Saying goodbye to Mama

On March 2nd mom had her 86th birthday. I just learned today she will likely be in heaven before I can get from San Antonio to Asheville. She is surrounded by nieces and a nephew, folks from church, and friends, but all they can do is say a prayer and comfort each other. Mom is not conscious and has not been for much of the last few days. She is one of the last of “the greatest generation” as someone has dubbed those Americans who lived through the “Great Depression”. The last of eight siblings and the last of my family except for me, my younger brother, and his son. My father died full of faith in 1993.

Mom, like my dad, was born in Yancey County N.C. dirt poor, but from good stock. Her English/German mother and her English father were honest, hardworking folks cut from the same cloth as their parents and grandparents. Mom lived her young years, up until her early 20’s, with no running water in the house, no electricity, and a bath and a path.

When she was about a year from graduating from high school two events interrupted her plans. Her mother became bed-fast and had to be cared for day and night. And, one of mom’s brother’s young wife of 22 died with scarlet fever leaving mom with two babies in diapers to care for. Other than boiling water for cleaning and cooking on a wood stove, cooking for my grandpa and the others, rising at 3:30 a.m. to get him off to work with a meal in his belly and lunch in a bucket, working in the family garden, doing all the laundry by hand on a scrub board, she didn’t have much to do.

My dad met and married mom when she was 21 years old. I was born a bit over a year later and then my brother 18 years later. By the way mom had been totally blind for several years when my brother was born. She did all her own house work, cooking, mending dads works clothes, and teaching my little brother most of what he was expected to learn in the first grade.

Mother is a remarkable woman to say the least. She was never  a complainer, always giving grace to everyone, a giant of prayer, and a faithful follower of Jesus. She came to faith in Christ when she was about 6 or 8 years old at a Bible School. She told me she was furious that they made her wait two years before she could be baptized. She reported to me only last year that story and that not once in those many years has she ever doubted her security in Jesus.

The last words my mom spoke day before yesterday were “Papa and Mama”, her parents. And, on yesterday, at just a whisper my cousin and her nurse could make out the words “going home”. That’s my mom, on her way to that city whose builder and maker is God.

She fought the good fight, she kept the faith, and will soon see clearly once again. I could not be more proud that Vivian Ogle was my “Mama”. I have often said Daddy taught me how to die and Mama  taught me how to live. I so admire her blameless life, her quiet but consistent lifetime of prayer (with remarkable answers as a usual pattern), her devotion to my dad and me and my brother, and I expect to meet her again.

Thankfully, because of Christ, I really don’t have to say goodby to Mama, but rather “see you later”.

His peace,
Royce Ogle

About 3:10 this morning mom went home. (Wed 03/19)

16 comments on “Saying goodbye to Mama

  1. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

    Royce, I pray that the God of all comfort will be with you and your family.

  2. Royce, what a beautiful tribute. My heart aches along with yours. Be safe and know God’s presence during this time of tears and memories.

  3. Royce –

    I came over here while ago from Frank’s blog and want to tell you I am praying for you and your family in the loss of your mom. This post is really something. Your mom sounds like she was an exceptional person.

    My mom is also 86 and lives in Abilene. She is in good health, so far, but I’ve really been homesick to go out to see her. In fact, I had a plane ticket bought to go out last week from New Orleans, but ended up in the hospital all week long with serious complications from being diabetic 38 years, so now don’t know WHEN I’ll be able to go.

    I pray you will be lifted up by our Father as you mourn her passing, but have hope in her resurrection in the Lord.

    Much love,


  4. Royce, thanks for shareing your thoughts about your mom with us. What a blessing…what an example. As more of my own family makes that journey, heaven becomes a bit sweeter, but no joy will be as great as hearing the Father say, “welcome home”.

  5. I love you brother.
    I want you to know I am praying for God’s comfort to overflow in your life. I pray that you will find strength and peace through Him. God joins you on the ash heap of life as do His people. I wept in prayer that you will find God’s strength through the following days, weeks, and months ahead.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  6. If you are in need of anything that I can provide, remember I am but an hour away in Cherokee, NC… God bless you and keep your memories close to your heart. I myself just returned from Memphis after a midnight ride of 9 hours to be with my daughter. We still don’t know what caused her severe abdominal trauma, but a series of tests (many painful) have yet to reveal the source. I drove all night to return home for the weekend, but it is very possible that I will need to go back at any time next week.

    I thank God for blessing you with the family that you had, and am also grateful to have shared just a bit through your blog…

    Jim Sexton
    Cherokee Church of Christ

  7. My sincere thanks to each of you for your kindness.

    Every detail of the arrangements, the service today, the words spoken, and the grave side scripture and prayer, were just as they should have been as we honored the life of the holy woman I called Mama.

    Tomorrow a.m. we will begin our trek back to Louisiana where and unmowed lawn, a partially completed square foot garden, office details, and a host of other tasks, too bland to mention, await my return. Life goes on until the trumpet sound.

    My the One who is the Resurrection bless you and yours on this Sunday when multiplied millions, saved and even unsaved, will remember the empty tomb. Just as He rose from the dead may He rise in your spirit and give you joy and assurance.

    His peace,
    Royce Ogle

  8. Royce,

    As I read your posting, this verse came to mind:

    “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” Ps. 116:15

    With love,
    Norman & Dana

  9. Royce,

    As I read your posting, I thought of this verse:

    “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” – Ps 116:15

    Love & Prayers,

    Norman & Dana

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