Recently, before my mother, Mary Jane, went to Heaven I had the good fortune to sit down to a meal with her and tell her what a great mother she had been to me. I knew I was making a memory for myself that I will always cherish but more importantly I didn't miss my chance to say the most important words I could say besides 'I love you'. As I was looking over her room this week I realized suddenly that there was so much more I should have taken the time to say during our walk together on this planet and it made me a little sad to think of how different I could have made our mutual life if I had expressed all those fine thoughts while she was alive. It makes me think of the words of Rudyard Kipling who said, "No one thinks of winter when the grass is green."
Most of the time our conversations centered around and about other people- friends, family, clients, celebrities, politicians, musicians and Hollywood stars. She could talk to everyone about everything but she always brought Jesus and the words of the Bible into each and every conversation no matter who she was talking to and I admired that ability she possessed. I have tried to emulate it to the best of my ability in my adult life and I believe that it has made a tremendous difference in my walk with God through the years. I have seen others- friends, family and customers follow suit so I know she has kept her promise to God which was to witness for Him. I'm sure she started a chain and that many people became good witnesses for Christ because she was always mindful of being a faithful witness. She's probably enjoying the fruits of that labor right now. There is no need to weep for Mom but I know that most of us who cry- on the inside or outside do so because we will miss those conversations and her special way of making people feel good about themselves and the world. Her last words to me were, "I'll fight for you." Perhaps she was contemplating joining the forces of the Powers.
I have been looking over some of the comments sent to me by friends and family on the Newcomer web site and in cards and letters she has received over the years. One card that caught my attention was a computer generated card made by our brother Patrick Frazier. He wrote, "Through the years, we've always been able to talk about anything. Not many sons can say that, because there aren't many moms like you. And especially on Mother's Day, I just wanted you to know that I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful mom. Happy Mother's Day, Love your son Patrick". I believe he captured one of Mom's best traits in that first sentence- and she had a lot of good ones. I remember her telling me when I was in my young teens that I could tell her anything. That was a powerful promise to me. I took her at her word and I don't know if I ever shocked her. She certainly didn't let on if I did. She probably saved me from self-destruction many times over because of those words. I know I'm going to miss that most of all.
Our grapevines yielded a huge bumper crop this year and as I have been gathering clusters I've been pondering a passage of the bible in John chapter 15 where it says : I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener...you are the branches. Those who remain in me and I in them will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When I look around our home I see afghans Mom has made and I know many members of our family and friends alike have been gifted with these. Mom was a prolific and dedicated worker at everything and she enjoyed people in general. My cousin Stephen said in a comment that he enjoyed her infectious laugh and it's true that most things weren't that funny until Mom laughed. That was the true litmus test for a joke, pun or one-liner. I think she taught us all how to appreciate laughter.
A good and faithful client of Mom's, Frieda, sent a card that said, "We wish time spent with those we love would last forever..." and it really brought all my thoughts about Mom these last days into focus. It's true. Why do so many of us get separated by death? I can't answer that but I know that Mom has gone on into eternity and that is the best place to be. I know she had last regrets. She wanted her mail-in ballot so she could get her vote in and missed it by a little over a week. It came in the mail yesterday. She wanted to see more peace in the world before she left and to see Jessica Ridgeway reunited with her parents.
I'd like to close this eulogy with a quote from Charles Spurgeon because she liked his books and I thought this one quote was most excellent:
A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved and were helped by you will remember
you when forget-me-nots have withered.
Carve your name on hearts not on marble.
- Charles H. Spurgeon
Respectively and Sincerely,
The Castle Lady