In loving memory and honor of my mother, Sammy LaRue Thomas Deutschendorf, May 11, 1935 - July 21, 2010. |
lessons mother taught us
she planted dill for swallow-tails
and milkweed where monarchs would lay
their caterpillar offspring round
the grass green meadows of May.
the migrants returned then as always;
how quickly her crops were consumed!
but countless chrysalides dotted the dell
tucked inside their golden cocoons.
then early one morning she beckoned
us watch the mystery unfold;
the metamorphosis almost complete
translucent shells gave up their gold.
wet wings greeted the rising sun
and the warmth of a soft summer breeze,
soon butterflies coloured meadow and wood
floating gracefully throughout the trees.
she told us of unseen transcendings
as we watched the born-agains soar;
so certain were we then of heaven
as if we had been there before.
from: At the Water’s Edge
Copyright © 1997, 1998
by J.D. Deutschendorf
(from the memorial service held 24 July, 2010)
It is impossible to sum up anyone's life in a poem, so I have prepared just a short few paragraphs to let all here know more about her.
My mother was a gentle, kind-hearted person who lived life with a quiet grace.
I remember the many times during church services when, standing next to her, I could hear her beautiful voice singing the alto part to perfection. She sang quietly, so one had to be near her in order to hear her. My father, sister and I were truly blessed to be so close to her so often in church.
My mother was also a very good teacher. To daily command a room full of fidgety first-graders and kindergarteners, one must be firm yet patient. To endear yourself to one's students year after year, one must also genuinely care about them. My mother was equally adept at both discipline and love. There are hundreds of her former students, from many nationalities and backgrounds, now spread across our country, who still fondly remember Mrs. D.
My mother pursued her goals with a quiet but powerful determination. She knew that she wanted to marry a Christian man who was not given to drinking alcohol. She found my father who as far as I know has never had a drink of alcohol in his life. She waited patiently for him to prepare educationally for his career, before she returned to college to finish her degree and start her vocation.
She loved learning and taught my sister and I many things she became excited about knowing. We became rock hounds and pebble pups, scouring Oklahoma back-roads for rose rocks and geodes.
She became enamored with Monarch butterflies and cultivated a garden in her back yard to raise them and other butterfly species. Each year she sought to turn-on each class of youngsters to the wonder and mystery of the butterfly’s transformation.
A wise man once said that “a teacher affects eternity, for one can never tell where her influence stops.” My mother’s influence lives on not only in the lives of the hundreds of students she taught, but also in the lives of her original students, her two younger sisters and my sister and me. Her influence lives on in the lives of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and in the lives of her nieces and nephews and her extended family. She cared for us and loved us and she taught us many good things.
Today we remember the graceful way she lived her life and the worthy things she chose carefully to cherish. Eternity is all the better for such a wonderful teacher, and such important lessons rooted in goodness and taught with quiet dignity.
God himself richly blessed my Mother, Sammy LaRue Thomas Deutschendorf, and she allowed His blessing to flow softly through her to those about whom she cared.
Each of us here today would do well to emulate her example. For by so doing we allow God’s love to spread through our lives to the lives of those close to and around us. Eternity could not be affected in any better way.
As the writer of the book of Proverbs indicates,
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
My mother has gone on to the reward she has earned. Let all of us, gathered in this place today, remember her in gentle praise with a simple chorus she loved to sing.
Please join us in song.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah...