This has not been the first time we have been told of Sarah’s death. 54 years ago, our family was in an auto accident on our way home from vacation. Someone tried to help us children understand what was going on; we were three young boys, age 5-3 in a waiting room. We were told that mom was in a cast. We were too young to know what that was. Stanley (being the oldest at 5 years) appointed himself as our spokesman and asked someone else what that was. And not remembering exactly asked, “What’s a
cas … – – – cas … ” The answering adult tried to guess the rest. “A Casket? That’s something you put dead people in. That they would not let us see her, but would let us see where dad was did nothing to disabuse us of that notion.
My mom loved several authors: Emerson, Thoreau, Mark Twain. So, this was happily a case where the rumours of her death were greatly exaggerated.
A few years later, dad was doing a trial sermon at King Street Baptist Church before we moved to Cocoa. That same weekend another family had a wreck. We went back to San Mateo to more rumours of death that were greatly exaggerated.
Sadly, this time there is no exaggeration.
Who was my mom? She was a brave child — brave, not entirely by choice. In the time of the Great Depression she was the daughter of a divorced mother, in an age when people didn’t get divorced. My mother was the daughter of a courageous mother.
This manifested in many ways. She didn’t like bullies. She was known, on one occasion, to stand between a bully and his victim, even though the bully was much bigger than she.
She was a bit of a dare-devil, swinging from tree, to barns, to rafters, and back again. She was athletic: playing girl’s basketball according to the then girl’s rules. She was a certified lifeguard.
One day she was on a raft when a guy pushed her into the water. Just then a boat came over where she was. If she had not been the strong swimmer she was, she would have never met the guy who pushed her in, who ended up being our dad.
She was brave right up to the time she had sons. We brought out the fear in her. We each seemed good at that in our own ways. I did more than my part, climbing on roofs at 23 months, (Sorry Mom.)
She wanted to study music, but that was not a choice she got to make.
As I’ve already pointed out, we were a handful. One of the ways she would force us to chill-out was to play classical music. As my brother pointed out to me, this meant we couldn’t run around because when we did it would make the needle skip. We danced a bit to the music but after a few admonishments had to sit still (well played mom).
These chill times would later have a profound impact on me both professionally and spiritually.
One of the rules of Saturday morning was that we had to let our parents sleep in. It was their only day to sleep in. The TV was on the other side of the house and we watched Saturday morning cartoons. Once they got up, breakfast was made, and for the rest of the morning we had breakfast, and lengthy conversations about almost anything. These were the times I cherished most, as I’m sure many of you who have had such conversations can attest.
One of the ways she still showed her courage was in her pursuing a master’s degree in counseling. She wrote a thesis that combined Literature, and philosophy with counseling. In a time well before Interdisciplinary Studies became fashionable, it was a gutsy move on her part.
She was proud of us three boys, but what most fulfilled her was her marriage to my dad. When he died, 13 years ago, her marriage with him did not end — only its physical aspect.
When she was diagnosed with Myelonoma, she finally moved past that fear that we so often inspired in her. I heard her say, “I might die of old age first; God is in charge.” I think this is important to mention, for no matter what else she was, she was a woman of great faith. But I will leave it to others to tell of that.
So we honour the end of her journey in time on this planet.
Blessed art they whom God has chosen and received; their memory is from generation to generation. Precious in the sight of The Lord is the death of His saints.
May the Lord God remember her in His Kingdom; and may her memory be eternal.