I posted a blog on August 16, 2019, about my momma titled Momma’s Influence ( Momma’s influence – oldblessedwordpresscom). She died on July 5 of 2018 due to complications related to Alzheimer’s. This is a follow-up (kind of) to that piece.
A few days ago, a beloved cousin of mine, Linda Rhea, died from lung cancer. As did my momma, she chose to live her life in my hometown of Wynne, Arkansas, a tiny hamlet of 7, 749. I’ve written about Wynne before in a series I called From What I Can Remember. I promised myself that would write more in the series, but I haven’t done so yet. I think I need to sit down and try to remember more of my experiences growing up in Wynne. Linda Rhea was only seventy-two years old, just one year older than I.
Funerals, family reunions and the occasional visit with relatives are the primary reasons folks who’ve moved away from Wynne make return visits. Regardless of the pandemic, my cousin’s funeral was my reason for returning to Wynne yesterday. If I might be allowed to say so, a fine funeral it was. A large crowd of people, mostly locals and former locals came out to the Union Valley Missionary Baptist Church to show their respect. I’m not one to attend a lot of funerals and believe me at my age there are ample opportunities to be present at a lot of them. This was one I felt I needed to attend. Although I hadn’t seen a lot of my cousin over the last two decades or so, she occupied a large part of every compartment of my life growing up in Wynne.
I find the reflective part of a funeral particularly interesting and even entertaining. Of course, this is where individuals are allowed an opportunity recollect heartwarming and often poignant events in the life of the deceased. There was quite a bit of humor shared by each person who spoke. Obviously, my cousin was a person beloved by all in the community. I didn’t get a sense that those who spoke were hard pressed to find good thing to say. They spoke from the heart and the sincerity was genuine. One thing that I was pleasingly surprised by were several comments made about my momma. Yes. You heard me correctly.
One speaker commented that my cousin had said, “Now that Essie Mae is gone my life won’t be the same.” Essie Mae is my momma’s name. A couple of other speakers commented that a community is never the same when people like my cousin and Essie Mae leave us. I found it a bit odd, yet endearing that my momma, who died three years ago was being mentioned at my cousin’s funeral. Her legacy, undoubtedly, lives on in Wynne, Arkansas. My momma, known as momma to many in Wynne is still revered by the community.
Funerals are often excruciatingly sad events; however, this one wasn’t. I’m glad I attended. I’m sure Linda Rhea and Essie Mae are enjoying each other’s company again.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.