Summary: Eulogy for my wife’s grandmother.
Celebration of Life
Avalee Duncan Atkins
March 2, 1926 – January 22, 2006
By: Pastor Kent Wise
13 If I speak in the tongues d of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Today we have come to celebrate the life of Avalee Duncan Atkins (Mom-mom). In my life I have come not to believe in coincidences but rather to believe in God incidences and today is one of those times. You see, Mom-mom was preceded in death by her first husband of 42 years, Deedo. Deedo went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, January 22, 1984. I am not superstitious but I believe Mom-mom’s passing on the same day was God’s offer of grace and love to a family that has experienced a lot of sorrow and pain in the last few months. This was a reminder that the love that was shared between a husband and wife can not be overcome even by death. This was a reminder for us to remember that God’s love through Jesus Christ will strengthen us and encourage in this time of loss. I mention this because it was Deedo and Mom-mom that instilled into the children and grandchildren the love and faith practices that would carry you throughout their lives.
In a time when the definition of family is being challenged throughout our great land, those who know this family witnessed I believe, the family unit as God intended. Mom-mom and Deedo were married at the ages of 15 and 17 respectively. By the age of 21 and 23, all five children were born. I’m 41 with four children and it’s hard for me and Emily to keep up. I can only imagine how they must of felt. But Mom-mom had the gift of administration and she ran her household effectively and efficiently. She performed her task of mother and wife with a great deal of love and nurturing. In her last years, Mom-mom’s unselfish sharing of love would come back to her in many ways too numerous to speak of here. However, with that said, I think that we would all agree that we witnessed love come round in full circle in Mom-mom’s life as Jean and Mary Ellen would share in the caring and nurturing for Muncey and Avalee during their last years on earth. Pat, Joan, and Freddie would fill in to give the other two a break. During this time, I noticed that not only did the mother child relationship strengthen but also the sibling relationship strengthened. Mary Ellen, Pat, Joan, Freddie you have been given a wonderful gift. The gift of seeing what Mom-mom lived take root in each of you. As you go from forward today, I believe you will see the legacy of Mom-mom’s love lived out in each of you and in your families.
Emily, Leigh, Ellen, John, Harvey, Duncan you too have been given a gift on this day. The gift of knowing that Mom-mom loved each of you tremendously. In the memories that you have of your visits to her home, to her work, and to just sit around and talk, Mom-mom’s love lives on in each of you. Take the gift that she gave to you with great anticipation. The anticipation that one day, the love will come back around to each of you as you share your love with your children. Love is indeed patient and kind. Love does endure. Love, Mom-mom’s love lives on today in this family.