Monday, July 12, 2010

The Ultimate Gift...given by the ultimate lady

On June 27, 2010, the Lord called home Eric's grandmother, Margaret Polly. She was 84 years old. It was a bit surreal. You see, just a week prior we had attended the funeral of my grandmother. And now Eric's grandmother, too, was gone. Two grandmothers to pass away in two weeks seems almost too much to handle. It was and continues to be sad to no longer have them here, but it is also every bit of a celebration to know that these two ladies are with Jesus.

My prior post was a tribute to my grandmother, Mabel Winkler. This post is dedicated to Eric's grandmother, Margaret Polly, whom we all lovingly refer to as 'Mi'. Two days prior to her passing, Mi gave us the ultimate gift. She allowed all of her family members that were surrounding her to see the peace and comfort that she was experiencing as she began the 'passing on' process. Everyone who walked in their home that day undeniably felt the presence of God and saw Him radiating from her peaceful state. She talked of how she was seeing Jesus and she was ready to go to Him. It was beautiful and it was supernatural. It was the ultimate gift.

How I wish you could have known Mi. How I wish you could have experienced her funeral. You see, it was a celebration--a celebration of a life lived well, surrounded by a husband and family who loved her dearly. My sister in law, Heather, gave a beautiful eulogy depicting Mi's character that shown through even in her final hours. Eric wrote a eulogy, describing their years of growing up down the street from Mi and Gigi. They both did such a heart-felt, amazing job that I want to share their words with you:

"In 2 Phillipians 2:3 it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourself.” That verse is a picture of who my grandmother was. We called her Mi, but she was the least “Me” centered person that I have ever known.

She always put others before herself. That is a hard trait to come by these days. Her whole life was a picture of grace and servanthood. I do not remember a time in my life when she was not there for me. Every memory I have of her is good. Going to her home and sitting at the kitchen table with her was a resting place for my heart and soul. She was my safe place. She was complete and total comfort to me.
If you would have told me last week that we would be here today I would have never believed that I could be standing before you with such joy and peace. But Jesus gave us an amazing precious time with her last week and He used Mi’s grace to show us Himself.

Continuing to put her family first, last Thursday she called my Grandfather “Gigi” and my mom into the room and told them that it was time for her to go. She knew it was going to be too hard for us to tell her it was okay for her to leave, so she did it for us. She told Gigi what a wonderful husband he was, and my Mom what a wonderful daughter she was and how she had a wonderful life. She told them how much she loved them. Throughout the day she would reach her hand up twinkle her fingers and she told them she was reaching for Jesus. Mom said, “What does he look like mother,” and she replied “He is wonderful.” Continuing to think of others first, she told Gig, “I can’t wait for you to meet him, but he is better looking than you.” She really said that.

For the rest of the day following she proceeded to tell everyone how much she loved them and how much they meant to her. She talked to so many people that day. Nothing was left unsaid. She even planned this event here today. She told them, we have planned a lot of celebrations in this family, but I guess this is the first time we have planned a celebration for a funeral. She laughed so hard that day. She was so full of peace and joy. Mom has called it “the incredible gift” all week. It was the ultimate gift.

Gigi and Mi had a beautiful love story that is such an example to all of us. You two got to live the dream that everyone wants. I can’t tell you how much we have learned from living our lives watching you two together. It is precious to me. You were married to your best friend. You laughed together and had so much fun. In fact last week I believe she told you she only had two secrets from you in the 65 years you were married, and she would tell you one of them! You served each other faithfully.

Mom, you were such a wonderful daughter to her. She was your best friend and you were hers. She was so proud of you. You were her treasure. Dad, you were every bit her son. She never gave you anything but praise to me. She told me so often what a wonderful father I have. Eric and Adam, she was so proud of the husbands and parents that you’ve become. She spoke often of how proud she was of you both.

I am so thankful that our children were able to know her and be loved by her. The babies, as she lovingly called them, were her joy and her delight. They will miss their Mi.

The Bible describes love so beautifully in the 13th chapter of Corinthians. As I read it through I discovered that it describes Mi as well, because you see Mi was patient, and she was kind, she did not envy, she did not boast, she was not proud, she was not rude, she was not self –seeking, she was not easily angered, and she kept no record of wrongs. She always protected, always trusted, always hoped, and she now perseveres.

