To everything there is a season, a time for every
matter under heaven; a time to be born,
and a time to die; a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
We are gathered here today in the memory of my mother, Martha Aquario, so that together we may acknowledge and share both our joy in the gift that her life was to us, and the pain that her passing brings. In sharing the joy and the pain together today, may we lessen the pain and remember more clearly the joy.
Martha was only 59 when she passed away unexpectedly on Monday, September 4th in Colorado Springs. It’s hard to say goodbye. We wish that we had more time, and perhaps that during the time we had we had spent more of it together. We wish that so much of her life had not been lost to her illness, that things could have been different for her, and for us. While we know that she is at peace and that her struggles are at an end, there is pain and sadness. But even though she is gone, she has left the legacy of her love and perseverance. The ways she touched our lives will remain, and I ask you to keep those memories alive by sharing them with me and with one another.
One of the most important things in Mom’s life was gardening, and she took great pride in her flowers. Gardeners are special people. It takes patience and perseverance and a love for living things to grow a garden or a beautiful flower. Gardening is tedious and hard work, but there is something that gardeners know and experience that others sometimes do not. There is a beauty and a satisfaction in seeing the result of our labor grow and come to fruition. There is a peacefulness that can come over us as we care for and nurture the flowers and plants in a garden. In nurturing living things and helping to bring beauty and peace to the world, gardeners make a difference in the world and make their lives and the lives of those who see their gardens richer and fuller. I think that for Mom, maybe working in the garden was a way to be the careful nurturing person that she didn’t really get the chance to be.
Here is a poem by Helen Steiner Rice entitled ‘Spring Garden’
So when I looked at those flowers,
I was looking at God
For they bloomed in His sun
and grew in His sod
And each lovely flower
was a “voice from above”
That whispered a message
of Kindness and Love
For I feel in my heart,
and I know you do, too,
That God speaks to us all
through the kind things we do
And when I looked at those flowers
I couldn’t help but feel
That they brought heaven nearer
and made God so real.
Mom is survived by the four of us and her 5 grandchildren, as well as other relatives and friends. This family, and her role as mother and grandmother, was the most important thing to Mom. This is where she drew her strength and left her legacy. Being with her family was what Martha enjoyed most of all. Her life had many obstacles, and she struggled for 20 years with a devastating illness. Yet through it all, her love and caring for her family remained her focus, and in so many, many ways, she was able to show that love to us. This perseverance through adversity is a powerful lesson for us, and I believe it is her legacy. What a wonderful lesson she gave us. Keep your priorities straight. Keep that which is most important in focus. Love and care for your family. Let them know in all the ways you can show them that you love them. Don’t let adversities or setbacks or any of the distractions of the world keep you from this most important aspect of life.
How many people in this world have it so much easier than our mom did. How many never had to face half the trouble she faced, and yet lose sight so easily of what is truly important. Many of us get distracted by insignificant things in life, many of us brood and focus on our little problems, and forget that which is most important.
But through everything Mom went through, she managed to keep her priorities straight. What can be more important than loving and showing your love for your family? How can some of us who are blessed with so much forget to be thankful to God, while somehow Mom kept her faith through all of her trials.
This is a wonderful legacy. This is a wonderful example to follow. Keep focused on what is truly important, not only when your life is easy, but when it is difficult too.
Knowing how much her family meant to her, and also how she loved to garden and grow flowers, I think it was such a special blessing that just before she passed away, Mom was able to spend a wonderful and unusually long time with us gardening at Peg’s house. The plants she nurtured and the love she showed to all of us will live on and be with us even now that she has gone to be with God.
We’ll close today with the 23rd psalm ‘the Lord is my shepherd’, but before we do, on behalf of myself and rest of the family, I’d like to thank you all for coming here today.
The Twenty-Third Psalm
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; Thy rod and
thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence
of mine enemies: thou anointest my head
with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life: and I will
dwell in the house of the Lord forever.