Sunday, April 29, 2007


The house is quiet this morning. Last evening Micki, Morgan's mother, then Audrey and Bob, my sister's daughter and her husband, and Julia, Greg, and Gregory Paul left on their flights home. This morning I took Macon, Kellsey, Aidan and Honor to the airport for their flight. Walter and Morgan are sleeping, and Carol went back to bed after rocking Honor one last time this morning. Mary and I have been IMing some. But I have also been to church to set up the coffee for the service, and come back. Morgan and Walter will be here until tomorrow morning, when they fly back to Austin.

We had the memorial service for Juanita yesterday morning at our church. (Friday we were in Atlanta for the interment.) There were a lot of people there, and that surprised us. I had proposed to Carol earlier in the week that we hire a caterer for the lunch that we planned at our house after the service, but she was confident that people from church would bring enough food. During the service, however, she was having second thoughts about that. The Lord helped me whisper "Loaves and fishes", when I wanted to express my own anxiety. "Loaves and fishes" it was, even though the house was jammed with people, again more than we expected, and there was more than enough food, enough food to feed us for supper too and enough food to take to church today for the light lunch after the service.

The service at our church was just wonderful. Van did such a great job. I had asked Ed Sagi to come and play the piano for the service, and he did his usual great job.

Ed and I went to high school together. He sang the part of Curly in Oklahoma our senior year, a smash hit that the drama department took to the Dade County Auditorium after it did so well in our school auditorium. Ed went on to teach music in our school system, and lead church choirs, as he continues to do in his part time. For awhile, he was our music minister. He goes to Epworth from time to time and sings and plays for them. My mother loved him, but she was always careful to tell me that I had a better voice. [I absolutely don't.] And so I called Ed to play and of course he said yes.

Donna sang. We chose the Old Rugged Cross for her, because of Mary's post. Donna was going to mention that to the assembly before she sang, but she was afraid she would cry, so she didn't. She just sang wonderfully. It was in her upper range, and she is not respectful of her upper range. She has a low alto voice, full of tenderness and passion. But her upper voice is beautiful too, and she moved us all.

Walter spoke. Sometimes lately I have seen "open microphones" at funerals and memorial services, and an offer is made to anyone to speak. Those aren't always good. I have seen family members also speak in eulogy, sometimes to great effect, but sometimes much too sadly and weepily. So we offered it to the grandchildren, and they decided Walter should speak for the family. I had visions of his speech at his rehearsal dinner, which went on, as I recall, several hours. Or the one he made a Macon's rehearsal dinner, where he cried and made the rest of us cry. It was a high risk assignment, but he did it just right. Just right. He told two stories about Juanita that captured perspectives of her that were just right.

I spoke to two men during the service and luncheon who were about my age and whose mothers had died. I discovered that they too were surprised at how those deaths affected them. Of course you expect to mourn and to feel the loss. But you don't expect to feel like a little boy who has lost his mother in some busy department store. You don't expect that, but you feel like that. I feel like that, and it was helpful to find out that this is not uncommon.


Sean Meade said...

this is why we have the internet: so fathers in Miami can IM their daughters in Kenya

Sean Meade said...

and good job Walter. i am amazed that you and Carol don't explode with pride in your children.

Scott said...

Thanks for sharing, Paul. Rejoice and fret not, for you haven't lost your mom. She's simply at home.