(June 10, 2000)
Were gathered together today to remember and respect Nana. Nana received the name "Nana" because when she became a Grandmother when Carol Ann was born, she thought she was too young to be a Grandmother, so she wanted to be called "Nana." Nana has been the centerpiece and focal point of the family for nearly a century. We all love Nana and we all will miss her.
Nana would be pleased to know that family and friends are gathered together today. It was her favorite thing to do. We have gathered together with Nana for decades. She would want this to be a joyful occasion. Shed probably want us to hear the Charleston, which she danced for us so many times (play a little of the Charleston).
Nana gave us strength, courage, determination, and also much love, kindness, warmth and forgiveness. Today God, we ask that all the happiness and comfort which Nana has given us, you will give to her in heaven.
Aunt Kay, Aunt Honey and Dad, you were wonderful children to Nana. You loved her and you took care of her when she needed help. Nana always told me how grateful she was for her three children. She would say: "Where would I be without my children?" You should always feel good about what devoted children you were to your mother. And this is especially true for Aunt Kay who shared her home with Nana for so many years. Aunt Kay, you not only gave your love to Nana, but youve been a wonderful example to all of us. And I hope that I will be as good to my mother when she is in need as you have been to Nana.
Nana always maintained her optimism, her hopefulness and gratefulness. The six of us, Judy, Brad, Kevin, Max, Mariel and I last saw her on Easter Sunday. I told her we were going over to my Mom and Dads for Easter dinner. Nana knew it would be her last Easter, but she didnt focus on that, instead, she said: "Oh, we had so much fun together for so many years, didnt we? Ive had such a good life." Then she said to the kids, in her strong, clear, optimistic voice we all have heard: "I hope all of you have as good a life as Ive had. Ive had a good, long life, with so many people to love. God has blessed me, and may God bless you." This is typical of Nanas outlook: grateful, hopeful and thankful.
Nana had a wonderful sense of humor. On her 95th birthday party, which was at my parents house, Nana had received money, which was always her favorite gift. As the children were being served pieces of the birthday cake, she said to the kids, facetiously: "Now, be careful not to drop any of that cake on the carpet. I dont want to have to use any of my new birthday money to clean up this nice carpet." Isnt that typical of Nana?
When Judy was pregnant with Brad, our first child, Nana asked how her pregnancy was going. Judy told Nana the doctors said that during pregnancy, women shouldnt drink or smoke. Nana laughed and said, when she was a young girl, all women were never supposed to smoke or drink at any time, and how times had changed.
Nanas greatest characteristic was her ability to love others, and the way she was loved by others. This is a great example for all of us. Nana loved the young ones, the old ones, the quiet ones and loud ones. She loved us all. She accepted us exactly as we are. Her love for us wasnt conditioned upon our achievements; we didnt need to earn Nanas love, she gave it to all of us. She knew the importance of love in relationships. These are some examples of Nanas love for us.
When my father was a boy, he broke his arm seven times in seven years. One time he broke his arm because he jumped off the roof of their two story house using a bed sheet as a home made parachute. None of this made Nana stop loving my dad, although she did make him take a lot of Castor Oil as medicine whenever he had an injury.
For Nanas 75dI birthday, we all met at Aunt Kays house. We each wrote a message to Nana. My mother wrote to Nana that Nana was the matriarch and head of the family. My mother wrote how she appreciated that Nana never interfered in their marriage and she was grateful that Nana loved her and treated her like a daughter rather than a daughter in law.
Nana always spent extra time and attention with people who she thought needed a little more love. She always spent extra time and attention with my brother Rich. Nana would say: "Some people need a little more love."
Teenage boys dont generally volunteer to spend much time with their elders. But Brad, our teenage son, often wanted to visit Nana. He said he loved her, and she was like a walking time machine. Many of our visits to Nana were because of Brads encouragement. Nana had the ability to touch all of us, and it was because of her unconditional love for us.
We all want to know that Nana now is in heaven, she has life everlasting, and well all be together again some day. How can we be sure that Nana is in heaven? For those of us who doubt, for those of us who wish we had more faith, how can we be sure? Im sure Nana is in heaven. Its Nanas love for us that lets us be sure. Nanas love for us reassures us of Gods love for us. And once were reassured of Gods love for us, its easy to have faith that God will forgive our sins, well have life everlasting and well be reunited with God and our loved ones in heaven. That is all we need to know. That makes everything else make sense; well be reunited with our loved ones in heaven.
John, in his first letter in the New Testament, has taught us that "We love, because God first loved us." Nanas love for us is proof of Gods love for us. God has revealed Gods love for us through Nanas love for us. If you ever doubt Nana is in heaven or God loves us, just remember all of the ways Nana loved us. Nanas love for us reassures us of Gods love for us. And once were reassured of Gods love for us, its easy to have the faith that God will give us life everlasting and well be reunited with our loved ones in heaven.
Nanas love for us is a wonderful gift, not only for the happiness it gave us on Earth, but for the reassurance it gives us of the life everlasting which God will grant us in heaven. We will be reunited with God and our loved ones in heaven. And were grateful to Nana and to God for these gifts. Amen.
And now, let us pray.
Dear God, we remember before you this day Nana. We thank you for giving her to us, to know and to love as a mother, mother in law, grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother and companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before. Amen. (modified from Book of Common Prayer, p.493).
Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, deal graciously with Aunt Kay, Aunt
Honey, my Dad and all of us here in our grief. Surround us with your love, that we may not be
overwhelmed with our loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come. Amen. (modified from Book of Common Prayer, p. 494).
Dear God, we pray to you for Nana whom we love, but see no longer: grant her your peace; let your light perpetual shine upon her; and, grant, 0 Lord, to us who are grieving, the spirit of faith and courage, that we may have strength to meet the days to come with steadfastness and patience, and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those we love. Amen. (modified from Book of Common Prayer, pp. 504 - 505).
Written and delivered by Scott Beaumont