Thursday, April 7, 2011
In honor of Gran
I’d never spoken at a funeral before – until Saturday.
The minister, Dennis Loyd, gave a wonderful eulogy to my mother-in-law. It was from Proverbs 31:10-31.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
“She will do him good, not evil, all the days of her life.”
Fran Hefley was a preacher’s wife. And she stood by her man. The two were practically inseparable – a shining light to all who knew them. Phil Hefley preceded her in death – in 1998.
After the minister finished his remarks Saturday at Granny White Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn., he asked if anyone would like to share a favorite story about Gran. No one stepped forward. He started back to the podium. I jumped up.
Teary-eyed, I had to share my love and respect for my mother-in-law.
I moved to Fulton about 25 years ago. Not long afterwards, Phil and Fran came to town. He was the new minister of the Church of Christ.
I was single, past the age of 25, and a lot of old and kind ladies at church were getting concerned about whether or not I would ever get married.
“Just holding out for the right one,” I said.
A couple years later I was asking the preacher for his daughter’s phone number. And just a few months after that, I was asking Phil and Fran if it was OK if I asked their daughter to marry me.
Not only did I pick the right wife, I chose the right in-laws.
Fran Hefley died Wednesday morning, March 30, just four days shy of her 82nd birthday (April 3).
She was a wonderful lady. Her traits were all good.
The Saturday before her death, Pam and I visited her in ICU. Gran, whose speech had been altered by mini strokes over the years, wore an oxygen mask and we had difficulty understanding her.
I kissed her and told her, “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” she replied.
Her memory was as sharp as ever. We talked about many people, good friends of hers and ours, from days gone by.
Then before we left the room, she left me with the example I want to remember most about my terrific mother-in-law.
She put the Lord first. Her family was next, and then others. Later came herself.
A couple of months earlier we had lost another family member – Pam’s uncle Bill. That day (March 26) would have been Bill’s birthday.
Struggling to talk, she mentioned Amy and Jennifer, Bill’s daughters, and letting them know she had not forgotten Bill’s birthday. She had planned to send them flowers but then she was hospitalized.
Gran was in ICU, on the verge of death, and instead of thinking about herself, her thoughts were on others she loved. Later one of Pam’s sisters, getting instructions from Gran, called to tell us to please call Amy and Jennifer.
In Proverbs 31, we read – “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
“She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
“Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
“A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”
Gran left us with great memories and lessons of what matters most.
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