Aunt Francis' homecoming was held yesterday. I treasure the memories made with her. My first recollection involves her entire house being transported on the back of a tractor trailer to some family land. The story goes that the house got stuck for hours on the bend in the road down at the bottom of the hill close to it's final destination, and visitors still might spy a crack in the ceiling running down its' middle from the moving adventure.
My lasting impression of Aunt Francis rests in her always smiling, laughing, singing as she worked with her hands on some project. She's one of eleven of my dad's siblings- the one that every brother and sister ran to for comfort and a gentle and kind word. She quilted, cooked southern, sewed lovely clothes, read voraciously, listened to soothing classical music, avidly worked crossword puzzle, and she faithfully prayed. These things were were celebrated in her funeral service. Her pastors also honored her by referring to her as a "spiritual momma" assuring us that there aren't many of those out there. Her church family prepared a meal for the scores of our family afterward. How generous. I'd never heard of such a thing before, but Francis told her preacher to give an altar call at her funeral. She wanted to make darn sure to have us all with her in heaven one day. I know she'll be waiting for me when I get there.
Francis loved deeply,and her funeral reflected that love. Daughter, sons, granddaughter, brothers, sister, cousins (first and second), in-laws, out-laws, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and friends flocked together to pay last respects. When the funeral director asked friends to head to the chapel and wait for the family to have a last moment, the room remained packed. Made us all chuckle a bit when the funeral director asked a second time.
"This is all family."
My cousin, the pastors, and her daughter, explained to me that Aunt Francis left them notes in her Bible for them to find upon her death. The letters all said something like this, "Jesus is calling, and I'm finally going home. Don't ever forget how much I love you." The family placed the messages around her in her coffin. Isn't that stunning?
Her daughter talked about how difficult the next few weeks will be with Mother's Day commercialism saturating the culture. Whisper a prayer to preserve her precious heart if you think of it.
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