No song title today, no song lyrics to create more backdrop to what I’m posting.
This one is all about mom and my oldest sibling Bill. As we laid mom’s ashes to rest in her home state of Rhode Island, Bill had prepared some words to be read at the service.
Back in Texas, we had a reception (I think that is the correct word, but it still doesn’t seem right) for those who wanted to pay respects upon mom’s passing. The turnout was amazing, including several of my friends who stayed the entire time. But, as the shirt in the photo above suggests, mom wanted to go back to Rhode Island.
And since that 1800 mile trip was not exactly a convenience for our family’s friends and loved ones in Texas, I thought I’d post the eulogy that Bill prepared for anyone interested. The consensus opinion of those of us in attendance on September 27, 2016 in North Kinstown, RI was that it was wonderfully done.
Thanks, Bill, for allowing me to post your words here.
Without further introduction, here it is. Along with some photos that you can look at while wiping the tears from your face.
Thank you for making the effort to be here and spending your time to honor Margaret Kathleen Hutchins Leeming, known as Mom to me. Mom was born July 12th, 1939 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island to James Edward Hutchins and Norma Sommers Hutchins, and was the older sister of James Edward Hutchins Jr. and Rosemary Hutchins Jensen. Mom married my father, William Leeming Jr. in January of 1960, and had me, Lois Kathleen, Robert Allen, Glenn Michael, and John Thomas. We settled in Mansfield, Connecticut, where we lived until our family moved to Burleson, Texas in May of 1975.
Mom began working for the Burleson Independent School District around 1978, where she worked in the registrar’s office at the Middle School for over 25 years. Mom built a life for herself in Burleson, eventually becoming a Grandmother to 5 grandsons and 4 granddaughters, as well as 2 great-grandsons. After her retirement, Mom was active with the Burleson Senior Group, Burleson Retired Teachers Association, enjoyed bingo, and an occasional gambling trip to the Oklahoma casinos. Mom also went on a number of bus tours, visiting much of the United States, having a great time making friends on the bus while seeing the sites. She had many friends in her retirement complex, who have missed her terribly.
I would like to share some of my favorite things about Mom. Mom was a caretaker and she loved that role. She always helped out caring for her grandchildren……picking them up from school, watching after them, and always having coffee ice cream on hand to share. Mom was a great cook and she always enjoyed preparing Thanksgiving Dinner, Easter lunch, or any other meal for our get-togethers……we enjoyed her meals so much, we tried to duplicate her Easter this past year – but we couldn’t get it to come out quite the same (and we didn’t have her famous smushed carrots).
I loved that Mom was a huge fan of baseball. She passed on her love of the game to us (well, at least her boys) and we all have had many conversations about her favorite players or the games she watched or attended or the baseball she cajoled from Mickey Rivers. Though Mom was a long time Red Sox fan, over the years she switched her allegiance to the Texas Rangers. She followed the Rangers extensively, catching most of their games on TV, and fell asleep to them during the west coast games – I know we all miss watching those games with her.
Lastly, Mom was a lot of fun – and we have the grass skirt picture to prove it! Although Mom lived the last 40 plus years of her life is Texas, she always remained a proud Rhode Islander…….and that is why we are here today….. to honor her wishes and return her to her parents. However, we must remember that we are not really leaving her here……. she will continue to live through us, in
our hearts, in our memories, in our mannerisms, in our kids, in the words we speak (but not with her accent), or in the things we love, simply because she loved them. We will always have her….. we are her living legacy.
I would like to share some words of comfort from Bible. In the Old Testament, David, who was a man after God’s own heart, praised God for being a caring and dependable shepherd in Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul, He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me………. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The support provided by this passage comes from allowing the Lord to shepherd us……first through contentment (The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want), then restoration (He restores my soul, He guides me in paths of righteousness), and then through comfort in dealing with tough times (Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with
me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me). This Good Shepherd offers us the ultimate – continual mercy and eternity with Him (Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.)
This passage promises God’s continual presence and it greatly encourages me, especially at a time like this. And where David’s words bring hope in grieving the loss of Mom, Jesus’ Promise, found in John 14: 1-6, bring the joy in knowing we will be reunited with her in heaven……. After Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples, on the night before His crucifixion, He spent time with the disciples, comforting them about the events that were about to occur. Jesus said to them:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”….
I had a conversation with Mom shortly after her sister Rosemary passed away, and I was assured of her faith in Christ…..so I know she is now resting in the room prepared just for her. Even though we are sad, we need to find joy in the fact that she is in Heaven with the Lord, free of any pain or sorrow.
There are days when I reach for the phone to call Mom to give her an update on Mason’s games or fill her in on the cool projects Kendall is working on and I know my siblings feel the same. And when I remember she is not here, I just think about where she is, and I feel better. I also hold close to the truth that she will never really be gone because of the love she poured into each of us.
Please pray with me.