I’ve decided to add the eulogy I gave for my mom at her service November 10, 2016. Mostly for my sake, to honor her. But who knows…someone out there might want to read it and remember. To say that our family was (and is) close is an understatement. It’s made the grief process easier in many ways…a testament to her strength, love and courage. Sure miss you mom! 46 days later my father joined her in heaven. I’ll share his eulogy next time.
November 10, 2016
On behalf of my dad and my brother…and our families, I want to say thank you for all the love and support we’ve received the past several months.
I’ve never been on this side of the grief process. I’ve had the privilege of serving hundreds of people with their grief…but never had to deal with my own…it stinks…so thank you again for the prayers and love.
I also want to say thanks to my dad…for so faithfully loving mom for 53 years. Dad, I love you and am so proud of you. Dad lost his sweetheart, so please keep him in your prayers.
I thought of many adjectives to describe my mother…(caring, loving, compassionate…yes all those)…but the best word to describe Dottie Freeman is “strong.” There was a certain strength about my mother. She had an independent streak in her a mile wide. She never had a problem speaking her mind, telling it like it is…and if you didn’t agree…well…you’ll eventually come around to her way of thinking.
Mom was a tireless worker. Both her and my dad usually held down two or three jobs each while we were growing up. And I believe Randy and I inherited a strong work ethic from their example. I don’t think we actually had much growing up, but we never lacked for anything. Every sacrifice was made for her two boys.
Dottie Freeman did not suffer fools wells. She was one of the smartest people I knew, incredibly discerning. But please don’t get me wrong…her “toughness” and strength was always delivered with a soft compassion that endeared her to almost everyone she met.
This tough love was something she really developed as the director of Main Place Youth Teen Challenge Center. When mom and dad arrived at Main Place it was a level 4 state-run home for girls. After a few years mom and her board decided to privatize the home so she could have complete freedom to minister to the girls without state interference. I asked her a few weeks ago how many girls she thought had come through that home in her 24 years…she quickly replied, “607.” And she could remember just about every name and where they were from. She loved “her girls.” None of the girls ever wanted to be there, but through the anger, the acting out, the screaming and cussing…they would finally calm down and get in a room one-on-one with mom…and she would win their trust. She would eventually win their heart.
She loved just as much working with the parents of the girls at Main Place. She realized that a young girl didn’t just get in trouble for no reason…and her gentle coaching, counsel and encouragement toward the parents would often be the key to successfully reintegrating that girl back into their home.
Her compassion for those girls was tireless. She always said that behavioral change could be achieved…but real changed had to come from the heart. (My brother and I were always so grateful that her calling to work in a group home came after we were raised and gone…no point cards, loss of privs…it always looked so brutal.)
My mom was also a tireless shopper. If I had a dollar for every time I would call her and she was either heading to Sam’s Club or just leaving Sam’s Club…oh my. After she got sick…we literally received a phone call from Von Maur ladies’ department wanting to know where she had been and if she was okay…they hadn’t seen her in a while. (Absolutely not kidding…)
My mom was quick-witted…she had a great sense of humor. The morning before she passed, we were surprised she had made it through another night. I leaned down to kiss her on the cheek and said, “You’re a tough old bird aren’t you?” She opened her eyes and said, “I’ll slap you.” Of course, I told her to go ahead and get up out the bed and slap me…bring it on!
Most importantly…my mom loved Jesus. She’s the reason our family loves Jesus. She was a prayer warrior, an intercessor for so many. She had a committed walk with the Lord that I envied. She didn’t just talk about Jesus…she knew Him…and she shared Him and wanted all of us to know Him as well.
Since her passing…my biggest concern has been “Who am I going to call to talk to? Who am I going to call for advice…for some wisdom on a matter?” And I tried to recall past conversations with her when things were tough, when my back was up against a wall. And I can never remember her ever asking me, “Well…what are going to do? What’s your next step?” What I clearly remember is her usually saying, “You know what to do.” And by that…she always meant…”You go get it from God. He’s got the answer, so get it from Him. Then, you do what He tells you to do regardless of what anyone else thinks about it.”
You see…she’s the one who taught me to trust the voice of the Lord, to learn the voice of the Lord and follow the voice of the Lord. I can’t think of one major decision in my life where I didn’t get a word from God on it. And I got that gift from her. She could hear Him speak…and she taught me to hear Him. I could never thank you enough for that gift, mom!
My mom didn’t want to leave us. From the moment she knew she had cancer that was untreatable…she focused her faith on complete healing and asked others to agree with her. She would snap at me, “Are you still with me? Are you still agreeing with me for healing?” I would say, “Of course mom…I’m with you. God still has time and has the room to perform a miracle…so let’s go for that.”
Until…one evening, she saw Jesus…and she insisted I tell you this story today:
A week ago Tuesday, we thought she was at the end. We had brought our little one Ben over to see her one last time…to sing for her, dance the Hot Dog Dance for her…she loved to watch him sing and dance. I was going to spend the night with her…so Polly was saying her goodbyes while I took Ben out to the car. When I walked back into her room…the glory of God had filled the room. She was worshipping, praying in tongues…she was just flowing with worship and adoration toward Jesus. We had a Charles Martin CD playing…so I turned it up a bit and just joined in for about 30 minutes. We worshiped and prayed together…and then she settled. I leaned over to kiss her and tell her I love her and she grabbed my hand and said, “Marty, I saw Jesus! I saw Jesus!” Over and over again she proclaimed it. She began to describe Him, His face, His eyes…yet she would continue to say that He was too wonderful to describe. She said that she heard sounds like she had never heard before…incredible sounds, indescribable sounds…she said, “I saw heaven too…not all of it, but part of it and it’s so wonderful. I saw Jesus…His arms were outstretched to me, but then He told me that I needed to go back and share what I’ve seen…then, in a short time, He will come back and get me. Marty, I saw Jesus…I saw Jesus.”
She asked for her grandkids immediately. So Michael and Noah came right over…she shared what she had seen with them…then began to prophesy over them, and over Benjamin…then she prophesied over Todd, Amber, Troy…she prophesied over our church…over things to come…over Polly…over Denita…and I believe Troy came the next day and she Skyped with Amber and Todd. But she was telling everyone of her experience in heaven and how real it was. She told me…”I need to tell my grandkids…they’ll believe grandma!”
She told several others that came to visit over the next few days.
Until she saw Jesus…she wasn’t ready to go. She was fighting…she was hanging on for her grandkids…for her family…for her church.
But folks…when you’ve tasted and seen…nothing her can compare. After seeing Jesus in all of His glory…how disappointing to come back here. She told us many times in the next few days, especially on the day she passed…”I want to see Jesus again…I want to see Jesus again.” Her hunger had changed. Her direction had changed. She was now heavenward.
So to all who will listen today…My MOM SAW JESUS! He’s real…and heaven is real. Heaven is no consolation prize!
So thanks mom! We believe you…and we’ll see you soon!
And for my family…mom says today what she has always said to me: “You know what to do…so get it from God and go do it!”