(I tell this story with caution: I would never put God to the test. What happened was a very special gift from God, but my faith in God is based solely upon belief in Him, the Word of God, and my experience of Salvation. Hebrews 11:1(KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.)
Especially for you, Dad:
The sky was covered with low hanging grey clouds on the morning of Momís funeral. The mood inside the house was equally dark and dreary. As I dressed, my thoughts were absorbed with Dad. How would he get through this day? His nerves were frayed to the point of snapping after weeks of watching Mom struggle to breathe. He was visibly shaking. My own stomach was in knots. I dreaded seeing Dad and my sisters go through this - saying goodbye to Mom for the last time. I didnít want to see my mother dead. I wanted to remember her living.
Rain drops began to stream down the big picture window in the living room, adding to my feeling of despair. I envisioned the crowd of Momís family and friends, holding black umbrellas, standing around the grave site. I needed to snap out of this. I would have to get it together for the sake of Dad. I couldnít be supportive in the depressed state I was in. So I closed my eyes and prayed to God for strength. I prayed that God would grant us comfort. I prayed for my fatherís heart, that it would be opened to Him. I said ďin Jesus name. AmenĒ then opened my eyes and gazed out at the whipping wind blowing the leaves through the cold air and the rain pelting the ground.
I tried to focus on the Lord. I remembered the stories I had heard of Christian author and news journalist Tim Russertís funeral. The story goesÖas the attendees left the memorial service, with ďSomewhere Over the RainbowĒ playing from Timís own IPod list, there appeared a rainbow over Washington. I had been extremely moved by that story, which the news media covered unusually well. I then added to my prayerÖĒplease God, give us a sense of comfort like that. Open up the sky and let the sun shine on us and let us feel a sense of peace. Give us assurance that Mom is okay.Ē
As soon as I entered the church, all the emotions that had been bottled up inside me were unleashed and I sobbed uncontrollably on Uncle Garyís shoulder. The feeling of calm slowly started to settle in me as I made my way around the circle of family. Then Dad stoically entered the church and our family made our way forward. We marched toward the casket to look upon the face of mother.
I forced my eyes to move up from the floor to inside the casket, I was prepared to try to muffle the pain. I did it; I saw her. My heart jumped and I mumbled repeatedly under my breath: ďThat is not my mother. That is not Mother.Ē I felt in shock. I didnít at all see what I had expected. Sherrie and Aunt Mary had picked out a lovely pink suit from Momís own closet and Debbie, who had styled Momís hair for years, combed Momís hair as beautifully as ever. But the body inside the casket looked nothing like my mother. That was not my mother.
Terri began a computer presentation that Uncle Bob had put together of pictures of Mom over the years, accompanied by beautiful gospel music. Now we could celebrate the life of Mom. Our minds were transported back in time to better days. We smiled at Dadís pompadour hair style. He was so handsome and Mom looked like a fifties movie star.
Then Pastor Mike proclaimed to the whole room what I had realized just minutes before. "Beverly Weaver is not dead." I donít know if that came as a shock to anyone, but even though I had understood that mother had received the Salvation of the Lord and that Mom had gone to heaven; the reality of what had happened to Mom had just not sunken in. I had been conscientiously saying that Mom had gone on to be with the Lord, and that she would no longer endure the suffering of the body, but the literal, here and now, actuality of it had just not set in before I saw the empty shell that used to house Momís soul. HALLELUHJAH! Momís spirit had really been set free. The pastor went on to explain that Beverly had made her journey to Heaven and now was alive, with Jesus. He read John 11:25-26. (25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? )
It was still raining as we slid inside the limo. But during the drive to the cemetery we started to cover our eyes as the sky began to open up and the sun glared bright rays through the white clouds. I laughed and commented that God had given us a little sunshine after all. I told my sisters, Aunt Mary, Renee, and Dad (knowing that they would probably think I was silly) that I had prayed that God would let the sun shine upon us and grant our family a feeling of comfort. I told them about the Tim Russert Rainbow and everyone smiled in amusement.
After the brief final service at the cemetery, we all returned to a dinner hosted by the lovely women Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Motherís precious sisters in Christ, who had put together an amazing home-cooked feast, like that which you can only get in West Virginia. The anxiety and nervousness of the morning had now given way to tiredness and hunger. We ate and had fellowship with friends and family, even though Momís absence was ever present. Even Dad had seconds and dessert. I knew Mom would be pleased!
Everyone said their goodbyes. I was saying a few last words of thanks to the Pastor Mike, when Jennifer came to the door begging me to come out quickly. She looked dismayed when I told her I would be just another minute. But I finally stepped outside and she pointed up at the sky. There it wasÖ a perfectly formed rainbow. It lasted just a minute more then disappeared. We were all giggly and didnít know how to contain or express our sense awe. I had almost missed it. Kim had caught it on her camera. She pointed out that it had actually been a double rainbow.
When I looked up the story of Tim Russertís rainbow, I found out that his had been a double rainbow, too, which is supposed to be very rare.
I told my Dad that God had let us know that Mom is okay. I could just see Momís big grin over us as she and her Father showed us that rainbow.
Please see the pictures of Momís rainbow over the steeple of Faith Missionary Baptist Church, attached. These were taken by my cousin Kim. And click on the link below to see the You Tube video of Tim Russetís rainbow! Please donít miss it!!
We love you Mom and know you are smiling on us. Thank you God!!
Right click on hyperlink below choose ďOpen HyperlilnkĒ to see the Tim Russert Rainbow.
Momís favorite scripture (KJV):
Isaiah 40:31 (KJV) 31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Hebrews 11:1(KJV)Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Psalm 23 (KJV) 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Thanks for the Pictures, Kim and Darryl!
In Memory of Beverly Weaver
Click on picture below to see the Tim Russert Funeral YouTube video