There is nothing like a funeral to get your attention. Actually, it was a Memorial Service for Tish, my friend Cyndi’s mother that I attended on Saturday. Cyndi is a good friend and was a neighbor for many years. Our daughters were childhood friends. I did not know Tish well, but always enjoyed being around her at family gatherings or school events for the kids. Her death was sudden and unexpected.
[bctt tweet=”There is nothing like a funeral to get your attention.” username=”MySideof50″]
One word I think of when I think of Tish is that she was ENGAGED. Her children did not move far from the community from which they were raised, so Tish took every opportunity to be engaged in the lives of her children and grandchildren. She talked to her daughters on the phone every day.
And Tish was LIVELY. Not the stand out demanding to be the center of attention kind of lively. But a high energy, attentive woman who always had a twinkle in her eye. At the service, it was said that she did not want her funeral to be LONG or BORING. My sentiments exactly! Family – do you hear me?
Tish’s memorial started with some congregational singing of some of the old timeless hymns that she loved. Boy, how that moved me. The hymns of my childhood make me feel comforted, loved and reminded of the Truth.
[bctt tweet=”The old hymns make me feel comfort, loved and reminded of the Truth.” username=”MySideof50″]
The past 30 years or so, our churches have been filled with contemporary worship songs, which I love, but when times get tough, I want a hymn. Since I don’t think my kids will know many hymns, I am asking right now that all of my peers come and sing hymns at my funeral. Now I won’t be there to hear them, but doggone it, I want you to sing hymns anyway since I’m sure those are the only songs that Jesus really likes.
Back to Tish – Those who spoke of Tish, spoke of her faith in Jesus Christ. And that no matter how fabulous we all thought she was – a great mom, a great church member and a great friend, she knew she was a sinner just like all of us and needed a Savior. Her Savior was Jesus and I know that she wanted all of us to know Jesus as our Savior too.
Her husband of 53 years, Chico, got up and spoke at the end. Husband of 53 years – that in and of itself speaks volumes. I don’t know a thing about their marriage, but in 53 years there were likely disagreements, heartache and the maybe the temptation to give up. But they held on to their faith and each other. They were steadfast – a word we don’t hear often in our culture of disposable everything – relationships included.
Chico said that the word “suddenly” took on a whole new meaning for him that week when the love of his life SUDDENLY died. He told us to make peace now with anyone with whom we had a conflict. That we are not guaranteed another breath and whatever it is that comes between us and another is just not worth holding on to. Not worth a lifetime of regret at not getting it settled, resolved and forgiven. We KNOW we aren’t promised tomorrow. But why do we always act like we have forever?
[bctt tweet=”We KNOW we aren’t promised tomorrow. But why do we always act like we have forever?” username=”MySideof50″]
At the end of the service as Tish’s family walked out – heartbroken husband, daughters, sons-in-laws, grown grandchildren and their spouses. When I saw them, all I could think of was LEGACY. Tish left a lasting legacy. She prayed for her children and grandchildren every day. She called them out with an appropriate word or just that look that only a grandmother can get away with. She supported and encouraged them. She led by example. And today, the hardest of days, they were together – remembering Tish. Loving and supporting each other.
I’ve thought about Tish and Chico all weekend and the lessons I was reminded of at that service.
- The things that bother me most of the time aren’t worth the time and energy it takes to get upset about them.
- The things that are important are important enough to talk about and to resolve.
- There are expressions of love and affirmation that need to be said and to not wait to say them.
- To always remember that my children and grandchildren are watching me.
- To be more intentional in my prayers for them.
- To lead by example. Just like Tish did.
- To not be careless with my words because they carry weight and will be remembered.
Thank you Tish. You were an inspiration and example to more people than you probably ever knew.
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Cathy Lawdanski is a 50 something writer who is learning to be brave and try new things. She writes about topics that resonate with midlife women - aging parents, adult children, grandchildren, travel, books, food, entertainment, retirement and whatever new adventure she is on!