The Eulogy of Rose Anise - Eulogy for a sister - Eulogy by a sister
I want to thank you all for being here today to say a final farewell to Mama Patty. I know these past couple of weeks have been so very hard for everyone who watched her suffer and pass. Those of us who live far away could only pray. Your prayers and your calls and words of encouragement have meant so much to all of us. Your presence today is an honor and tribute to Mama Patty’s life.
I feel quite honored to be standing here, before you, talking about my dear sister. I am representing, today, all my siblings, both living and dead – Raphael, Virginia, Felicia, Nonnie, and Izaac – and all six half brothers and sisters and, of course, our dear parents, Chief Anthony and Beatrice Okonkwo and her children and grandchildren.
It is fitting that Rosa’s memorial service is here at St. Mark’s Church. All her life, the most important things to her were here in this building. She went to school here as a little girl, she first encountered her Lord Jesus here, her dearest friends are part of this congregation. Her children were baptized here. When she was looking after Augustine and Abigail, she brought them here to be baptized and to learn how to pray. Even when she was not ‘here,’ in the building itself, she would often be out on a retreat with St. Mark friends.
When she lost her daughter, _____ I wanted to send her away on a vacation to help her manage her grieve, but the only place she wanted to be was with her church friends, on a retreat in some remote village, where they’d sleep outside on mats with dozens of mosquitoes trying to bite them. They’d pray and talk and sing and thoroughly enjoy the comfort and healing that only Christian friendship can bring. I believe that our sister, Rosa, was the most truly Christian person I’ve ever known… Until she became very sick, she prayed the rosary every day… Truly a woman of faith.
It is because of her faith that saying good-bye to her is not as painful as it could be. Her faith has taken her to be with her Heavenly Father. Where she is now there is no more sickness, pain, sorrow, suffering, worry, or death… just peace and joy as she reunites with those who have gone before – her dear Alfred (she was married to him for over half a century), her beautiful sons, Patrick and Justin – dying just six months apart (she never got over the intense grief of that period).
Patrick was her first child. He had sickle cell anemia and his life was destined to be short. But because of Mama Patty’s care, he was able to live into his fifties… His life was truly a testimony to a mother’s love.
Rosa was such a beautiful person, both inside and out. I was too young to have known her as a girl, but as I was growing up (and I think this is true of all of us sisters) I always looked at her and her grace and six foot height, and wanted to be like her. I saw her kindness and her generosity of spirit and her unshakable faith and knew she was the most beautiful of women… And to see her dance – she seemed to float and moved like an angel… Back in the 70s, when she was in her twenties, she was an extraordinary beauty, they say… but even into her seventies she was still beautiful to all of us who knew and loved her.
Our sister did not have an easy life but she did have a good one. She was loved and she was surrounded by people she loved as much as life itself. She adored her children, Patrick and Justin, Chidi and Obum. Obum is so much like her mother. She was Rosa’s primary care giver in recent months [years?]. She took her mother to her doctor and hospital appointments, she bathed her and fed her when she was no longer able to do those things for herself… Obum, you have truly honored your mother. Thank you.
Our sister, Virginia, was an amazing care giver, too. Virginia, you meant so much to Rosa. Thank you for being there for her and surrounding her with love in her last days.
Rosa had three grandchildren, Olivia, Isabel, and Victoria. She wasn’t able to see them often because they live in the states, but each one held an important place in her heart. She SO loved those little ones… Their parents told me that they all cried when they heard that their grandmother had died.
Rosa was always on the go before she fell ill. She always loved to be active, going to church, shopping, visiting those who had lost loved ones and offering words of hope, going on those retreats with her ‘Precious Blood’ prayer group…
And cooking… Rosa loved to cook. She made delicious dishes and everyone who ever sat at her table will remember the wonderful smells and the scrumptious meals she would make. In her working years she worked in restaurants making wonderful meals for patrons.
But what Rosa will most be remembered for was her wisdom and her willingness to speak the truth and to say what was on her mind. She was often quiet, but when she spoke, the things she said were always worth listening to – always shrouded in love and understanding and a depth of thought – with wisdom.
I spent a lot of time with Mama Patty each time I came back to Nigeria to visit. Those were precious times, where she shared family history and life before I was born. I loved every minute of it and will treasure always the stories she told.
We will all miss this dear woman but we know where she is, so our hearts can be comforted… Mama Patty – God has called you home. Our hearts ache with missing you and always will. We have loved you and know we have been blessed by being loved by you. May God enjoy you now, forever.
Eulogy for a sister. Eulogy for a sister. Eulogy for a sis... Eulogy by a sister.
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