A tribute…

I had the amazing opportunity to be able to share some thoughts at my grandmothers funeral service today.  I consider myself to blessed, honored, and privileged to be able to call myself the granddaughter of Doris Marie Gurley… Because I believe what she stood for is lacking in our world today, I’ve decided to post my thoughts here for all of you.  If we continue to celebrate these positive attributes, then we can help to make sure another generation will know what it means to truly live out the servant-Christian life. Thank you Gramma for being my example and mentor, for your life well lived.

“There will be several themes that you will hear repeated today regarding Gramma’s life – she was a lady, her caring nature, her love of music.  Music was a large part of her life – even from when she was a child and she passed that down to us.  In fact, I don’t think, if asked, that I could pick just one song that says “Gramma” to me.

Going back to my childhood, there was nothing like arriving at 20 Graydon Hall Dr – and looking up from the parking lot and seeing Gramma waving from her balcony on the 8th floor.  Then it was the elevator ride up, and then running pell-mell down the hall where she was waiting arms open wide for hugs.  Ask any of her grandchildren or great-grands and I’m sure they’ll agree that there is nothing like a hug from Gramma, tight, one-armed while she held her glasses off to the side. My memories flit from sitting in the rocking chair listening to her sing “You Are My Sunshine” or “I love you, a bushel and a peck” to singing silly songs, like “Mairzy Doats” or “There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea” while doing dishes. Yes, I do believe Gramma could have given Larry the Cucumber a run for his money when it comes to singing silly songs.

Many of you will share my memories of the singing with Sister Moore & her accordion before Sunday School classes.  There was “the woo song” which to this day I cannot remember the real title of or “My God is So Big”, “It’s Bubbling”, “1,2,3 Jesus Loves Me” and her original song on the fruits of the spirit – “Love brings the Joybells”.  As my first Sunday School teacher, she had a very big impact on what I first remember about Jesus.  Its those songs I go to now when I’m teaching children, or trying to make sure I recall all 9 fruits of the Spirit.

As I got older, there was a greater influence of the harmonies of the hymns and southern gospel songs that truly spoke to what mattered most to Gramma – Jesus and His people.  I’m sure there are people here today who have fond recollections of the trio singing at various church services and functions.  “Gentle Shepherd”, “Sweeter”, “Step Into the Water”, “Wherever I am” … these songs indelibly wrote upon my heart and soul the truth of the gospel and who Jesus is.  These are the songs that play in my heart when I’m wrestling through something, listening to a message, or during prayer.

I cannot separate Gramma from music, anymore than I can separate her from myself.  In fact it is during these difficult days that the songs carry me through the hurt and pain of loss.   I am grateful for the lessons I learned at my grandmother’s knee.  I am thankful for the legacy that she has left behind.  Because of her influence, I’ve learned to love Jesus, His people, and have a sense of style while doing it. Thank you Gramma for helping me learn that no matter what – “Jesus Loves Me”.”

Gramma & Miss Em

Gramma & her youngest great-grandchild (2009)

3 responses to “A tribute…

  1. Well done, Kerri. I am so please you were able to be there with all your family. May God give you grace and comfort during these days. Peter

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