On the Anniversary of My Mother’s Death

As I was sorting through storage boxes last weekend, I was surprised to find the pages of the remarks I made at my mother’s memorial service. She died 22 years ago today (November 5), and the service was held a week later. Mom had requested that each of her children prepare something to read at the service. Though we had been far from her heart and life for decades, our mother still expected her children to honor her at her death. Some of us did. Of her six children, my brother Norman, sister Sandra, and I attended her memorial service and shared our words.

Here are mine. November 12, 1999.

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But Now She Sees

I had the privilege of singing “Amazing Grace” this afternoon at the memorial service for a dear woman and longtime member of my church. Rosemary was 97 when she died. Her losses of hearing and sight began when she was in her fifties.

To end the hymn, I planned to repeat the first verse, the last line being “Was blind but now I see” — a reference to the author’s spiritual change after becoming a Christian.

But it turns out that God wanted something different. For when it came time for me to sing that last line, the words we all heard instead were — through no prior thought of my own — “She was blind, but now she sees.”

My voice shook and tears fell as I sang those words directly to Sue, Rosemary’s daughter, from whom I sensed a beautiful peace. I cannot adequately describe this precious moment, but I hope you get at least some idea from what I write here.

Rosemary sees. After 40 years. Now. In heaven gazing clearly at her God with love and awe.

I tell you, there is no greater joy for me than singing the Truth.