Walking Together in Faith


This is the tribute that I read at Mom’s funeral. It is entitled, “The Heart of a Mother.” At some later date I may translate it, but for now, I will leave it in Spanish. I would love to attribute the source, but I don’t know who it is. I found it on the internet and made just a couple really minor modifications, but it is NOT my own work.

El Corazón de una Madre

Cuando el Señor hizo a la mujer, era su sexto día de trabajo, haciendo horas extras. Un Ángel apareció y trató de detener al Señor. “Esto es demasiado trabajo para un solo día, mejor espera hasta mañana para terminar”.

“Pero no puedo”, protestó el Señor. Estoy tan cerca de terminar esta creación por lo que está muy cerca de mi corazón. El Ángel se acercó y tocó a la mujer. “Pero la has hecho tan suave, Señor”

“Ella es suave,” asintió el Señor, “pero también la hice fuerte. No tienes ni idea de lo que puede resistir o lograr.”El Ángel notó algo y se estiró y tocó la mejilla de la mujer. “Oh, parece que este modelo tiene una falla.”

“Esa no es una falla,” respondió el Señor. “Eso es una lágrima.”

“¿Y para qué son las lágrimas,” preguntó el Ángel? El Señor dijo, “La lágrima es la forma en que ella expresa su alegría, su pena, su desilusión, su soledad, su dolor y su orgullo.”

El Ángel estaba impresionado. “¡Eres un genio, Señor! ¡¡Pensaste en todo ya que las mujeres son en verdad asombrosas!!” Las madres tienen fuerzas que asombran a los hombres. Llevan a los hijos, sobrellevan dificultades, llevan pesadas cargas pero se aferran a la felicidad, amor y alegría. Sonríen cuando quieren gritar. Cantan cuando quieren llorar. Lloran cuando están felices y ríen cuando están nerviosas. Pelean por lo que creen. Se sublevan contra la injusticia. No aceptan un “no” por respuesta cuando creen que existe una solución mejor. No se compran zapatos nuevos pero a sus hijos sí…Acompañan al médico a un amigo asustado. Aman incondicionalmente. Lloran cuando sus hijos sobresalen y ovacionan a sus amigos cuando triunfan. Se les rompe el corazón cuando un amigo muere. Sufren cuando pierden a algún miembro de la familia pero son fuertes cuando no hay de donde más sacar fuerzas. Saben que un abrazo y un beso puede sanar un corazón roto. Las madres vienen en todos los tamaños, colores y formas. Manejan, vuelan, caminan o te mandan e-mails para decirte cuánto te quieren. El corazón de las madres es lo que hace el mundo girar!
Las madres hacen más que dar a luz. Ellas traen alegría y esperanza; compasión e ideales. Sí, el corazón de la madre es asombroso! ¡Bendito sea Dios por darnos a todos una MADRE!

When Great Trees Fall

My wife, Linda, read the following poem by Maya Angelou at my mother’s funeral. It was so fitting and so characteristic of my mother that I want to share it with everyone. This poem appears on other blogs, affirming its universality as well as its particularity.

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down in tall grasses,
and even elephants slumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory,
suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always irregularly.
Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Oh My Goodness!–What an Amazing Woman

The following is the eulogy written and delivered by my niece, Yolanda Patterson, at my mother’s funeral on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, in Columbus, Ohio. Those who knew her would agree that the remarks capture the essence of who Mom was…


“OH MY GOOOODNESS,” the very words “Abuela” said whenever she was in utter amazement. Also the very words that are used as we hear about her AWESOME LIFE!!!

To start, she was married at the young, tender age of 17 and widowed at age 35. With four children to raise and recently moving to the USA only four years prior to being widowed, she overcame many obstacles. “Mami,” as her children called her, never worked a day in her life as a married woman. When she was forced to work for the first time, she did whatever she had to do to care for her children like any good mother would. However, she did this while being faced with the additional obstacles of learning the English language, racism and learning to be a single parent. But in spite of it all, she did it. “OH MY GOODNESS!!!”

“Mama Lucy,” as many new her, welcomed just about everyone into her home (unless she simply didn’t like you). And everyone she welcomed in, she made sure to feed. In fact it was almost a sin if you even thought about not eating at her house. You actually felt obligated to eat because she would go through all the trouble of cooking while waking with a walker. Then she would sit and watch you eat; smiling and shaking her head in an up and down motion as if to say, “I’m proud of you” while you ate, not saying a word. “OH MY GOODNESS” that woman was funny.

What about when she got frustrated. She would call off most if not all of her kid’s and grandkid’s names before she got to the correct person she wanted to fuss at. And then got even more frustrated with herself because she couldn’t get the correct name right away due to her excitement. “OH MY GOODNESS…”

How about the fact that she was hit by a bus as she crossed the street and survived! That’s enough to make anyone say, “OH MY GOODNESS!” Or how about when she would whisper as she told you a secret over the phone and there was no one around her to hear her.

What an AMAZING WOMAN!!! She’s taught the family so many lessons such as; to value family and life-she was happy as she wanted to be when her family was around and she lived her life to the fullest. She was always ready to party, dance, sing and play cards and of course bingo. Nothing stopped her from living life; not work, sleep, sickness, infection, ABSOLUTELEY NOTHING! She made enjoying life her priority and business would get taken care of soon enough.

Oh, and you can’t forget how emotional “Grandma” was. It didn’t take much for “Ms. Lucy” to cry. She definitely taught the family how to cry. It’s so easy for us all to cry that we actually laugh when we cry because we remind ourselves of “Grandma.”

Finally, out of all days to close the chapter of life on earth, it was closed on Good Friday; the very day Jesus’ suffering ended on the cross as He gave up His spirit! OH MY GOODNESS!!!

Entering heaven, eyes wide open, mouth formed in an “O,” looking around at the other angels who preceded her, in amazement as if they had just saw the pearly gates and golden streets for the first time; saying, “OH MY GOODNESS…” as if to say, “Can you believe this?” She is probably saying,
“I should to come here sooner,” with that beautiful accent of hers followed by her famous words,

“Sank you Jesus; Sank you Lord.”

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