My mother passed away on January 28. I gave a eulogy at her funeral. I purposely cut it short. What follows is the entire thing.
A lot of people have been asking me, “Is there anything we can do?” and while in the coming weeks and months, I’m sure there will be things that will come up. Right now, I can say there are three things you can do to honor my mom.
Pray for someone. – Anyone. Pray for us. Pray for the lost word. Pray for those that are having job problems, or having trouble starting a family. Pray for someone. Because that’s what she did. I saw it all the time. As a matter of fact, if you are here, and knew her, the chances are highly likely that she prayed for you.
Help someone. – I can’t remember the number of times mom helped someone. She would call to see how people were doing. She’d organize food when someone died. She coached softball. If you’re one of the girls that mom coached, she looked at it as helping you. So help someone.
Make someone laugh – Mom loved to make people laugh. 25 years ago she heard a comedian by the name of James Gregory do a bit about airline pilots showing up drunk. The punch line to the bit was that next time you were on that airline, and they came to take your drink order, just say “I’ll have whatever the pilots are having.”
Last Monday my mom is at a hospital in Jasper. They are determining if they should airlift her to a hospital in Chattanooga. As the medics from the helicopter are checking her, they say they need to consult with the pilot. One of them asked my mom, “Can I get you anything?” According to my dad, she looked at them and said “I’ll have whatever the pilot is having”. And they both laughed.
My mom loved making me laugh, and the best way she could make me laugh was by getting one over on me.
When Sarah and I were planning the wedding, Sarah told me that she might not get a completely white dress. She said, she might pick one that was off-white, and wanted to know if I was okay with that. I said, “Sure.” So a few days later, she, my mom, and her mom, all went to pick the dress out.
I came back home, and asked mom, “So how did it go?”
She said, “Well, we got the dress. But it’s not white.”
I said, “Oh, yeah, but it’s like an off-white, right?”
I stood there, feeling all the blood rush out of my face and into the pit of my stomach, and then mom busted out laughing. I started laughing too as I realized, that she had pulled one over on me.
A few years ago when mom wasn’t doing very well, Amy called me and told me to come to the house, that mom wasn’t acting right. Later we found out she was just suffering from a small dip in her blood sugar, but at the time, I had no idea what was going on and feared a stroke.
Remembering I had once saw on television that if you thought someone was having a stroke, ask them to stick their tongue out and if it drooped to the left or right, you could be right.
So I asked her to stick her tongue out for me. What I had failed to realize, is that she knew this too! And she intentionally stuck her tongue out to the side and then started laughing!
The Jeopardy! Story
My parent’s cable television provider gives them the option to watch both the Atlanta broadcast stations, and the Chattanooga broadcast stations. Several years ago, Jeopardy would air at 4:30 in Atlanta, and the same episode would air at 7:30 in Chattanooga.
Now when we watched Jeopardy at our house, we competed. If you yelled out the correct response before anyone else, including the contestants, you earned a point. One particular night, I had come home and mom had Jeopardy on at 7:30 on the Chattanooga station.
The first clue came up about Jimmy Carter. She got it right. Then she got the next one. And the next one. She ran the first category. I was stunned. Then she got the next three right, before I realized she had a note pad and had wrote all the answers down from earlier in the day.
“HEEEEYYYYY” I yelled.
“HEEEEYYYYY” she yelled back.
And we both started laughing. She had got me again.
Pray for someone, Help someone, and Make someone one laugh. If we do these as often and consistent as she did, we too will have a life well lived.