I’ve written next to nothing here about Mama’s death. So many people wallow in their grief and hold it up to the world for all to see, that I’ve been determined that I wasn’t going to. Most of my grieving has been done quietly, sitting on the back porch at night when Victoria is in bed. It brings me comfort to go out there and sit in the dark, and cry then if I need to. Somehow when I’m out there I feel like I’m hanging out with Mama. Maybe she can hear me better out there when I’m alone and away from the bustle of everyday life.
Since I returned to Florida, I’ve had good days and bad days. Most have been in between; like those grey, overcast days when the sun isn’t shining, but it’s not raining or cold. Not a bad day. Just… sad somehow. Since December 30th that’s what my soul has felt like. Not hysterical or inconsolable. Just… sad.
Today is a sad day. But a positive day, as well. Thanks to relatives in North Carolina, I’ve been able to place the order for Mama’s grave marker. Today I sent a copy of the wording on Mama’s marker to my cousin, Joe Rhea, who is going to go to the monument company on Friday to confirm the layout of the marker and get the ball rolling. Joe’s family, including my aunt Martha Sue and Joe’s sisters and extended family, are donating the money to pay half of the cost of Mama’s marker (which is the minimum the company requires to begin work on it). Now that I’m able to move on this, somehow it’s making Mama’s death even more final. This is one of the last things we’ll be able to do for her.
When I sent Joe the copy for Mama’s marker, I found myself just sitting there, staring at what I’d written.
Peggy J. Chaney
May 11 1933 ~ Dec 30 2011
“Well done, good and faithful servant”
I think it was the quote from Matthew 25:21 that got me.
I’d been looking for Bible verses. The standard one, “In my father’s house are many mansions” seems sort of clichéd to me. People use that when they can’t come up with anything else. I wanted something more personal for Mama. When I found the quote that I used, I knew it was the one. If ever there was a woman who lived the life you’re supposed to live as a Christian, it was Peggy Chaney.
Anyway, I couldn’t help thinking, as I stared at those words, that they summed up Mama’s life. I take comfort and pride in that, even as I struggle with the reality of a life without her. Say what you will, but anyone who knew Peggy Chaney would be hard pressed to come up with a more fitting summation of her life and the effect she had on so many people through the years. So if there’s anything final I would like to say to Mama, something that sums up her relationship with God and her gracious spirit, the quote that will be on her marker pretty much sums it up.
“Well done, good and faithful servant”.
Indeed. Well done.