Today we are celebrating the life of Betty Nichols Brendle. Betty was born in Houston, Texas, on October 31, 1928, and she went home to be with the Lord August 21, 2014.
I first met Betty fifteen years ago shortly after I met her son, David. He and I were moving quickly from friends to a more serious relationship, and he thought it was time to take me home to Mama. He said she had reservations since, like me, he had not always made good relationship choices, but she made me feel like a part of the family from the beginning.
Yesterday, we planned how we would lay to rest the body that she no longer needed. She had left us some ideas.
“I think I want to be cremated,” she said a few days ago. She didn’t want us to think she had given up, and she always left room for a woman’s right to change her mind. “I not sure, though.”’ After a few minutes, she continued. “I want Woods to do the service.” Woods Watson is the Senior Adult Pastor at her church. “I don’t know what he’ll find to say about me that’s good,” she worried.
“Mom,” said Deb, her youngest daughter, “You have a servant’s heart. You’ve always been there for anyone who needed you.”
“And you raised three wonderful children,” I added. She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I did.”
Family was important to Betty. In her last days, her family gathered around her. As her hold on this life weakened, she asked about those who had not yet arrived.
“Is Jerry here?” she asked about her younger sister who flew in from Astoria, Oregon. When Jerry arrived, she offered words of love and made sure Betty was comfortable.
Betty also asked about her granddaughter. “Is Krista coming?”
After Krista arrived from Austin, Texas, Betty seemed to relax. Shortly after midnight she simply stopped breathing.
As I write this, some of the kindness she showed to others is coming back to her family. Friends are bringing food and preparing to serve lunch before we go to the funeral home where we will laugh and cry as we share stories and memories of a life well lived. Let the celebration begin.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8