Veter­ans Day for­ever linked with mother’s legacy

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - GENE LINZEY — Gene Linzey is a speaker, au­thor, men­tor and pres­i­dent of the Siloam Springs Writ­ers Guild. Send com­ments and ques­tions to masters.ser­ The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

Novem­ber 11, 2016, will be a mem­o­rable day for me for the re­main­der of my life.

It’s a spe­cial day be­cause it is Veter­ans Day, my sis­ter’s birth­day (Jan­ice), and two grand­chil­dren’s birth­day ( Jesse and Ka­rina). So that day on the cal­en­dar was filled with black ink.

In fact, Novem­ber last year was full. Re­turn­ing from Cal­i­for­nia in time to at­tend a grand­daugh­ter’s wed­ding; we voted in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion; I re­ceived a new cell phone – with the usual prob­lems; we both had doc­tor’s ap­point­ments; we took friends to the air­port; Carol had Wed­nes­day Bible stud­ies to pre­pare for; we had Thurs­day choir re­hearsals; I planned to get caught up on my writ­ing; we would sing with the JOY Choir in Fayet­teville and eat lunch with them….

But sud­denly, the cal­en­dar had red ink.

Some­time af­ter noon on Fri­day, Nov. 11, 2016, one of my sib­lings called and in­formed me that our 97-year-old mother had en­tered Heaven at 11:30 that morn­ing. If there’s any truth to the phrase “part­ing is such sweet sor­row,” it fit when I re­ceived the call.

Mom’s ac­tive mem­ory had dis­si­pated years pre­vi­ously. I am the third of 10 chil­dren — the old­est of five boys — and when­ever I vis­ited her, she would give me a blank look and ask who I was. The fol­low­ing sce­nario took place sev­eral times on each visit:

“What’s your name — who are you?”

“I am Eu­gene, your first-born son.”

“You are … Eu­gene? Stan­ford Eu­gene, my son? The Lord bless you, sonny-boy.” And we hugged each other. I was gen­tle be­cause of her age and frail con­di­tion.

Three or four sec­onds later, mom asked, “Who you are? Are you here to visit some­one?”

Al­though all learned in­for­ma­tion re­mained stored in her brain, the “data-re­trieval sys­tem” no longer worked. Mom couldn’t re­call if she had been mar­ried. An un­mar­ried brother took care of mom, but of­ten she didn’t know who he was. Since mom lived in the minute-by-minute present, noth­ing up­set her be­cause she couldn’t re­mem­ber any­thing to be up­set about.

But I know who my mother is!

When I re­ceived the phone call, mem­o­ries be­gan flood­ing my mind.

Be­tween 3 and 5 years old, I would of­ten ask “Mommy, can I brush your hair?” I don’t know what mom thought about it, but she handed me the brush and at least pre­tended to be happy about it. She made me feel big by ask­ing me to “help” her cook. I might have been more of a hin­drance, but mom never let on about it.

But of the mul­ti­tude of mem­o­ries that I ac­crued dur­ing the 20 years prior to mar­ry­ing Carol, one stands out in vivid, full-color de­tail: it was mother’s night-time rou­tine for most of the first 10 years of my life.

Mom (or dad if he was home) would tuck us in bed and pray over us. Then Dad went back to study­ing and mom went to the old, up­right pi­ano. Singing, her beau­ti­ful con­tralto voice gen­tly wafted into our bed­rooms as she played her fa­vorite hymns. I fought sleep be­cause I wanted to hear her sing. I learned more of the joy of the Lord and Bible doc­trine through mother’s singing than in all the ser­mons I heard for those 10 years.

Mother gave me a price­less legacy. It was lis­ten­ing to her singing that helped set my course in life. My choice of mu­sic, my man­ner of wor­ship­ing God, my love for the Lord Je­sus Christ, and my love for mankind came from my mother and her love for the Lord.

Oh, I also re­mem­ber times when I dis­obeyed mom. At a height of 5-foot, 4-inches, she didn’t put up with any guff from us. Dad was a U.S. Navy Chap­lain and gone a lot, and mom ruled the roost quite hand­ily.

With 10 chil­dren, mom loved us the best way she knew how. We kids, in turn, loved mom the best way we knew how. Both sides had faults, but our love was true.

We drove to Cal­i­for­nia to cel­e­brate mother’s life. It was sweet sor­row for all of us.

Now, a year later, I think of mom and smile. I know she is with Je­sus whom she dearly loves, and her mem­ory is fully re­stored.

Thank you for teach­ing us about life, mom, and thank you for teach­ing us to love the Lord. I love you, and I’ll see you in heaven.

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