Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reba Perry

My sweet grandmother got to meet Jesus early on Sunday morning!!  I am a little jealous of her!  How amazing that must of have been.  Not only did she meet Jesus but she was reunited with my grandfather who passed away 6 years ago.  It really is a day of rejoicing.  I was awake early Sunday morning praying right before she passed away and God gave me the verse from 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that says "we do not grieve as the world does with no hope."  That is so true.  Though we do grieve that she is gone from us, we grieve with hope because we will see her again.   

God ordained our weekend to allow my mom and I to travel down to Auburn on Saturday.  We were able to spend the afternoon singing hymns to her.  She woke up and spoke to my mom an aunt late in the afternoon then went to sleep and never woke up again.  I am so thankful we had this special last time with her.  Over the past 5 years she has dealt with the debilitating disease of Alzheimer's.  We have seen her health and mind deteriorate dramatically.  But through it all God has been faithful.  We know for certain that she is whole in body and mind now!!

My mom and I enjoyed talking about some of our sweet memories of her this weekend.  My clearest memory of her is of her worn Bible that sat on the table by her chair.  When we would visit them she would always wake up early to read her Bible.  She truly loved God's Word.  Another funny memory I have stems from being a child during the Depression.  She would never throw anything that might have another use out.  She didn't buy ziploc bags because she saved old bread bags and reused them.  It makes me laugh everytime I think of that stack of bread bags in her kitchen.  The greatest thing about my Mema was her love for her family!  

I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures of my grandmother.  

 My grandparents LOVED to travel!  They visited all 50 states and numerous countries all over the globe.  I think that is where I get my love of travel from.  Here is on a trip we took to Boston when I was young.

 This is the first time my grandparents met my sweet Ben.  I just love the smile on her face!
 Even has her mind and health failed she loved her great-grandchildren and always enjoyed visits from them!

What a privilege to have had this wonderful lady as my grandmother!  We are celebrating her life today with a memorial service in Auburn.  Matt wrote a beautiful address from our family that he will share at the service.

 Good afternoon.  As you all know, I am Matt Eckley, Emily’s husband.  Emily was one of the two children that Ann (Mrs. Perry’s youngest child) and Gary had.  It is my honor to give an address to you from all of Mrs. Perry’s family. 

Reba Perry was born Reba Avant in Eclectic, Alabama, on February 5, 1926.  She is survived by her four children Michael Perry, Susan Rogers, Donald Perry, and Ann East;  her seven grandchildren Steven and Joseph Perry, David & Ben Rogers, Mary Leatherwood, Emily Eckley, and Andrew East;  and her seven great-grandchildren Kenneth, Joy, & William Rogers, Everett Leatherwood, Ben & Kate Eckley, and Perry East. 

Reba Perry was married to her husband Tom Perry for just over 60 years, until his death about six years ago.  In her late husband’s memoirs he tells of his courtship with Reba and their quick mutual attraction (albeit seemingly greater on his part than hers).  Reflecting on his first impressions of Mrs. Perry, Tom noted that she was “cute, a lot of fun, and very congenial.” 

Reba Perry’s loving devotion to her husband and children was just one part of the legacy that she would leave for those in her family.  You can see other examples of that legacy here in these quilts.  Not only do they provide a material blessing for future generations, but they represent Mrs. Perry’s extraordinary work ethic and her avoidance of idle wasting of time. 

Another part of the legacy that Reba Perry leaves to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren is her gracious and kind attitude to all those she met.  This attitude did not just happen by accident but was a result of Reba’s relationship with her Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.  Reba counted her knowledge and understanding of the Lord as her greatest glory.  We know this not only from her fruit, but also from her constant study of God’s Word and the devotion she showed in ensuring her children also had a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Even in recent years when her mind was affected by Alzheimer’s the evidence of her relationship with her Lord still was present.  The joy that Reba Perry experienced in her relationship with the Lord was often shown through her smile.  While those that were around and cared for Mrs. Perry during these last months and years of her life mourned the loss of her memory, her smile continued to provide comfort to us.  It was like a gift or reminder for her family and caregivers that she was at peace and prepared to meet her Lord face to face. 

The hope that Reba Perry had, the very same hope that is available to all of us, is what provides comfort to those of us that remain here.  While we may continue to mourn our loss of Reba Perry, there is joy in knowing that she now has a perfected body and worships with the saints who have gone on before her in the presence of the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the world.  And the further hope that those of us that follow the legacy left by Reba Perry and put our faith in the Lord will one day worship next to her in Heaven. 

In closing, the family of Reba Perry would like to give special appreciation to the nurses and caregivers that cared for her in these last difficult years.  Your care for Mrs. Perry went beyond your mere job.  Thank you for the care you provided and for assisting in making her last days in this world comfortable. 


Unknown said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother!!! She certainly left a beautiful, lasting legacy with all of you. Her faith was real and you all saw that and what a blessing. Also what a blessing that God;s timing is as it is and He did ordain that both of you could be there with her. It is so wonderful that you have precious memories of her and also of your grandfather. I see her in your mom's life and then in yours. God has richly blessed you all. It is so wonderful to know that she and your grandfather are together eternally!!!! Heaven does seem sweeter every day!!!! We love you all and love Matt's sharing!!!! He gives peace like a river!!!!

Karen Tidwell said...

Oh my, what a tribute to your grandmother. I am so sorry for the loss of this wonderful lady to your family. I had to smile at the picture of you in your grandmother's lap--you remind me of Kate in that picture. Your grandmother had a beautiful smile that could only come from a deep relationship with Christ. Praying for you all. Karen Tidwell