Mom’s memorial service was small, simple and respectful. Richard’s brother-in-law read a mini bio of Mom and gave a brief message. He then read e-mails from grandchildren who couldn’t get to the service, and some in attendance told of their memories.
Richard spoke gratefully of his last visit with his mom. Recently bedridden, she hadn’t attended the Sunday afternoon church service at the nursing home. Richard went to her room after the service and sang the old hymns to her until his voice was hoarse. No longer speaking, Mom had watched him attentively.
And that was it. Richard planned to see her again the next Sunday, a reminder to us all that we never know when a visit will be the last one.
Then one of my nephews surprised me, and I think he surprised almost everyone else there. Always a tease, Phillip used to shoot plastic twist ties (from bread bags) at his sisters.
We all knew Mom as a no-nonsense kind of lady, and were pretty impressed when Phil told us she had sent him a margarine container full of plastic twist ties with the words, “Be a good boy! Tee hee hee!”
On a more serious note, Phil, now 30, remembers his first girlfriend. I guess his mom must have said something to his grandma about it, because he got a letter full of advice to steer clear of temptation. “My son, if sinners entice thee consent thou not,” she exhorted him.
It was just what he needed to hear. He broke up with the girl, kept the letter, and is grateful to this day that he heeded his grandma’s advice. “It was uncanny,” he told us. Or was it? Surely the God Who answers our prayers can also give us discernment!
Another surprise: our dinner out after the service morphed into a birthday party! Just as we were finishing our meal, Richard’s brother-in-law began to sing. “HA . . . ” We looked up to see a server bearing a large, candlelit carrot cake, which she set down in front of Richard’s sister.
We went home with renewed gratitude that night for our faith, our family and our heritage.
“ . . . it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9:27