This past Sunday, Edith Jamison departed her earthly life to be with God and the saints who had gone before her. To me, it all seemed so quick. It wasn’t so long ago that I was visiting her at her house and she was doing pretty good for a 98 year old woman. Her fall, surgery, and downturn in the nursing home would all come rather quickly to me. I am sure that it was anything but slow for her family as they watched her enter the last weeks and days of her life. I find myself praying for them now, whereas I had been praying vigorously for Edith and her wellbeing.
For almost nine years, I was Edith’s pastor. That’s a small drop in the bucket of the 98 years that she lived. She had plenty of pastors along the way. However, I would like to hope that we had a special relationship. She sometimes would call me, “Rev. Matt.” Other times, I was just “son.” She would joke that I was the son that she never had. She was the grandma that I had not had in a great number of years. I always loved calling to talk with her or going to visit her. She had a knack for making me laugh and helping me to get a better perspective on life. She was filled with kindness and love, much of which I think she learned from her own daddy, who would give her “stump talks.” Edith showed me the right way to be a dad to my own two daughters … not by force or manipulation, but out of gentle love.
Edith never lost her zest for life. She didn’t just roll over and take old age and all its tricks. She still tried to live life on her terms. Many years ago, I remember calling the house, looking for Judy. Edith answered the phone but sounded winded. I said, “What are you up to?” She said, “Don’t tell Judy, but I got the vacuum cleaner out of the closet while she’s gone.” I don’t think I ever told on her that day. I didn’t have the heart to take the wind out of her sails. She was proud to be advanced in years, but still contributing to the house and I couldn’t blame her.
Most of the time when I would visit Edith, she would ask me the same question. She would say, “Rev. Matt, why has God left me here?” At this point, her parents had long since passed on, as had her beloved husband. I don’t think that I ever had a good answer for her question. I always told her two things. First, God must have something else left for you to do … so, get to work. Second, I am glad God has you here because you bring a great deal of joy to my life. And, she did. God saw fit to leave her here with us for so long and God saw fit to take her home when it was time.
It leaves me sad that I can’t just pop over to her house anytime now and have a Diet Dr. Pepper with her. However, I know God has something even better for her. I will always love Edith and miss her greatly. Please keep her daughter, Judy, and the rest of Edith’s family in your prayers during this very sorrow-filled time.