Today was my mother-in-law's funeral. It was not only the culmination of a long and fruitful life but it was also the end of a grueling season of “caregiver” for my wife. Okay, grueling is an unfair descriptor. The last week was grueling but the months before that were tiring, yes, but also a great time for my wife to show her mom how much she loved her by taking care of her as her health declined. She did a masterful job and I am very proud of her. She showed everyone around the situation (and there were many) exactly how it is supposed to be done. I hope my kids were paying attention.

I was asked to speak at the funeral, to provide the eulogy, and, in the spirit of the political environment we are wallowing in, I am providing my transcript in its entirety below.

I’d like to thank you all for coming out today. It is a great testament to the person Evelyn was that so many of you are participating in the celebration of her life. I am speaking today because Evelyn asked me to. She had this whole service planned a long time ago which should not be surprise to anyone that knew her well.

I entered this family over 26 years ago and was loved from day one. Initially, Evelyn was excited because my dad was a Baptist minister which meant Hope was marrying a preacher’s son. She eventually came to love me for different reasons but, even at the end, she claimed her favorite picture of me was when I was sporting some serious poofed-up evangelist hair.

Even though I was a late comer into the fold, I still have my share of stories.

She spent an entire Sunday morning introducing me to her home church as “Hope’s fiance, Ray.”

She cooked one of the best Sunday dinners on the planet and never again having her dressing on Thanksgiving could very well leave a permanent void in my life.

She was always the most stylish woman in the room. I never saw her dressed down--she could even make a warm-up suit look classy. When she got to the point where she needed to start using a cane she had me look on-line and find some fancy ones she could use.

She had a weakness for one particular television show. Unfortunately it was a show that never ended, a continuous feed, 24/7--QVC. Her addiction made for some interesting Christmas and birthday gifts. I regret I never was able to get the combination pedometer/dictation machine to work correctly.

And the woman was social. I don’t know that I have ever met someone who enjoyed the company of other people more than Evelyn. It wasn’t ever out of desperation or a fear of being by herself--she genuinely loved hanging out, laughing, playing cards, eating with her friends. She was always either hosting or going to a gathering.

And I am happy to announce to all in attendance that she is currently partying like never before. And she was more ready for this party than any other party in her life. Really, it is an understatement that she was ready. My dad, currently a chaplain with Hospice, has often told me that you can judge a persons emotional health by the way they deal with death. Anyone that visited Evelyn in the last few months of her life knew she handled it well. She was ready, assured of her destination and was impatient to get to that final party.

I can see her know, laughing, wearing a hat, bracelets jangling, working about 15 Bingo cards and waiting for Bill Gaither to join her so she can sing in his choir. And I am glad she will have an eternity in heaven. She has a lot of people to meet.

May God bless you all...

(Check out some pictures from the weekend at my Flikr site, linked on the right side bar)


Laura Jean said...

good job dad. Sorry I missed it.

love you.

Krista said...

Sorry I missed it too. It was a great tribute to both your wife and her mother. Love to you both right now.

Anonymous said...

Hope is definitely a unique and remarkable person. She would most assuredly make the "cool people I've had the opportunity to know" list. You guys aren't too bad, for white folks.