(from the service celebrating Bigma's beautiful life, 1/22/11)
Hi, I’m so proud to be Bigma’s great granddaughter, Kelly Muse (Woodward Sprinkle). I wanted to say a few words today because I’m so blessed by my Bigma and all that she has taught us…and I’m so proud of her.
As I sat down to try to put into words all that Bigma means to us, I realized that this is an impossible task.
How do you capture 102 years of an amazing life lived?
My Bigmama went to meet her Maker on Tuesday evening, but thankfully her story doesn’t end on Tuesday. Her 102 years will continue on. As she rejoices in heaven, we carry her love with us in our hearts.
And so today, we cherish and remember her sweet, gentle spirit, her faith in God, her love of life, her pureness of heart, and her goodness.
Today, we celebrate her love for her family—her daughter (my sweet & beautiful Grandma) and my Grandpa, her grandchildren (Roy, Tracy, Gail & Woody), her great grandchildren (Patrick, Jennifer, Katy and myself), her brothers, sisters and nieces and nephews and extended family.
We celebrate the love she had for her three great-great grandchildren who she completely adored—loved holding them, making them smile and laugh, making sure socks were on their feet! “Does that baby EVER cry?,” she always asked us—but that was Bigma—seeing the best in all of us.
We celebrate her friends and her Sunday School class.
We celebrate my Grandma’s friends, who always brightened Bigma’s day.
We celebrate her green thumb and beautiful gardens.
We celebrate her many talents, fierce independence and amazing strength, dignity and strong character.
We celebrate her beautiful soul and humble nature.
We celebrate her industrious abilities—her ability to fix and to do pretty much anything, including, as Jennifer reminded us the other night, pulling our teeth!
But, you see, that’s just the perfect example of Bigma, because not only would she be brave enough to pull our teeth, but then she would fix our little wounds, she would sew a little pillow just perfect for that tooth, and of course, she would make sure the tooth fairy came to visit.
The furniture she built and restored, the beautiful dresses and quilts she made, the hundreds of clothes she hemmed and fixed up for us, the letters she wrote.
We cherish all of these things.
But there’s one thing we cherish most of all: her faith.
In Psalm 145 it talks about the passing of faith from generation to generation.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
Two Sundays ago, on her 102nd Birthday, as we were packing up to leave that day, Bigma said to me: “You know, my favorite thing is just watching how much you all love each other.”
Oh, my precious Bigma, don’t you know that we learned it from you? That this is the greatest legacy—the amazing love that you had for us that impacted our lives in ways impossible to describe. This is the greatest legacy, Bigma—your faith in God that you passed down from generation to generation.
It was so hard to watch Bigmama get sick over the past week. When I got home on Wednesday morning, my Natalie Muse asked me, “Is B’ma all better now?”
“Yes, she is completely healed—in heaven with Jesus, “ I was able to say with full confidence and faith. She is all better now.
So on behalf of my family, we thank you…we thank you for loving our Bigma…because don’t you know, she was a Bigma to so many of us!
May we wake each day that God gives us and live by her example—may we continue to love one another just as Christ loves us.
We’ll celebrate Bigma’s legacy of love today, and praise God that He has inherited a precious and beautiful servant into His Kingdom. We are immensely and immeasureably blessed by you, Bigma.
A dear friend wrote to me this week:
How God has blessed you and your family with a matriarch that has led you on a path that I am confident is so pleasing to Him. How gracious and loving He is that He has given your beloved Bigma the gift of years to nurture and love multiple generations. That He would see fit to have her welcome those precious great-great grandchildren into a family that honors Him and so deeply loves one another. These are difficult days but let us praise an omnipotent, loving and caring God for Bigma's 102 years with us. How comforting is it that He has Bigma's name written on the "palm of His hand?" Surely she is "the apple of His eye." Her hand and example are both far-reaching. You, my dear, are the very sweet fruit of Bigma's hopes, prayers and her very faith.
Each of us here today are the fruit of Bigma’s love and faith.
If we continue to love one another, this will make Bigma so proud.
As I close, I want you to know (my Bigmama) that you will always be with me, and with us. We will miss you so very much, every day.
In one of my favorite poems, EE Cummings writes:
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in
my heart) I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go, my dear…
So, my precious BIGMA, I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.