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Monday, August 30, 2010

Tribute to EEJW

Over the past weekend one of my favorite relatives-by-marriage passed away suddenly. I’ll miss her very much! I think it is odd that I never did mourn and grieve for my father the way I feel about other people who have died since then. Perhaps it is because I feel him nearby so often, and I almost hear his voice on the edge of my consciousness at times especially when I’m doing something that both he and I loved: genealogy. “Look in that direction,” he seems to be saying, and I follow the direction and find what I was looking for—or I find something else that I maybe should have been looking for all along.

This relative who passed away last Saturday morning was a great lady. She was the one who listened to my troubles when I was first married and trying to negotiate my way through the land mines of step-motherhood; she had raised her own six children and taken in a dozen or more others who for one reason or another needed surrogate parents or simply a place to crash for a period of time. She was used to being the go-to person who helped out people who were hurting.

It was more than simply her natural talent—she had trained as a nurse and had gone for advanced degrees later in her life, and she was always either dispensing medical or emotional advice of the wisest kind.

She was one of the most organized people I have ever met. She was one of those who did the major portion of work for the larger family reunions. No matter what committee you were put on, you could always ask her about your responsibility and she’d know what it was you were supposed to do and would have an idea on how you could accomplish it.

She was always ready for any occasion. Every Christmas we drove to the cemetery near her home to put flowers on the grave of my husband’s first son, and often we dropped in to see her and her husband (my husband’s cousin). No matter when we came, she would have something ready to give us as a Christmas present, even if it worked out that we had to go there two weeks ahead of Christmas or the week afterward.

I got to edit her husband’s life history, which he published for his posterity and any of the rest of us extended family who were interested. A lot of us were interested! She figured largely in the story, and what I learned of her impressed me more and more. I knew she was generous; I learned the bounds of her generosity extended farther than I could think. I knew she was smart; I learned she was wise beyond my imagination. I knew she had faith; I learned more of the rocklike quality of her faith.

The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 has nothing on this queen among women.

“Good night, sweet [lady], and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

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