Miss Tommie, with her loving smile and joyous heart, left the earth tonight to see our Savior face to face.
What a celebration it must be right now in heaven! I just picture her singing right along with the angels as they celebrate her arrival. Though I know there are no tears in heaven, I imagine a glimmer of moisture in her eyes as she reunites with her husband.
Such a joy, and a pleasure Miss Tommie was! Always smiling, always full of encouragement and wisdom, hospitable, and delightful in every sense of the word.
It has been my honor to help Miss Tommie twice a month over the last few months. Knowing that she was ill, I expected to arrive at her house on those Tuesday mornings and see her fading away. Little did I know that she would catch us all by surprise! Her hospital bed was always properly made and uninhabited when I was there. She always looked beautiful, fully dressed, and properly greeting company that arrived.
Even though I was there because they said she needed help with the cleaning of her house, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought. Her house was always clean. Even on the cleanest day at my house, it was still dirty compared to hers!
Still….I did what I could to help her keep it that way.
But, mostly, I enjoyed our visits. The times she would so proudly boast of her children and grandchildren. The book that her daughter had made for her birthday containing precious family photos. The stories of her grandchildren, and how wonderful they were. The concern and prayers she shared with me over different church members and the struggles they were going through. — All the while, never complaining about her own struggle.
She took time to visit with my five year old. Listening to all of his stories about bugs, frogs, mice, and other gross “boy stuff” –never minding his endless questions and continual chatter!
She would listen to my son recite the bible books he had memorized, and then take over to finish the list when he could remember no more! He quickly learned to love Miss Tommie and could not wait for the next visit.
Little did we know that last Tuesday’s talk with Miss Tommie would be our last.
Sharing her death with him is a new, unwelcomed experience — one that resulted in big tears falling from his beautiful eyes.
We were so blessed by Miss Tommie. I know many others were as well.
The last conversation I had with Miss Tommie’s daughter told of her having a stroke and not being in her “right mind”. Her daughter said that Miss Tommie was just repeating the same words over and over –words that did not reflect purposeful thoughts for a normal, healthy individual. However, it was most fitting for the lady that brought so much sunshine and joy to us all that the words were, “It’s a lovely day….just a lovely day, isn’t it? It’s just a lovely day!”
I praise God for the time we had with Miss Tommie. She was such an inspiration to us all, and a godly example.
One day, while dusting her guest bedroom, I noticed a poem hanging on the wall. As I read it, I realized it so adequately described what must have been her personal life philosophy:
There’s Sunshine in a Smile
Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain
Laughter and pleasure, teardrops and rain
All days can’t be bright but it’s certainly true
There was never a cloud the sun didn’t shine through
So just keep on smiling whatever betide you
Secure in the knowledge God is always beside you
And you’ll find when you smile your day will be brighter
And all of your burdens will seem so much lighter
For each time you smile you will find that it’s true
Somebody, somewhere will smile back at you
And nothing on earth can make life more worthwhile
Than the sunshine and warmth of a beautiful smile.
–Helen Steiner Rice
As we go about our day tomorrow, I pray that we will all take an extra moment or two to smile at someone — because we should…but also in memory of Miss Tommie.