We went to the funeral for our sweet 85-year-old neighbor Elizabeth on Saturday. It was a beautiful service, filled with tender thoughts from her children and grandchildren. A daughter compared her to a rose that was continually unfolding, reminding us that she picked up oil painting and excelled at it when she was 70 years old. One of her sons gave a rousing rendition of "Country Roads" by John Denver, with the audience spontaneously rising and joining in song. I don't know that I will ever hear that song again without thinking of that moment. He said his mother was given $10 a week for family expenses while they were growing up, and one summer she sacrificed all of it for her son to get a guitar and music lessons.
A mother of eight children, with an alcoholic husband, she was a fine example of someone who overcame great adversity with humor, compassion for others, and joy in living. Her children rallied around her, treating her like a queen. They were the most important part of her life, and they knew it.
We appreciated her patience with our children. One time she alerted us to an underground cave our children built in our backyard without our knowledge. It extended into her backyard, and when she saw smoke rising from the ground she was concerned about their safety. On several occasions they went to her house when they forgot their house keys and couldn't get in after school, and sometimes just because they liked being with her. She welcomed them in, spoiled them with treats, and let them play with her collection of dolls and other toys. I always enjoyed visiting with her about our families, life's lessons that we both had learned, and gardening tips.
This video reminds me of Elizabeth's example. We will sorely miss her.