Today is my daughter’s 15th birthday. This post is an edited version of the eulogy I gave at at my grandmother’s funeral in 2005.
I am praying that my daughter, Rahel, will grow up to be like her great-grandmother, Eileen Schrock. GG, as we called her, had a profound impact on me over the years so it brought me great joy to see Rahel develop a love for her the last two years of GG’s life while we lived near each other in St. Louis.
I am praying that Rahel will develop a deep faith like GG. She trusted her Savior through the good times as well as the difficult ones. Even this last year (2004-5), GG often mentioned that she was so thankful to the Lord for the “extra” days she received after her initial battle with cancer. She didn’t welcome death, but she was at peace with the sovereign hand of God upon her life.
From the human perspective, GG’s life was not easy as she lost her own mother at an early age, her first husband before the age of 30, and her second husband 15 years before her death. But bitterness did not take hold of GG as she quietly trusted in Christ.
I am praying that Rahel will grow into a generous and hospitable woman like GG. One of my first memories of GG was of tucking me into the special bed she made for me in the hall closet of her Illinois home. As a high school student in Alabama, I would often stop by her home after finishing my paper route to read the sports page and eat whatever delicious dessert she had on hand. She was kind and generous to me, a self-absorbed teenage, who was often more interested in getting through the sports page then having real conversation with her.
I am praying that Rahel will grow into a lover of all people like GG. She was the first person outside my immediate family whom I told of my relationship with Josephine. Of course, there was potential for a 70 year-old woman to have problems with her grandson dating a black girl. GG not only welcomed Jos into our family, but bonded with her in a way that was a testament to God’s grace in her life. She also gave me, a student, her wedding and engagement rings to give to Jos. That is one of the memories that tore me apart last week as I sat with her saying “goodbye”.
It has amazed me the past few years as I witnessed the friendships she has developed at our church, New City Fellowship. As one of the first “old people” at New City she jumped right in and caught a vision for the church’s ministry. GG built relationships with all kinds of people, volunteered at the “Free Store” (a place for those in need to get household goods) and read to children at The Freedom School on Fridays.
I pray that Rahel has many more birthdays so that she lives into her 80’s as GG did, but more importantly, I’m still praying that Rahel patterns her life after her great-grandmother, GG.