Sunday, December 10, 2006

Remembering My 'Surrogate Grandmother'

Today I attended the funeral of one who holds a special place in my heart. Her funeral was truly a celebration of her life. I had opportunity to share a brief memoir of what I remembered of my beloved Auntie Thora who died at 89 years old this past Tuesday December 5th. Having not had the opportunity to experience the blessings of grandparents since they all died either before I was born or a few years after my birth, God brought into our lives a long time friend of my mum's who was not only a follower of Jesus Christ but whose life was a reflector of God's love by the various ways she touched so many hearts in so many ways. She inspires me to not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time I will reap a harvest if I do not give up. Galatians 6:9. Here are my thoughts:

This past Wednesday morning my Mum called me at work to let me know that A. Thora had passed away, I asked myself the question how would I remember A. Tho and at that very moment the Lord brought to my mind the verses from 2 Timothy 4:7-8: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, will award to me on that day.' A. Tho indeed fought the good fight, and finished the race with such grace and dignity and kept the faith. Being a caregiver to Uncle Don for so many years, she modeled what it meant to ‘love in sickness and in health’ by loving sacrificially and selflessly. She demonstrated such kindness, gentleness, diligence and perseverance despite the daily challenges and though she may have been small in stature, her strength was larger than life because her strength came from the Lord.

Auntie Tho always displayed such calmness and contentment. It was obvious that God’s peace was evident in her life and I think it’s because she knew how to cast her cares on the Lord. I don’t think I ever heard her complain about anything. She had the faith to believe that He would be her refuge and Her mighty fortress during difficult times and she had the faith to believe that He would sustain her and give her all she needed, one day at a time for His joy reigned in her heart.

My sister Suelyn commented that her fondest memory of A. Tho was spending Sundays with her in Guyana where she made the first green and white lace dress for the only doll Suelyn ever had as a child. Time together with her was magical and went quickly and she always had the best of snacks and could always capture our attention. A. Tho and U. Don may have had no physical children but God indeed blessed them with many spiritual children and grandchildren. They were and are the spiritual parents and grandparents to many for they knew and understood what it meant to invest in the next generation. They had the ability to talk to anyone regardless of how old or how young that person is/was. And to all who came to her, A. Tho knew how to give advice without judgment, how to listen with compassion and how to counsel with words of wisdom just like her Savior.

To my mum who knew her since she was 16, A. Tho was her mentor and her surrogate mother as she lost her mother when she was a teenager. I am sure there are many here who would say the same. She was never too busy for anyone and welcomed all with such warmth and love.

When I think of A. Tho, she exemplifies for me the servant heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. She served quietly, with such humility for she was never one to seek the limelight or draw attention to herself, she simply sought to encourage and lift others up. I feel deeply blessed to have known her and as my little niece Jacquelyn said ‘we will remember A. Tho in our hearts’. Today, I think we will all agree that there are many people who cross our paths but there are very few who leave a mark/impact on our lives. A. Tho was such a person. Her friendship will forever be remembered as a precious gift from God. She is an example of a life well lived for the glory of God and as she now receives her heavenly reward, I can here the Lord say to her ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’Amen

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