I’d rather go to a saint’s funeral than a sinner’s party. Marking a life well lived calls me higher. Reminds me to live in such a way that my grandchildren will remember my love and follow my faith. Such was my mother Agnes’s farewell.
Mom was the sweet and sticky stuff that held our family together, like the syrup in her puffed wheat squares. I miss her more each year. She died at ninety-five in November of 2014.
My father, my siblings and I stayed close over the last days of her life. We couldn’t let her leave alone. It seemed right to wave her off, like she always did for us; at the window, at the door, in the driveway. For even short leavings, Mom always waved. Our turn had come.
My eldest sister Sandra died at fifty-four, fourteen years before Mom. Adopted as an infant, Sandy was the first of many babies Mom welcomed into our home. Losing her still hurts. But today I rediscovered a sweet reminder of them both.
Sandra’s youngest daughter Twyla couldn’t make Mom’s funeral, but she sent this letter. Her older sister Darlene read it:
“Grandma, THANK YOU. Your tiny stature never betrayed what a “giant” lady you actually were. The risk of adopting a baby girl as a young single woman is the first evidence of that. Mom would tell us of the miles you walked to pick her up and carry her home. Your kindness and love did not end there. Having the addition of three birth children, you took on the challenge of raising two more children – I’m sure there were more – with disabilities. Your heart was so large, it moved you into action. Only time would tell how far it would reach. It reached me.
“Mom knew how to love because of you. She accepted everyone without hesitation because of your example…. This she has passed down to her children. We live daily by the example you gave her. We are your legacy...and proud to be.
“You were a giant in strength and character, but also in faith. I rejoice with you today, united with your Saviour. Reading posts on Facebook recently, your faith has been most commented on; an example to your children and grandchildren. A beautiful legacy.
“…I still remember a letter you sent to me. The opening line was, “Are you dead?”!! It was the humorous kick I needed to get writing you again, and spoke to the spunky Grandma we all knew lived in that little body!
“You were a wonderful lady and I loved you. I will see you again someday, and then I can respond with a joyful “yes” to your spunky question, and you, mom and I can really catch up!
“So, thank you, Grandma, for your heart that moved you into action to give an unwanted baby a home, which in turn gave her children a heritage of love, acceptance, humor and faith. I am grateful.”
So am I.