Friday, January 7, 2011

The Eulogy

We didn't move to Wakefield until signs of Alzheimers was already beginning to rob Elbert of his way of life. I wanted our 'new' friends to know him and I wanted the family, especially the Grandchildren, to remember their Papa as he used to be. So, some time back I made up my mind that I would get up and read the eulogy at his funeral.  I did and here is what I said:

Elbert and I just celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary. We've known and loved each other most of our lives. When we met he was a tall, lanky lad of 17 years. I was 13. He joined the Navy and for the next 3 years we kept the postal service in business. In Dec of 1950 we were married.

Elbert grew up on a farm in Alabama, the oldest of 10 kids. A lot of responsibility fell on him at an early age. He helped his mother cook and care of the younger ones and he’d be the first to tell you that he’d probably washed more diapers than any woman he knew. He was his Mother’s buddy and he was an excellent son.

I am so proud of what he did with his life and I think he was proud of himself. He’d come from that little farm, worked his way up through the Navy ranks, was commissioned an officer and even was on staff at the Naval Academy. He was proud to serve his country and did so for 22 years. The night before the Battle of Inchon those young boys were scared to death. Elbert prayed that God would see him through and for the rest of that battle and the rest of his life he was never afraid. He also served in Vietnam.

He was the happiest person I have ever known. He just didn’t think that anything was worth being unhappy about. I thought he had the most beautiful smile, but one of my best memories of him was when he would always come in the back door whistling a happy tune.

If you knew Elbert well you’d know that he loved being the center of attention. He was always the life of the party wherever he went. He was always telling jokes and stories. He loved to laugh.

He was ordained as a Primitive Baptist minister in 1974 and co-pastured several churches in Alabama. God seemed to guide him in every step of his life.

He was an avid foxhunter. He was well-respected as an excellent hunter and field judge. I can just hear him now, his hunting horn to his mouth blowing the signal to call his dogs home.

Elbert loved his family beyond measure. Each of them were the light of his life…He was an inspiration to all the grandchildren and wanted the best for them….. So, grandchildren…it’s your turn now to carry on your Pa Pa’s legacy.

He loved me with such a deep, everlasting love. I was a very lucky lady to have known and been loved by Elbert Barton. I always knew when springtime came he’d come in from his walk in the woods carrying a tiny flower in his big hands. To me it was as precious as a dozen roses. I’d stuck it in my thimble and when it died, he’d bring me another. I always knew how much he loved me and as he was drawing his last breaths he would still turn toward me wanting to have a hug.

He truly believed that if you worked hard, treated people right and loved the Lord you could have a good life. And he did live a full life, complete with a lot of laughter and love.

As we gather today, although we will miss his physical presence, let us not just grieve but also celebrate his life as it was fully lived.


Martha Z said...

A beautiful, loving tribute. I know his passing will leave a hole in your life and I'm sure he would want you to fill it with joy.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your grace in meeting this challange will help others to face the challanges in their own lives.

Chris said...

Beautiful indeed Latane and (what I loved to read when I first read your posts) you recounted so evocatively that sense of a personal history and love,a marching through time so wonderfully recorded ....that whistle for energy that does not disappear....Yes ,a new beginning , a strength carried forward....Thank you!!
From a different place but connected
Chris Wales Uk

Mary Lou said...

A beautiful testimony. You have left your children and grandchildren a wonderful legacy. You have shown them how to deal with adversity and depend on the Lord with each step that you took. May the Lord bless you for all that you have done and given to your family.

Nancy said...

What a beautiful eulogy and special words to honor Elbert. May you continue to keep alive those wonderful memories, they are such a gift to your family and friends. Thinking of you, hoping that you are doing ok. Thank you for sharing your words with us.

Susannah said...
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Linda J. said...

This was indeed a beautiful tribute to a very special man. I admire you for being able to stand up and read this. You are a special lady!

NewKidontheBlogg said...

Oh Latane! You and Elbert had a beautiful life together and your marriage surely was for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do you both did part. Your tribute to him was eloquent. I am sure there were many tears when you delivered it. Thanks for letting us know him through you. In heaven there will be no more tears and the reunion will be marvelous. Above all we will cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus and thank Him for people like Elbert!

Dolores said...

I've known you and Elbert 2 years now... through the wonderful world of blogging. I've grown to respect, love and honor you and Elbert from looking at pictures and reading the wonderful and loving stories about your lives.

Latane, you're such an amazing lady.... you've shown so much strength, love,caring, and determination through this journey. I've thought of you all daily....Now I pray for your 'new beginning'......

Your eulogy/tribute to this wonderful man you've loved and honored all these years..... leaves me in tears!!!

Thank you for sharing.... !!!!!!
Love and prayers!

Susannah said...

Lovely words to honor your dear, sweet husband. Your fine eulogy was very sincere and special. I'm sure it was very hard to do. Now starts the healing process for you, Latane. It is a new time in your life. Try to think about yourself. I know it will be hard but you can do it.

Your header to this post is heartfelt to say the least.

God bless you and your family and may there be brighter days ahead. Elbert will always be with you.