This past weekend I went to the funeral of a 95 year old woman who I knew from my former church. For many years, Mom and I would sit in front of or behind this wonderful woman and her extensive family during the worship service. Beryl was a neat lady. She would tell you exactly what she thought, she had a firm hand on her 3 sons, 2 of whom were my high school Sunday School teachers and mentors, and she loved life. She listened to opera, watched sports, rode on motorcycles and 4-wheelers, shot firearms, and loved her church.
She had had to raise her boys without her husband, who was killed when the boys were young, but she raised them well. The two I know, Larry and Alvin, are highly successful professionally and wonderful fathers and men. They used to ride their motorcycles to church and exchange bike magazines once they got to our classroom. I remember Larry once answering the question, "What did the kitchen of your childhood smell like," with the succinct answer, "Scotch." As I said, Beryl lived life to the fullest! Thankfully, knowing Beryl and her sons, I knew that Larry's answer was surely true, but not an indication of a difficult home environment.
Beryl's funeral service was very thoughtful, and a reflection of her. We sang many hymns, some of the great hymns of faith, and we said an affirmation of faith that includes the lines, "We are not alone. We live in God's world. ... In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us, we are not alone." How fitting. And finally, after songs were sung and words were spoken, we concluded the service with a rousing send-off: "Oh when the saints go marching in!" Perfect for the woman from New Orleans who lived life to the fullest.
I told Larry that if, by the end of my life, I was half the woman Beryl was, I would know that I had lived a successful and full life. God bless her!