I wrote this to be delivered as a short eulogy to my mother the day she died a year ago this month. I miss her and my Daddy so much! Were it not for the grace of God through Christ Jesus whose salvation has wrought us the death of death, my grief would be unending, and for this great mercy, I rejoice in God my Savior!
As a child, my mother’s smile gave me the greatest joy and the greatest comfort. It was my refuge against the harshness of the world and against disappointments. It made happy days even brighter and chased every shadow away. That smile never left me even when she was a great distance from me for most of my adult life. I heard that smile in her voice when we talked and it had the same impact on me that it always had.
There was much to smile about in her life because it was a life of service. Not only was she was a loving wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother, but she was committed to serving God with all her considerable energy and talents. Long before she and my father returned to India, she felt deeply the needs of her community back home. As members of the church here in America, she helped my father raise funds for the Polio Home for Children and organized annual Medical Mission trips to Karakonam and raised further funds so that a medical hospital could be built and even a medical school in an area that lacked both.
When she returned to live in India, that same work continued, first helping my father and then [at his death] taking over his responsibilities. Part of the Polio Home used to be her house when she was a child and her father was a pastor in the Church of South India. So when she was serving the Polio Home as Honorary [volunteer] Director it was a sweet thing for her to behold how the place had been transformed to help the children for whom there would have been no other help. And she devoted herself to improving it further, expanding it, and providing greater resources for the work of the Polio Home to continue long after she was no longer there. She would tell me of all that was being done for the people of Karakonam but especially the children and staff she had grown to love at the Polio Home.
Her service there brought her the greatest happiness and the greatest satisfaction. Through it she was able to express her love of God and her dedication of her talents to the tasks He called her to perform. When she spoke of what was being accomplished, I would hear that smile in her voice that I so loved.
For the past few months that voice and that smile remained silent as my mother suffered the ravages of illness. Now her suffering at long last is over and she is home with the Savior of us all, Christ Jesus. For after all this wonderfully long life of service that my mother enjoyed, her deepest desire was not to be able to smile at what she had accomplished in the lives of her family and the lives of all those she helped.
Rather, her deepest desire was to see the smile on her Savior’s face as He said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:23).
Now that desire has been answered. And I know that my mother’s smile is sweeter and brighter than the sun, moon, and stars above. And I know that one day, by the grace of God, I will see it for all eternity.