My Memaw Luerene Moore left behind a rich family heritage
This past week has been like a blur for me after hearing the news about the death of my grandmother and the subsequent funeral plans in the early part of last week. Of course, I wasn't about to miss this, so I rented a car and drove the 500-mile trip from Spartanburg, South Carolina to Bolivar, Tennessee to be at my grandmother's funeral.
It's amazing how fast everything happened. Last Sunday morning, my Memaw Luerene got up, dressed for church and went faithfully to the Lord's house as she had for most of her life. She told a few people she wasn't feeling well that day, but nobody really thought it was serious. Later that evening, though, she called for an ambulance to come get her because she was having a heart attack.
Over the next 24 hours her body began to shut down and her health was only being supported by machines. My dad and the rest of the family knew she was gone. Early on Tuesday morning, my cell phone rang from my father and he let me know about Memaw Luerene passing away. Although I didn't know how I was going to get there, there was nothing that would stop me because that woman meant way too much in my life for me to miss the chance to say goodbye and honor her by being at her funeral.
What's strange is I had dropped off my wife Christine in Virginia just a few days earlier to spend some time with her family in the Virginia Beach area for a couple of weeks, so she was not able to be with me on this trip (although she so desperately wanted to). Within a few hours of hearing the news from my dad, I was on the road. My brother Kevin was also on his way to Memaw's funeral with my mom driving him there from Pensacola, Florida since she didn't want him to be alone on the road with his poor health (he's feeling better since they put a new stint in, but he's still not out of the woods).
Memaw Luerene lived to be 77 before going home to God
When I got to the funeral home on Tuesday night, my brother and mother had also just arrived. We walked in together to see some faces of family members I frankly hadn't seen since I was in high school nearly 20 years ago. It's a shame how we lose touch with cousins and aunts and uncles when you don't live nearby, but that's a byproduct of living a busy life hundreds of miles away. What I was most surprised by were all the children of my various family members.
Man how time flies. My little cousins had all grown up and now had children of their own. It was Memaw Luerene that brought us all together in this place. But I wonder what would bring us back together again after this. I'm working with some of my family to put together a contact list of addresses and birthdays so I don't miss out on anything else happening in my family from here on out.
The funeral itself on Wednesday afternoon was beautifully done and I was asked along with the other grandchildren to be one of the pallbearers. Carrying that casket was as heart-wrenching as it was an honor for this woman who meant so much to so many people in the Moore family. As we placed the flowers that were on our lapel on top of Memaw's casket, it was a final farewell to this great human being.
In the past year, my Memaw Luerene got herself a cell phone for the first time. Now, you've gotta know how funny this is because she has been talking on the telephone her entire life nonstop. I'm not kidding! LOL! She did love to talk about anything and everything you could think of and then talked a little more after that. That was my Memaw Luerene (maybe that's why I love to blog so much!).
With the cell phone plan she had, though, there were limited minutes during the daytime so she couldn't call much at that time. But nights and weekends were FREE and she took full advantage of it. I think I heard from Memaw at least every other weekend for the past 12 months. When she'd call, the first words out of her mouth were, "I hope I'm not bothering you." My answer back to her was always, "Memaw, you are NEVER a bother, so please call me anytime."
The increased frequency of her calls this past year was as if she knew he time was running out on this Earth and she just wanted to show me and the others she called how much she loved us and cared for us so very much. There was never a doubt in my mind about that throughout my entire life. This amazing woman endured some of the most grueling life circumstances you will ever hear about, but she never complained a bit about it. She simply lived her life as an example for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
That love she showed all of us was a God-infused love and Memaw Luerene's faith was as strong as any other person I've ever met. I remember seeing Bible verses sprinkled all through her house along with pictures of Jesus hanging on her wall while we were growing up. Although she was so dirt poor that she was on welfare for most of her life, she let the joy of the Lord be her strength in everything she did. That's the legacy of Luerene Moore that will live on in her family for many years to come.
While we all miss her terribly, we really do know that she's in a better place now. Right before the funeral ceremony, I was standing beside my brother Kevin with my arm over his shoulder as we walked up to the open casket one more time to see this dear lady who given life to our dad so that we would be born. My big ole brother looked over at me with a tear in his eye and said, "We know where she is today, don't we?"
Yes we do, Kevin! And I'm so glad to know Memaw Luerene is walking those streets of gold beside the crystal sea as she heads towards that mansion that God has for her in the land of the sweet by and by. I love you, Memaw, and will NEVER EVER forget the love and sacrifices you made for me in my life. Your sweet presence will always be fondly remembered and cherished until the day the good Lord decides to take me home, too.
With this, I say a final farewell Memaw Luerene Moore. Tell Jesus hey for me.