During an arrangement conference this week, I asked the survivors what type of music they wanted at their mother’s service. “She loved old-timey gospel music.” was their reply. The two women sitting with me were very sweet, and they had loved their mother deeply. We finished planning the details of the next few days, and they left the funeral home.
The following day, they, their families, and friends arrived for their mother’s visitation ceremonies. Their group was very friendly and courteous. My husband had a selection of older gospel songs playing on the memory movie, telling the story of their mother’s life. The numerous flower arrangements were beautiful, and the accompanying cards expressed sweet condolences. When the visitation ended, the two women came to me and thanked me for a fine service.
The next morning was their mother’s funeral and these women, along with their families, arrived about 30 minutes early, as we had discussed. They were each a little emotional. They would be burying their beloved mother in about two hours, and the realization of the ensuing event was becoming unavoidable for them. They each relied upon their husbands and adult children for strength and support.
It was a wonderful experience to see a family rely upon each other with trust and love. The husbands were strong and supported their wives. Their children were tender and helped their mothers face the difficulties and pain of anguish, as it hit them squarely in the heart. The funeral began, and pianist played the prelude and postlude with old gospel music tunes in honor of the decedent.
As we began the committal service at the old country cemetery, these two daughters sang one last song to their mother. It was an “old timey gospel song,” the type their mother loved so dearly. The large cypress tree offered a welcome shade from the hot Texas sun, and their harmonies were beautiful. With tear stained cheeks, they listened as the preacher delivered final rites to their beloved mother. It was then that I realized, my cheeks were stained too. The beauty of their deeply expressed love for the beloved mother was so evident in their courteous behavior, their beautiful music, and their support for each other, that I realized their mother had spent many years honing the legacy of love within her family.
These women and their families will miss their departed loved one very deeply. Their grief will be painful and sorrowful. They have an advantage over death, however, that they have not yet realized. They have the legacy of love that their mother imparted to them during her lifetime. While she prepared them for life, she also prepared them for her death. She taught them the importance of respect, love and supporting each other. These principles are the basic foundation of society and success. They are the foundation of charity and grace; Christ’s saving mission. These women and their families offer these basic principles to each other naturally; they are built into the core values. Their mother made sure of that. She raised her family with a legacy of hope and success that they would be able to survive without her physical companionship. She taught them respect, love, and the art of supporting each other during times of weakness, in hopes that on that gloriously anticipated day, they would meet again at the feet of their Lord and Savior. Their mother’s legacy will lift them up and see them through the days of their sorrow and pain. It will give them strength to be the people she wanted them to be.
Their thoughts and prayers went with her as we placed her in the earth, but her strength and goodness will remain with them for the remainder of their days. The refrain “God be with you ‘till we meet again,” rang through my heart and brought tears to my eyes, but the strength it plants in the lives of those who believe is a priceless treasure. One that can see them through the pain and sorrow of grief.