Too many funeralsBy ROBERT STEDMAN,
I broke a record this year. And it's certainly not something to be proud of either. 2018 took me to more funerals than any other. There was an unexpected passing of my very healthy uncle. We had a gut-wrenching overdose on my mother's side of the family. One of my best friends lost his father, who was one of the greatest men you'd ever meet. And unfortunately, several other funerals that had me stuffing myself into the same suit.
By far though, the most significant memorial service was the passing of my mother-in-law, Delores Williams. It was one of the rare times when I sat in a pew and smiled during the eulogy. My brother-in-law delivered it, and I have to admit, it was nice to hear him talk about something other than Ole Miss. Okay, so I had to get a subtle dig in there. He's an in-law. You get that, right?
Truth is, my wife's brother eulogized his mother with the perfect combination of sincerity, sweetness, emotion, and laughter. Of course, talking about Delores Williams is easy to do. She had an amazing story. If there was ever a woman who beat the odds, she was that woman. This lady had every obstacle shoved in her face, from cradle to grave. I could write a book about it...in record time.
I'll just say this. A college administrator once told her that she wasn't nursing material and that an aide position might be possible (maybe). Well, Delores later went on to teach at that very school and eventually become one of Mississippi's first nurse practitioners (that would soon run her own clinic). You think she proved that administrator wrong? Of course she did, and it was a life lived with much more of that. She was also the most generous lady I've ever known...with her love, time, and finances. Reflecting on the life of Delores Williams makes me wanna adjust things in mine to be more like her.
I know this Christmas season is gonna be hard for my wife and all those who have recently lost a loved one. The nostalgia during the holidays has got to be almost unbearable. My parents are still a huge part of my life, so I really don't understand. I have no clue. And while I do believe we go to a better place, I can't imagine it makes their absence any easier, especially during the Christmas season. And especially during that first one. With all that said, I'd like to close this column with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Mitch Albom. “She wasn’t around, and that’s the thing when your parents die, you feel like instead of going in to every fight with backup, you are going into every fight alone.”
Robert Stedman is a Northsider.