Richard Decker is a second-year English master’s student at Liberty University. His eulogy for his mother, on her recent passing, speaks to God’s transforming grace and the hope we have as Christians that God’s love will fully restore us to our true selves, made in his image and for eternal communion with him and our fellow creatures.
When I think back to the good that my mother did during her lifetime, what comes to mind is a person who, despite everything, made it clear that she loved me and was on my side—no matter what. My mother showed me how important it was for me to stay strong and to break the cycle. She gave me a love for music and for people. She taught me the importance of being down-to-earth and open with one’s thoughts and feelings, and she always made it clear to me that I could tell her anything. I believe what I am trying to say is that through all the cloudiness, I was still able to see glimpses of a person who loved and cared so much for me and for others and did her best to show that love. But as I said, these were glimpses.
For when I would look at old pictures and hear stories of my mother when she was young, I must admit it was always a surreal experience for me. Because the young woman in those pictures and in those stories—the young woman that many of you knew and loved so well—I knew only in photo albums—in glimpses.
As my mother and I would tell jokes with one another, I would see glimpses of that young woman who walked the hallways of Cider Ridge High School, laughing and having a good time with her friends. As I read my mother’s cursive on my Christmas and birthday cards, I would see glimpses of that young woman who loved sending similar cards and letters to her friends and relatives. As I would see my mother dressed up for a get-together with family, I would see glimpses of that young woman who aspired to be a model—and had her aunts and uncles drive her to modeling classes. As I would watch my mother tidying up the house, I would see glimpses of that young woman who would babysit her cousins and clean up their house solely for the sheer joy of seeing things tidy. As my mother showed me the ills of addiction, I would see glimpses of that young woman who wanted so much to be a nurse so that she could care for and look after others. I would see that young woman, every now and then, through these small actions that my mother would take—and I loved her for that.
And above all, my mother knew Christ and trusted in Him. And I know that she is now with Him in a state of peace—no longer afflicted by the demons of this world—no longer consumed by its cloudiness. You know, I heard once—mostly through rumors—that when people enter heaven, they tend to look like their younger selves. I do not know how much I trust such an idea, but I believe I do trust the symbolism behind it: a symbol of purity and innocence that reveals that we as believers are able to see each other as our greatest selves when we are once again with our Heavenly Father.
I believe that such an idea is close to the truth because I also believe that when my time comes—when I, too, am with my Savior—I will also be with my mother again, and I will be able to not only see her but also that loving and caring young woman—no longer in glimpses, but in a full, bright, and beautiful image—to whom I will say, “Joanie! Mom! There you are! I knew you were there that whole time—and I love you for that.”