We meant to have this posted several weeks ago. Sorry for the delay to those who have been looking for it. This is the tribute Kevin gave to his mother at her funeral service:
What can I say about mom… she wasn’t just mom. She was and always will be a whole lot more. Many of you knew her before I did. I have heard many of you describe her as… an open book, unfiltered, a hoot, determined, Life of the Party.
She was always an intense person, almost always moving, rarely sitting still. She was a doer and a “get it done now” kind of person. Some might even call her impatient. But the fact of the matter is she knew how to get things done.
To many of you she was the life of the party. She was jovial, so much so that one of her cousins told me, “Her laughter rings like beautiful music in my heart and mind.” She knew how to laugh and her laugh was contagious. I sometimes enjoyed sitting back and watching how her laughter rippled out to those in her presence. There were many family get-togethers where she had the whole room roaring, either by what she said or by how she reacted to what others said.
I think all of us Watterson’s will remember the Christmas dinner where someone mentioned that they were going to keep a low profile for one reason or another by traveling incognito. That in itself was funny, but the exchange that happened after that had us roaring for many Christmas dinners to come. When Mom asked what incognito meant, the reply was given, “It means to go in disguise.” Mom had a puzzled look on her face and asked, “So the next time I fly on an airplane I’ll be going incognito?” “No Debbie, in disguise, not in the skies!!”
She was an open book. She wore her emotions on her sleeve. There weren’t too many times when you didn’t know what she was thinking or how she was feeling. No matter what the emotion, it was on display. I think she was more open about her emotions with us immediate family members than with others, but maybe not. I know that when she was mad, we knew it. When she felt wronged or mistreated by someone, we knew it. When she felt down and depressed, we knew it. And when she thought we should do something a different way, we knew it. But by the same token, when she was proud of us, we knew it. When she was excited about our accomplishments, we knew it.
There were times though when English words were not enough to express her true emotion and feeling. Those were the times when she just made up expressions. I know she made them up and that they aren’t really words because my spell check didn’t know what to do, and my auto correct kept trying to change them while I was trying to write this. Words like:
- “Woofdy”- Used in a sentence like: isn’t that just woofdy. Meaning that the situation was bad, no good could come of such a situation such as this.
- “Heeva Hava” – Used in a sentence like: Why must you boys be so heeva hava?Meaning that you are not more than a half a step beyond redneck. For instance: if you sand blast your pick-up truck fender panels in your basement, you might be heeva hava. Or if your mini bike catches on fire because you used cheese cloth as a replacement air filter, you might be heeva hava.
And there were other expressions like:
- “You Gooka-mer!” Or
- “You’re talking like a man up a tree!”
We weren’t really familiar with those expressions either, but she was still able to communicate what she meant.
I think the reason she came up with these expressions was because her sons just about drove her out of her mind as she tried to raise us. She was given a monumental task to carry out when our Dad died. I know she felt overwhelmed trying to raise us without a “man in the house”…because she told us so. She did her best to be Dad as well as Mom to us. She put up with a lot of crap while she was trying to raise us, but she still allowed us to be who were as boys even if it drove her nuts. I know there were times she wished we were girls so she could relate to us better…yea, she told us that too. But she did the best that she could, and would often put us in situations where we would have a good Christian male role model.
Mom also sacrificed a lot for Kurt and me. She put aside her desire to “find a man” and remarry until the right man came along. I remember her having many suitors, but ironically, none of them suited. In fact at one point she joked that “my first husband died of cancer and my second husband must have been still-born”. She was picky about whom she would marry because not only was she looking for her next husband, she was looking for a man who would be a good father to her sons. I’m sure there were times that we scared some eligible suitors away, but she didn’t stop looking. It wasn’t until Kurt and I gave her the daughters she never had by marrying Julie and Babette, that she could feel comfortable finally remarrying. She didn’t need to try to fulfill both needs with one person anymore. She finally found her second husband, who was not still-born by the way, and married Homer after we were out of the house and starting our own families.
Her biggest concern for us was not that we would necessarily grow up be successful, but that we would grow up to love Jesus. She taught us the Bible, took us to church, sent us to camp, made sure we went to any Wednesday night youth program that was available, all with the intention of training us up to be Men of God.
