Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Honor of Nellie

A few days ago, Nellie, my mother-in-law of 32 years, passed away. She left behind two children (my husband and sis-in-law), seven grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. In a simple statement of love and appreciation for her life, we laid 21 long-stemmed coral and pink roses on her grave. There was one flower for every immediate family member including her husband of 50 years, and me. The roses were beautiful; and we think even though Mom didn't particularly love flowers or plants, she'd have liked those. :-)

Her lovely service was presided over by two pastors who knew her in her last years. They had funny and tender stories to share which made us all nod and smile as we remembered. Over 50 people attended, and the pastors got everyone chuckling when they said, "Elvis is in the building," because Nellie had of course requested one of Elvis's hymns to be played. The pastors also talked about the fact that if anyone knew her, they knew she had an opinion (and they knew what her opinion was!). They also remembered her love for music, for studying, for reading, for God.

Now Mom is finally free of her physical pain and worries, and she is Home. There's no more dementia, Alzheimer's, or frailty. If we tried to make her come back, she'd swat us and say, "No way! If I'd known how wonderful this was going to be, I'd have gotten here sooner!" Her death was quite sudden, though we knew the time was not far away. Her health had been terrible for the last year and she was beyond worn out, so her passing is bittersweet. She passed peacefully in her sleep the day after moving to hospice, so she was definitely ready to go. An aide was sitting with her and Mom did not awaken. Years ago, Mom had written instructions about what interventions she wanted and didn't want when the time came, so that helped us tremendously when it came time to make those hard decisions regarding comfort and final care. We had prayed her passing would be peaceful and are grateful God allowed that.

Nellie was born just before the Depression, was sister to three WWII Veterans, wife to a WWII combat Marine who later became a pastor, mother to a US Navy sailor during Vietnam, and grandmother to a combat Marine from OEF/Afghanistan. She served as a pastor's wife throughout Tennessee and central Georgia for 16 years. She taught Sunday School classes and Bible study classes, and she always loved being part of a choir. She had a beautiful alto voice. She had a deep and abiding love for her family, and I counted her as my friend. We all have good memories of times spent cooking together, laughing, special meals and celebrations. Every time we bake a pie or cake from one of her recipes, or cook up some fried okra (a favorite!), we'll all be thinking of Mom.

We love you, Mom, and we're so thankful you're healed now and in our Father's presence. You're in our hearts always. Thank you for your love and care, and for all we learned from you. We're glad you can sing again.

~Joan

1 comment:

  1. I so sorry for your loss.....even at an advanced age it's hard when a loved one dies. I know she will be missed. She sounds like a great lady.

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