We laid my mother to rest today. I was up at 6 am this morning to start the preparations. I went to the cemetery, first thing, to lay the flowers and get it ready for our service. The sun was up, dew was still on the freshly mowed grass and a cool breeze blew. It was so very peaceful.
A verse came to my mind in the drive over. Romans 8:28. There have been many occasions where He has brought that verse to remembrance, mostly on occasions filled with anxiousness and uncertainty so I wondered how He would apply it today.
All things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
The headstone was placed on Friday. When I first saw it I was so emotional I did not realize until later that her last name was spelled wrong. Of course, they would replace it but not overnight. So I was inspired to look for a florist that sold headstone flower sprays. The very first one I called had just made two of them recently. I rushed over to pick one out and it could not have been more perfect. It was so beautiful and it hid the misspelling. Again I heard, “It will all work out.”
A short time later I drove to the park to meet everyone who would help set up for our BBQ after the service. I was thinking of how many times I have planned events months in advance. I would get to that day and my mind would be running through all the details, over and over, how I would manage and execute the plans made months or weeks before. This time it was different. There were plans but not the kind that would have to be orchestrated to the tee because a still small voice was saying, “It will all work out.” Or maybe it was my mom’s voice because she was always saying to me, “It will all work out.”
Gary, the man doing the service messaged asking if there was an agenda. I replied, “I am too emotional this morning to say so I think we should just let the Holy Spirit do His work.” And again the voice, “It will all work out.”
I had wanted to ask our cousin, Jeff, to sing but not sure he would be up for it due to some health issues. So I did not ask. But as soon as I saw him he told me he would sing a song for mom today! No words, God just working it out.
Special friends made the trip down to Desloge to celebrate my mother’s life with our family. It was her longtime friend and her family Julia, Jackie and Quinne, three generations loving on my mom and me and my family. Each of us recalling wonderful sweet and sometimes very funny stories of back in the day.
Debbie, my sister Dannielle’s best friend from high school came. She kind of got lost and was heartbroken to have missed the service at the cemetery but made it to the park. She showed up and it made the day even sweeter.
And then there is my sweet friend from my high school days, Penny. She came, even though she had just lost two very precious family members to cancer within a week apart this past month. She came for me! And that filled my heart to full! There were a few others that could not make it due to illness and life issues but sent their love and prayers for us today. And those I hold dear as well! I believe those prayers contributed to all the beautiful ways God showed His hand in our celebration.
We met for the procession. We placed mom on the back of a dear friend’s bike for her last ride to her final resting place. We lined up and began the drive. The US flag on one of the bikes furling in the breeze as we went. The oncoming cars pulled over out of respect. One lady, who was not a part of the procession, pulled up alongside when we got onto the highway and put her flashers on so no one would pass us. The people in the cars following the bikes stretched for a half a mile behind. Looking in my rearview mirror, my heart swelled.
The sun was straight up overhead as we arrived at the cemetery. Friends and family gathered around to hear the message of Christ, to remember a woman who touched their lives in one way or another. We were there to honor the kind of person who said what she thought, cared about others with an honest heart and delivered her wisdom with a dry humor. The words spoke of her to me by others since her passing, “There was no better woman, I loved her.”
She loved bright colors, flowers and being among friends and family. I know she would have loved it all. I can say for certain her spirit was with us. I love what Gary said, she was not an angel sent to look out for us, to guard us. For angels were created to work for the Lord and each has a duty to do His bidding. She was not working today or any day. She is at rest in the presence to the Lord. Shouting hallelujah and reunited with long-lost loved ones in Christ, whose headstones were representing, surrounding hers. Perhaps she was looking down on us and smiling at the love and honor showed her this day, at least I would like to think so.
We had the privilege of listening to a song sung by one of her favorite singers and mine, our cousin, Jeff. He has been there for our family through many wonderful events and sad occasions. He sang one of my mom’s favorites, The Lighthouse. At that moment, I was taken back to 1984, a moment when I had first heard it sitting beside my mother, in church, where Christ changed our lives.
And I thank God for the lighthouse,
I owe my life to Him,
Jesus is the lighthouse,
And from the rocks of sin,
He has shown a light around me,
That I might clearly see,
If it wasn’t for the lighthouse,
Tell me where would this ship be.
And for that memory and this day I was thanking Jesus for working it all out for good.
My sister, Amanda, and I left her a rose in honor of her but it also honored our sister Dannielle, who our mother was with today. I believe if my sister had been here she would have wanted to sing The Rose. She loved that song and loved singing it. She may have been singing it today for our mom, up in heaven, just maybe.
We ended the day with a lighted lantern. A good friend of hers surprised us with the lantern for Jo Jo. It was a sweet and special moment for all of her friends for these past few years. And they wanted to honor her with a prayer sent up to heaven.
Last but not least, which may seem insignificant to others, but it is a detail that no one else would know about but me and God. When we arrived at the park that morning to set up the pavilion, over to the right side was a US flag on a pole. It was up pretty high up and could not be reached. It was wrapped around the pole it was attached to. I had this uncanny desire to unwrap it and, to see it hanging correctly and flying in the breeze. It was not until we were taking everything down and packing up that I noticed it was completely unwrapped and waving lightly. No small detail ever escapes God and He says in His word,
Psalm 37:4, ‘If we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us the desires of our heart.’
I didn’t fret over the wrapped flag I thought to myself, it is what it is.
Before I left that place His breeze unwrapped the fabric of the red, white and blue. He blew it gently with his breath. He worked it all out. For good.
Rest in Peace, Mom. Thank you for my life. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for showing me how to plan a good party! LOL
SIDE NOTE: she loved to text me at wee hours of the morning, 5 am sometimes, and one time her phone was broke and she could only type in capital letters. And when I type LOL I always think of her text
I want to say thank you to Deborah Soucoucie, Dennis Sweet, Gary Leggans, Mel Brinkley, and Jeff Parsons for having a part in making this memorial happen.