Mom loved Jesus and I know her relationship with him is what got her through so many difficult times, and why she was so joyful. Just as David could proclaim in the book of Psalms, so Mom could say, “ The joy of the Lord is my strength”. I wasn’t sure if that would hold out after she was diagnosed with cancer. I have a sense that she knew cancer would eventually take her life, but she was determined to fight it and to do on her terms. She chose to fight it without chemo, radiation or by any other means that would compromise her quality of life. The method she chose made her feel better than she had felt in years, even better than she felt before she contracted cancer.
I was blessed to be able to spend most of the week with her while she was in the hospice facility before they sent her home. We had some great conversation sharing memories and even talking about her future. She still held out hope that she would get better, but had made peace with the fact that barring a major miracle, she was going to die. But she had hope – the same hope from which she drew her strength in the other dark hours of her life years before. Not a hope like, “I hope I win the power ball,” but rather a confidence in what comes next after life here on earth is over.
You see Mom knew Jesus. She had a personal relationship with Him and knew that because of that relationship with Him, she was going to heaven when she finally passed away. She shared with me her concern that some of you, her friends and family, don’t have that confidence. She was concerned that some of you don’t have that personal relationship with Jesus like she did. She wanted to make sure you understood how important it was that you have that relationship with Jesus, so that you can have that same hope and confidence that she and others of us here have, knowing that when we die, we will see her again and spend eternity with her and Jesus in heaven forever.
I don’t know if you realize this or not, but death was never what God intended. Way back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were perfect beings, made in the image of God, but Adam and Eve made a fatal mistake. That mistake wasn’t just eating an apple. It was being disobedient to God by eating a fruit that He had specifically told them not to eat. In their disobedience, they sinned against God. Because they ate it, sin entered the world for the first time. Because they sinned by disobeying God, they created a problem. God is a perfect God, in Him there is no sin, and He cannot tolerate sin in His presence because He is perfect. Romans 3:23 tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” That’s when death came into the world. You see Adam and Eve were created as eternal beings, and now since God had created them as eternal beings, God sort of had a dilemma. He had to separate them from Himself. In essence He had to break the relationship with them.
The first half of verse 23 in Romans chapter 6 tells us that the wages of sin is death. So since Adam and Eve were created as eternal beings. They and all of their children down through time, (meaning you and me) would now carry the “sin gene” and we would have to pay eternally for the sins we commit. But God in His mercy could not allow us to remain in a sinful state forever. Sin causes us to be separated from God forever, and God doesn’t want us to be separated from Him. God still loves us even though we aren’t perfect. So He had to make a way for us to be able to have relationship with Him again.
So, according to Romans 5:8, God shows us that love He has for us and His desire to reconcile our relationship with Him. The verse says, “But God shows His love for us this way; while we were sinners Christ died for us.”
The only way that reconciliation can occur is through Jesus. We can’t earn our reconciliation, we can’t plead for it and we can’t buy it. The only way to be reconciled is through believing and accepting that Jesus provided it for us. Jesus being both fully God and fully man lived a perfect sinless life and became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He “paid our wages” for us through His death. Hanging on a cross, He became separated from God and died for us so that we no longer need to live separated from God. When we accept that Christ is the only way to be reconciled with God and believe that, it ends our separation from God – once and for all. That’s the other half of what Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death, but God’s gift to us is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Contrary to what society and other religions say, this is the only way have a relationship with God, to get to heaven and have eternal Life.
Jesus tells us this in his own words in John 14:6 when he said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” He makes it pretty clear, there is only one way. Why would he make a claim like that if it were not true? Once we accept these truths, we are then able to have what Jesus, in John 10:10, called “abundant life ” here on earth and eternal life with him after we leave this earth. We were created as eternal beings and we will spend that eternity somewhere; either with God in Heaven or separated from him (that would be Hell). Heaven or Hell. One or the other. The choice is ours.
Death is a reminder that we are sinful creatures. Death separates us from the ones we love and the ones who love us. God loves us so much that He couldn’t leave us separated from Him forever. He has provided the way. But we have to accept it. He won’t make us choose the path that leads to abundant and eternal life. He leaves that in our hands. Which way have you chosen to go? Will you walk in His path or go your own way? His way leads to life. Our way leads to death and separation from God for eternity.
To me the choice is obvious. It was to Mom and it has been for many of you here. There are others here that mom was concerned about. Concerned that you may have not yet chosen the path that leads to life, both abundant and eternal. Are you sure you are on the right path? If you don’t know for sure and you want to be sure, then we need to talk.