the time about all the above. She was like that because she let Jesus be the ruler of her life. She loved him with all of her heart, soul, strength and mind! And truly loved her neighbor as herself. She showed tough love with those who were not living in a such a way that is pleasing to God. As hard as it was for her to do that, she came to me so many times broken over the situation and asked and pleaded with me to fast and pray with her that these she was so broken over would repent and come fully to the cross, laying all sinful pride down as she witnessed me do,she did this because she knew that life is fleeting and she would rather know and rest assured they had a mansion being prepared for them in heaven, because THAT was what was important to her. Memories on earth were special to her, but knowing she has full assurance she would spend eternity with everyone she knew was more important to her than any memory that she had on earth. She would often tell me, “Earthly memories will fade but eternity is forever.”
When I said earlier she was my best friend. She really was. She had more conviction than anyone I have ever met. Even though, I too, love the Lord just like she did, does. I can’t believe she is gone. The day Elizabeth called me and told me what had happened, my heart dropped in my stomach. I didn’t understand why this had happened, why God would let this happen? But it’s like one of her dearest friends in this church wrote so beautifully yesterday, if her death brought even just one person fully to the cross, she would then know, her tragic death as terrible and unthinkable as it was for all of us who love her and truly knew her, then all that she did and all that she was wasn’t for naught.
I’m so glad my last thought of her was giving her a hug and her telling me just how much she loved me. This goodbye I have fixed in my mind. Is not forever. Life is so fleeting and is but a vapor. Love your family and friends, and hug them a little longer, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring forth. But if you were like me, living a lie for so long, I hope Jesus brings you all the way.
Thank you, Mama for showing me what Love truly is. Kiss Nanny and Pawpaw and my babies for me. ❤️ I love you!”