"You don't know what you've got until it's gone," the old saying goes. But occasionally, in this life, someone so remarkable comes along that they completely disprove this age-old saying. My mother-in-law was one such person. The type of person that was so remarkable that you could not not be amazed by her. You could not not see her warmth and her kindness and her care. You could not not be completely overwhelmed by her selflessness, her relentless positivity, and her love.
She was known affectionately as Drue. I'm not exactly sure where that name came from, but I believe it was given to her by one of her sixteen grandchildren, whom she adored and who adored her in return. Drue passed away a few days ago and it has caused me to spend some time reflecting on her life and legacy and impact. And it has caused me to recognize the fact that she lived her life in such a way that everyone who came into contact with her was truly aware of what an incredible and remarkable person she was. Everyone that was a part of her life fully realized what a treasure she was while she was still with us, which is an incredible blessing. And now that she's gone to be with the Father, I'm sure that this awareness will only continue to grow.
As far as her life was concerned, Drue was one of the most loving, caring, and selfless people I have ever met. As a matter of fact, in all of the 33 years I that have been married to her daughter, I do not remember one single time where Drue didn't tell me that she loved me. And I knew every time she said it that she genuinely meant it. And she didn't just do that to me, she did it to everyone. In fact, she had a pet name for everyone. Even folks who had just met her for the very first time were likely to be called dumplin' or sweetheart or angel, or my personal favorite, sir bear. And when she called you by that name, whatever it may have been, you felt loved. Somehow just the way she said it convinced you that it was true. She just had a way of making people feel valued and special.
Every Sunday, for as long as I can remember, Drue cooked lunch for whoever wanted to come. No need to call ahead, just come on. And when you did, it was a sight to behold. It wasn't just one dish, it was countless dishes. It wasn't just one dessert, it was numerous desserts. And more homemade rolls than you could count. And if she ever found out that something was your favorite, look out! You were going to get more of that favorite thing than you could ever eat in one sitting, or maybe even in one lifetime. Sunday lunch has been a staple in the family for years and years and it is one of the main places where you got to see Drue in her element. Nothing made her happier than having her family--children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren--around enjoying great food, lots of laughter, and wonderful conversation. It simply brought her to life.
But I think it was her spirit and her character that made her so special. Or, I guess I should say her Spirit--as in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God lived in and through this lady in such an incredible way. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit was so evident in her life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I mean, you could not write a better description of Drue than that. When you were around her you couldn't help but taste the goodness of God.
Her legacy is easy to see as well, all you have to do is look at each one of her amazing children. They are all brimming with the Spirit of God as well. Somehow Drue, and her wonderful husband Charlie, were able to breathe the very best parts of themselves into their children. And believe me, that is no small task! Each one of the kids is such a beautiful and unique expression of their parents, as well as of their Heavenly Father. Carol, is the one I know best, because I have had the privilege of calling her my wife for the last 33 years. Carol is one of the sweetest and kindest and most beautiful people I've ever known. And the more I know her, the more I fall in love with her. She has a genuine care and concern for people, as well as a gentleness and tenderness that can only come from a heavenly source. She loves so well and so naturally that she had to have learned it from somewhere.
And finally, what about Drue's impact? How can you even begin to measure such a thing? I suppose that maybe the best way to judge impact is by the size of the mark that is left. A large comet, for instance, when it comes to rest, leaves a pretty significant hole in the surrounding landscape. If that is indeed the best measure of impact, then Drue's impact was immeasurable. Because although we know that she is home and free and more alive than she's ever been, the hole that has been left in our lives and our hearts by her passing is immense.
So, it is with deep gratitude that I reflect back on a life that was incredibly well-lived. I am so thankful that God gave me the gift of being a part of this amazing woman's family. Her love and her life and her infectious Spirit will be sorely missed, but earth's loss is heaven's gain. Because on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, heaven gained a great one. And I hope Jesus likes homemade rolls, because I have a feeling he's going to be getting a lot of them.