My brother asked if I’d do our Mom’s eulogy.
Completely unlike me, I gave him a long explanation of why I shouldn’t, and ended by saying, “Yes, of course, I will say something.”
I asked him what one says in a eulogy, and we both agreed that our minds have turned to mush since my mom’s passing a week ago. At the moment, we’re not capable of figuring anything out, not without the help of Google.
As I started typing, I right-clicked on the word, “Eulogy” to check what synonyms Microsoft Word offers:
Tribute, Acclamation, Exaltation and Praise.
I sat up with a grin and said, “Oh? About my mom? I can do that!”
Our mom, Gesie Christina Nel – also known as Suster, Mom, Mommy, Ouma (Gran), Oumie (Granny) or “Poppie,” as my father called her, was born to Gerhardus and Anna Janse van Rensburg, on the 4th of May 1926. As one of 9 children, she grew up in a home filled with endless love. They were salt-of-the-earth folks, that toiled the land. They lived a meagre life and they struggled. And they did it together, as a family, with their eyes always set on God to lead them.
She raised us four kids in the same way. I often say, if I could be as good a parent as she was, I’d be doing great. Sadly, I don’t come close, none of us kids do. Those same God-fearing values, and principles lived in our home from the beginning. There was never any doubt of her fulfilling her promise to God, to teach and guide her kids to be God-fearing.
And right there, half our battle in life was won.
She teed us up to be awesome. She gifted us with a life that we can only start to appreciate now. Now as we look back, we can see that it has been something spectacular. Her hand can be seen in all the aspects of our life that we can be proud of.
My mom was taken in her sleep, without pain, at the age of 92. How blessed we were to have had her with us for so long, many don’t get that privilege. She left behind 2 brothers and a sister, 4 children, 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, all who have been touched by her love, and will miss her dearly.
A friend of mine, was at my Dad’s funeral 15 years ago. He called me last week to offer his condolences. He made me laugh. He said, “I’m sorry to hear about your mom. but your Dad’s fun also had to come to an end sometime!”
My daughter had a special bond with her Oumie. As the youngest grandchild, she loved her Ouma and Oupa dearly. She was only 9 years old when Oupa passed, 15 years ago. Her first tattoo, at the age of 16, was on her wrist. It says “Oupa” with his birth date and the date of passing. Not what I’d call a rebellious tattoo. She also has one for Oumie. It’s of a guardian angel and one of Oumie’s favourite Bible verses.
She came back from America early, to spend Christmas with her Ouma, in case it was her last. And, that’s how it turned out.
She asked me to say this from her:
“My dearest Oumie, no words can ever describe how much I’m going to miss you. But I know you live in me, close to my heart. I will try to love the way you loved. I will cherish the moments we shared together. You can now rest in peace with Oupa. I love you so much!”
My son asked that I let Oumie know:
“We will always love you for the way you loved us, and we will never forget you.”
One of my fondest, and vivid memories of my Mom and Dad together, is of them cooking dinner together in the kitchen. My Dad would take my Mom’s hand, and pull her close. And as they stared lovingly into each other’s eyes, they would dance a slow waltz.
I’m sure my Mom is in my Dad’s arms right now, in a warm embrace, dancing a slow waltz.
Mom and Ouma