I cannot express what a privilege it is to be Margaret Polly’s granddaughter. I have heard over and over this week what a lady she was. She lived her life so well and she was full of grace even in her death. She was a picture of Christ’s sacrificial love in every way."


~Heather


"‘Mi’ is what we call her. Gigi were the words that came out for him. I guess when you’re the first grandson and you’re around your grandparents, toddler words come out and ‘Mi and Gigi’ were the ones that stuck. So from then on she was known as Mi. I’m writing about her because for those who know me best it doesn’t take a lot for me to tear up. So it probably wouldn’t make sense if I was up here.

So here we go….I would describe Mi best as a servant’s servant. She was always concerned about everybody besides herself. When we were celebrating Holidays, or at the lake it seemed like she never sat down. Always making sure we were taken care of. She never let us get up for seconds--she would be right there and re-fill our plates.

Growing up we also lived in Canterbury, so you know what that means….Mi and Gigi were right down the street. They had all the great food, little debbie’s, mini pizza’s from the Schwann’s truck, Coke’s, Sprite’s, everything that we didn’t have in our fridge. Instead, our refrigerator had Tab and Rice Cakes and occasionally, if we were lucky, chocolate jello that chilled overnight in the fridge (Heather probably remembers). So you can guess that I rode my bike and dropped in on Mi and Gigi’s and their refrigerator on a regular basis.

One of the reasons we moved from Nashville to Louisville is so my kids could have some of the same experiences I did growing up close to the Grandparents. Growing up with Mi and Gigi were some of the best times of my life.

Just the other day my 12 yr old Joshua was asking me about scholarships and college. First of all, I can’t believe he’s 12 and asking me those questions already. But I did what any Dad would do…I explained as best as I could. He asked me if I got a scholarship and of course I said I got several offers from all the big schools (not really), but decided to stay here and go to Murray State. He then proceeded to ask me how I got to go to college. I answered, “because of Mi and Gigi. They took care of everything.” He said, “Wow, that’s really awesome…and I said, “yeah, that’s the way they are.” Being a servant again….thinking of others.

In Proverbs 31:10-31 the scriptures talk about a good woman is hard to find and is worth far more than diamonds. She’s up before dawn preparing breakfast and planning her day. Her children respect and bless her…her husband joins in with words of praise. Many women have done wonderful things but you (Mi) have outclassed them all.

My wife and daughter did a bible study together called Proverbs 31 Princess. If Mi was in the bible study she would be considered the QUEEN of Proverbs 31.

Thursday was the last time that I got to see her. It was a beautiful day. The previous days she didn’t have a lot to say, but Thursday God brought her out and it was non-stop talking. Once again, she was concerned about me….my job, my family, and she asked about my van…do you like it? How does it drive etc…..once again….thinking of others. Not concerned about herself…..even in her last days which she knew were coming to a close.

You know that’s what Jesus did for us, he thought of us, sacrificed himself on a cross for our sins so we could have the opportunity to live with him in heaven. And as she stretched out both of her hands so confidently and ‘reached’ for Jesus, I pray that we will do the same. Reach for Jesus….draw close to him….and think of others first….Just like Mi did throughout her life and is doing right now next to Him."
`
~Eric




***This picture is of Eric's grandparents, Mi and Gigi, celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary on May 9 of this year.***

5 comments:

Cathy said...

How special. What a wonderful gift and now a gift to others like me.

筱涵 said...

愛情是盲目的,但婚姻恢復了它的視力。............................................................

曹依潔曹依潔 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份..................................................

姿柯瑩柯dgdd憶曾g智曾 said...

人生有如洶湧的波濤,如果沒有岩石的阻擋,怎能激起美麗的浪花?............................................................

Amy said...

Maria: Reading this with tears in my eyes. I always felt from the moment that I met all of you at Kelle and Adam's wedding that you were a special family. I couldn't have been happier when Adam came into Kelle's life. I had never thought anyone worthy of my special friend until I met Adam and then, you all. It most certainly began with Mi and Gigi. You all are so fortunate to have such a wonderful example of a Christian wife, mother and grandmother in your lives. Kelle just sent the pictures of the lake..I loved the t-shirts! A perfect dedication! Thinking of you!