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Eulogizing The Lioness
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Larry Lilly's Letter July 21, 2011
Eulogizing The Lioness
July 9, 2011 my mother, Virginia Holmes, as John Gillespie McGee Jr. stated, "Slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the face of God." She was 97 and until a little over a year ago lived alone with very little assistance.
I often referred to Mom as "The Lioness" due to the fact that she carried the family or some part thereof on her shoulders for most of her life. I am told by people who study such things that the lioness is the basic protector and provider for the Pride. Mom was a lioness in this respect and also in the arena where courage was of prime importance. She was courageous beyond normal expectations. She was divorced once, widowed three times, twice with small children in the balance.
Not only did she bear up under the pressure of widowhood, but along the way buried two of her children, Ernie and Linda when they were far into adulthood. She also bore the pain of walking behind the funeral procession to the tiny graves of several grandchildren. She, as was our Savior, acquainted with grief.
Most parents have high and noble dreams for their children and Mom was no different. Yet, each of us children in varied and different ways were mildly or catastrophically disappointing in our performance. Yet she loved us and when whichever one was doing the disappointing deed, would feel the touch of her hand and hear a voice of encouragement.
Her Life Celebration was conducted by her Pastor Laurie Loveless, of the Elkton Presbyterian Church. Pastor Loveless presented Mom's life interwoven with the beauty of Jesus. I had the privilege of sharing a brief eulogy encouraging the large group to follow the examples set by Mom's stands against what she saw as injustices and to reach down and give hurting people a hand up. I told a few stories concerning courage, stubbornness, and a phenomenal capacity to hold a grudge, only to in the end forgive and forget. Pastor Loveless had mentioned each of the above attributes. At least Mom had opinions in a day of apathy.
Over fifty years ago Mom was asked late one night to take an infant that had just been born for just a few days as there was no chance of the child living. When Mom agreed to do this the worker hesitantly told Mom that the child wa so already addicted to drugs and that she was severally retarded, (the term of the day) that she could not suck. And also, she is black. 50 years ago in our town the word black was a deal killer. Mom said, "The child can't help any of this, bring her on." Against all odds Mom raised the girl to adulthood. One day while the girl was still a babe in arms Mom saw a flyer advertising a cross burning. Having no clue as to just what a cross burning was, my Mom, clothed in the zeal of new experience, picked up the baby and marched off to the cross burning in the hope of learning more about Jesus. When she arrived a hooded man who recognized her, ran out of a circle and said, "Mrs. Kent, (her widowed name) get that black kid out of here, are you out of your mind?" Mom said she came to hear about Jesus and wasn't going anywhere. The man told her the meeting was a Ku Klux Klan meeting and so Mom left. She had no idea.
Her long journey is over, The Lioness is with Jesus, and certainly at rest from an often gruesomely hard journey. Like all children we had our differences with Mom, but we all know that right or wrong Mom stood tall for her beliefs at any given time and when proven wrong would change. She went out to see and touch the face of Jesus with a longing in her heart for the day when we (family) gather down by the river, beat our swords into plowshares and study war no more. May her fondest dreams soon come to fruition.
Larry Lilly Copyright (C) 2011 Use with credit
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