It has been a long, tear-filled day. But what a privilege to listen to what others had to say about my precious mother. At the funeral, others had a chance to tell something about Mom. I was so blessed by their words. There were also some folks from my church who never knew my mom but came because they know me. One of them sent me an email later that said this: “Without knowing her personally I got a glimpse into who she is and how she lived. Very special lady, and I was stirred to go love on my family.” Oh, how I loved hearing that. Mom would have loved it too.
To everyone who has sent me emails and messages and cards, thank you. I will treasure them forever. Thank you for your kindness and words of comfort.
What follows are the tributes written about Mama by her two children and her four granddaughters. These were read at the funeral, but I wanted to share them here as well.
Robin & I were lucky to have such a mom as we did. She taught us that we could have most anything we were willing to strive and work for and the faith to understand that there were reasons for our good for the things we couldn’t achieve, even though we might not understand what they were at the time. She taught us to be happy with what we had and that the important things in life were the joys of a loving, happy family and that material things were not a requirement. She loved Robin and I unstintingly and even when she had to “punish” us for the errors we made, as all parents have to do, we knew in our minds and hearts how much she loved us and all of our family. I cannot describe how proud I am of the values she instilled in me as an adult and a Christian. She taught us that we were expected to meet any obligation we took on and that debts are always paid and the satisfaction of making our own way. She showed me that help and support to others should be freely and cheerfully given and without expectation of return. Cast your bread upon the waters and it shall be returned to you tenfold. There is so much more that is in my heart that I cannot make my brain put into words, although I’m certain the words will come to me next week, next month, or next year. I count on the Lord to make sure she knows how much I loved her in return because I’m certain I didn’t tell her often enough while she was here with us.
Rick and I are a couple of the lucky ones. We grew up in a home full of love and laughter, and that love and laughter has been a constant our entire lives.
We lost our daddy early. Rick was two and I was only four months old when he died in a plane crash. So it was just our mom, our grandma, and us in our home. I know we never had much money, and Mama had to struggle to buy a car when necessary or to make repairs to the house. But for the most part, I don’t think we kids noticed any lack of “things,” probably because Mama put us first before herself. She taught us the love of family, and she encouraged us to pursue our dreams whatever they were.
As we’ve gone through old photos in the days since she died, we’ve come across quite a few from when I was a little girl, wearing frilly dresses and petticoats, every hair on my head in place. Mama did like to dress me up.
After I married and was a mother myself, Mama occasionally lived with my family, like she did after she broke her ankle and then stayed on for a couple of years to help with my daughters. But it was in 1996, when Jerry and I built a new home with an extra bedroom, that we invited her to come live with us permanently. Mama was in her early 80’s then, still driving, still active, and she was delighted to be able to live with us instead of alone. I know she was blessed to be there, but I was blessed even more.
Mama’s bedroom was at the foot of the stairs in that house. When I would come down from my office early in the morning to refill my coffee cup, I often found her in prayer or praising God in song or reading her Bible. Oh, the example she was to me of what it meant to be a woman of faith, especially what it meant to be a prayer warrior. In fact, she was the inspiration for the heroine of my novel, Ribbon of Years, a story about living out one’s faith in a life filled with hardship. Ribbon of Years turned out to be Mama’s favorite novel, and she read it at least a dozen times over the years. But even when I told her that she was the inspiration for Miriam, she didn’t see the resemblance. She was too humble for that.
Today there’s a big hole in my heart where my mom fit in, but she’s been longing for heaven for a long time now, especially after becoming wheelchair bound last year. It comforts me to know that she is in the presence of her Glorious King, that her body is no longer frail and used up and in pain, that she is laughing with her husband and mom and dad and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends who all went before her. I wonder if she’s already been introduced to the mothers of some of my dearest writer friends, Tammy and Sunni and Karen and Frani and Gayle and Sharon. I can easily imagine these seven ladies talking about the stories their daughters have written and have yet to write. My mom always liked to brag on her kids, and I doubt she’s stopped doing so now, just because she’s arrived on Heaven’s shore.
Mama, I love you. Knowing you’ll be waiting for me in heaven makes me long for my Forever Home more than ever.
My mom with her four granddaughters on her 90th birthday
WENDY & CHERI’S TRIBUTE (Rick’s daughters)
One of our favorite memories is when The Treasures (Grandma Cille and Aunt Phoebe) came to Pawley’s Island with the whole east coast side of the family. What a magnificent time we had! We remember hoping we would always have the kind of relationship that they ( The Treasures) had. They giggled in their room like school girls and told such wonderful stories of their very full lives. What an example, and what a beautiful legacy.
MICKI AND JENNIFER’S TRIBUTE (Robin’s daughters)
Grandma Cille was unconditional love. We were so fortunate to have her around our whole lives. She helped take care of us when we were young. She was there to love us when we were teenagers and probably didn’t deserve the love she so freely gave. She was also there for us throughout our adult lives. She showered love upon us and our children. She gave freely of herself and resources and never expected nor wanted anything in return.
She taught us love and kindness by example. She was a legacy of love that we hope our family will pass on from one generation to the next forever.
How very thankful I am that I was born to Lucille J. Adams and that God gave us so many years together on this earth. How even more thankful I am that I will get to spend eternity with her.