It seems I have not sent an update on Mama in a long time, though it has only been two weeks. But oh, what a two weeks it has been.
On Christmas Eve, Katherine’s mama, Betty, died unexpectedly. Betty was also my surrogate mama. She was such an integral part of our lives, the void we feel will be long in filling with retelling of stories of Betty and the impact she had on so many.
Betty was a true southern belle. Possessing classic beauty and grace, she demonstrated command of her environment raising five children on her own while also impacting her community to a degree, and in ways, rarely seen.
As the county health nurse, nurse and head nurse of the local hospital, and retirement center nurse, she vaccinated a large swath of children through the years and medically treated an even broader set of folks from the remote rural setting she commanded.
I use the word “commanded” here because Betty commanded the stage wherever she was. She commanded not with a pushy way, but rather with natural leadership and compassion.
Betty was the mold, which will remain unbroken in the form of her children and in the countless lives she helped mold. Those carrying forward the “shape and essence” of Betty was evidenced at her viewing, church service and graveside service. So many tears, so much laughter, so many folks.
There is so much more to say about Betty, and say it I will. For now, as a way of acknowledging Betty’s impact on me, I add her now as dedicate to this poem, written in memory of Christine (Winnie) Winston and Hoyt Hudgens, Residue. (I am copying this poem at the end of this post for easy reference.)
Wipe away the tear and take the next step in a life filled with bold intent and laughter. Betty commands it!
Mama was in fine form yesterday and I kept the entire room in rapt attention, even garnering a few comments from the gallery. Aye Gosh! I may have missed my calling as an orator. 🙂
Where in the world do we go when we die?
Can you really swallow it’s up in the sky?
Maybe it’s hot if below we go.
Does it really matter? Do we really need to know?
What will you change? What will you do?
If I tell you now about residue?
Residue you say? What does this mean?
After living your life, residue is what you leave.
Residue in the lives of those you have touched,
Thoughts in the minds of those you have loved,
Pain and sorrow for those who love you,
Eased by the presence of your residue.
Residue spreads through service you have rendered,
Into the lives of those you have tendered,
Reflected in the acts of those you inspired,
Is residue from a life touched by God’s fire.
(Written in memory of Christine (Winnie) Winston and Hoyt Hudgens.)