My Eulogy of my mother-in-law, delivered at her funeral:
On behalf of Tina's entire family, I would like to thank all of you for joining us here today to pay our last respects to the woman we called our mom, our mother-in-law, our grandmother, our great-grandmother, our sister, our sister-in-law and our friend.
For those you who don’t know me, my name is Gary and I have been blessed to be happily married to Tina's only daughter, Becki, for more than 30 years. I pray that Becki and I will enjoy the same long, loving life together that Tina and her husband Bill shared for over 63 years.
Many of us gathered here in this same place just over 3 years ago to mourn Bill's passing, and we've been dreading the day when this gathering would take place.
As Becki’s husband, I was legally Tina's son-in-law. But we shared a special relationship. She always treated me as though I was one of her own children, and likewise, to me she was the same as my own mom, God rest her soul. In my eulogy of Bill, 3 years ago, I promised that I would continue to love Tina forever, in the same way that I loved him. That I did, and though they've both left this life to be together forever, that love shall never die.
Tina loved her husband Bill, her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. I hope that we can all appreciate Tina's never-ending love for us, and that we can pay honor to her by always loving each other that same way.
Almost 11 years ago, Bill had open heart surgery, suffered a stroke Throughout it all, Tina made caring for Bill her #1 priority, unselfishly sacrificing herself for the wavy, dark-haired young man that she gave her heart to so long ago. No one could have given Bill better care than that which Tina gave him and it stands as a testament to the love which she had for Bill.
Tina's heart was broken when Bill passed away in December, 2006, but she did her best to carry on without him. She found great strength in the love and support that her family and friends gave her. In fact, even though she was over 80 years old, she was blessed with good health and was able to travel, which she did.
Last year (2008) Tina visited Las Vegas, Hawaii and Nashville twice with Becki and me. After wanting to go for all of her life, she finally got to attend several performances of the Grand Ole Opry. During the Country Music Association Music Festival, she and Becki got to meet Bill Anderson and showed him an old album cover and a picture of her and Becki with that album when Becki was only 6 years old. She joined us again in Nashville a couple of months later while Becki was taking vocal lessons and we attended several more performances of the Grand Ole Opry.
This year (2009) she got to meet one of her favorite country singers, Moe Bandy at the Florida State Fair. She talked to Moe about how his song, “Too Old To Die Young”, was played at Bill's funeral. When she tried to buy a CD from Moe, he wouldn't accept her money and told her it was his gift to her. She also went to the Strawberry Festival and saw several country acts perform. In March, she traveled with Becki and me back to Nashville where Becki competed in the CMT Can You Duet contest. While there, she again got to go to the Grand Ole Opry. In October, she and Rick went to Canada and stayed at the fishing camp that she and Bill had owned, and which she loved so much. Being on the Trent River always brought her peace and happiness. In November, she bought her first and only new car, as Bill had always done that for her before. On Thanksgiving, she hosted dinner at her home in Florida, as she always did.
Last Tuesday night she went, as she did two or three nights a week, with Becki and me, to watch and listen to us sing Karaoke. Wednesday found her not feeling well and having a sore throat, but she came outside that evening to see the Christmas lights that Becki and I had hung on her house. Around 9 pm that evening, I bid her good night, told her I hoped she felt better, and told her that I would see her the next evening. Little did I know that I would not and that she would be gone within 12 short hours. Becki stayed that evening and put up her mom's Christmas tree and last spoke to her mom around 10:30 that evening, after she got home.
Today our hearts are broken, and our tears fall like rain. We wonder if we have the strength to live on without Tina But I know that if we are blessed with only a little of her strength and perseverance, we’ll be able to carry on in the way that she would want us to. Never doubting what happened, always remembering her life and her love for us, loving each other, and always looking forward to the time when we will be reunited with her and Bill on the streets of Glory.
Christ, as we know, called the fishermen to follow him. Tina, like Bill, loved to fish, and so today I know with certainty that Tina has been reunited with Bill, and has taken her place with Christ and the apostles in Heaven.
I am looking forward to the day, when I too will be there with Bill and Tina, and my mom and dad.
So long for now Tina, I love you and I'll see you again.