My friends, I am feeling extremely inadequate today. And I was wondering if you might help me. Following is the rough draft of the eulogy I’ve written for my friend’s funeral that is to take place on Wednesday. I don’t even want to think about how difficult it will be to read it then. But I know that God will give me the strength to do so.
I trust you all, the greatest Christian writers I know. So if you can help me in any way whatsoever, offer suggestions, or corrections or advice of any kind, I would be forever grateful. I take criticism well, always constructively. So please, if you can help at all...
Rosa (“Rose”) Frances Wilkinson-East
April 10, 1931 -- October 5, 2007
I sat contemplating this day, worrying that I didn’t have words sufficient enough to do my friend justice, words sufficient enough to bring her loved ones some small comfort. And as I thought of Rose, it dawned on me that she was set apart among people, that no matter what I or anyone else can say, no amount of words are sufficient for a most fragrant Rose.
In the King James version, 1 Corinthians 13:1 tells us, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” In many other versions it is written, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not LOVE...”
Rose knew and practiced charity. She knew and practiced love. She had a vast treasure that no amount of money could buy, for she was so wealthy of heart.
Whether we live in grand homes, hold positions of great respect or authority among our peers, whether we are familiar with fame or fortune, whether we are of strong bodies and perfect health, what do we have if we do not have love? But Rose’s heart was overflowing with it. She was the most selfless and unselfish person I have ever been blessed to call “friend.”
But she was more than friend to me. She was my neighbor. She was my mother. She was my grandmother. She was my sister. She was my mentor and someone whom I hoped to someday mirror in grace. She was the epitome of grace, of charity, of love. And I consider myself blessed beyond measure just to know that Rose loved ME. And she did. She always told me so. I loved her too.
I was always so amazed that, with those fragile bones that she struggled to function with every day for so, so many years, there was not a bitter bone in Rose’s entire body. Always concerned so much for others, afraid that others would consider her a hindrance, a burden. She could not have known that not only was she no hindrance, but those of us she allowed into her life considered ourselves blessed just to be there.
I cannot imagine anyone dealing with the trials of life that she endured and maintaining such grace, such humble pride, and of all things, such genuine compassion for others. But Rose was special that way, always putting others before herself.
She loved. She laughed. And despite the adversity, Rose truly lived. She lived because she knew that to live without love is to not live at all. And in her love for you, in her love for me, she was a teacher, a teacher in that she taught us by example the kind of life we ought to live, for she truly, truly lived.
And yet, Rose lives still. Though her aged and broken body no longer houses our beautiful and fragrant Rose, she lives. She has taken on a new body, immortality. Now, she still lives and she lives pain free.
I cannot speak for her, but I truly believe that if she could speak to us today, she would say to us “Be kind to one another. Embrace one another. Love one another. Laugh. Truly live.”
We do honor to Rose in that we love and live. May we remember her always with a smile. Though she is and will be so terribly missed, let us rejoice in her freedom. Rose is not gone, but waiting happily and healthily and whole in a place that is truly home. The time will surely come when we will see her again. And then, this day, tomorrow, and every day after on this earth, will seem so very short. So let us live and love today, just as Rose would have it.
An angel danced ‘cross the shore
and across that great divide,
the scent of roses in the air
and stood at another angel’s side.
She whispered, “Rose, let’s go home.”
Rose eagerly took her hand.
As she’d not done in so, so long,
she smiled at the wonder - She could stand!
She stood there for a moment,
boldly stretched her arms up high.
Two angels danced so gracefully,
to a brand new home, across the sky.
She bends her knees easily,
to bow down before the King.
And at the coming home of Rose,
a host of angels began to sing.
How they rejoiced in heaven.
Happy tears fell to the ground.
Another angel has gone home,
a most fragrant Rose, no longer bound.
It’s quite alright to miss her.
But know that she’s always near,
in a better place, made for her,
where Christ wipes away every tear.
I saw an angel dancing,
so gracefully ‘cross the sky,
no tears, no pain, and no regrets,
such a contented, angelic sigh.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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Oh, that these perfect, beautiful, heartfelt words could be said of all of us when our life on earth has ended. God has adequately supplied your need here, and He has done it well. May He comfort you with the same provision.
Treava... this is an eloquent tribute to Rose and will be a focal point for the 'celebration of her life' on Wednesday! Your own love comes shining through each word just as it will when you read it... I should say 'share it' because it will be a beautiful gift to Rose's loved ones! Well done, dear friend... you write and speak from your heart and God is guiding your way. With love, Peggy
Hold my hand. Although we are not in the same space or time, hold my hand in this time of sadness, hold my hand over the miles of hurt and pain, hold my hand and I will get you through, hold my hand as if it were just me and you, hold my hand, and calm your fears, hold my hand for I am near, hold my hand and never doubt what your love was all about, hold my hand on this day, and look to the days to come, hold my hand and listen to the memories of the past,smile and wave because I haven't gone far away. Hold My Hand. - Lisa Walker
My dearest Treava, I for one do not see how this could be improved on. It is beautiful and it is from your heart, depicting a most beautiful and Christ like woman. I think that what you wrote is just PERFECT as is. I love you, Sharon
Dear Joyce. I don't usually read the comments at the end of an article until I have added mine, as I don't want to be a copy cat. But in this case I did. I agree with all the friends who have commented. This eulogy could not be improved on by anyone. It will be a great tribute to Rose. You have said all that is in your heart (well, I am sure you could say a lot more, but wouldn't want to make the eulogy too long). So my advice, for what it is worth, is--GO FOR IT. ... If you want, and ONLY if you want (although no addition is necessary), here is a little poem I have used for loved ones passed on....
Dear One Dear one, we do not weep for you.
You're safe in Jesus' arms.
You're walking, talking with your Lord,
free from this world's harm.
Someday we'll meet with you again—
when Christ comes back to earth
to claim the souls that, through His blood,
He's granted his New Birth.
'Til then we've said our last "goodbye."
We'll miss your smiling face.
Your presence added "spice" to live,
your death, a vacant place.
It's absolutely perfect - don't change a thing. I am so sorry for your loss - but happy for Rose. One of the most heart warming funerals I ever attended was for the Pastor who started our church back in 1954. Everyone spoke about how he must be having a wonderful time with Jesus right now. At the end of the service we were all rejoicing for him. Tell them to be happy for Rose, she would have wanted them rejoicing for her, not sad. You will do fine in this eulogy because you loved her. And don't forget; God is with you. In Christ's Love,