Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A very special tribute to a very special person.

Jennie Ladell (also my middle name) McMinn Tomlinson
December 13, 1926- January 1, 2011
Nana's funeral celebration of life was yesterday. What a tough day it was. I was in absolute awe of the number of people who flooded the sanctuary at my home church, where Nana was a member for almost 60 years.
Before you go any further, you absolutely must read this special tribute written by Kristen's dear friend Jessi. This was so special to my family-particularly my dad- so Jessi was asked to read her tribute at the funeral. She graciously agreed. It was beautiful.
My sisters, cousin, and I all wanted to share something special about our Nana too. While I wasn't sure how I could emotionally handle speaking at her funeral, I agreed to do speak on behalf of the 4 of us. We (Kristen, Heather, Jake, and I) walked to the microphone together, and here's what I read (written by Heather, who has a great gift of writing herself!):
How do you put into words all that Nana was? There are no words big enough to fit her. Nana is more than words – Nana is an attitude. A state of mind. A lifestyle.
While it is impossible to summarize Nana’s life in words, there are a few words that come to mind when we reflect on her greatest loves in this life: Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, and, of course, Fun and Fashion.
To know Nana is to know life. She knew what it meant to live life, and to live it large. No detail in our lives was too small to her. She savored every seemingly miniscule aspect of our lives. She celebrated every moment with us and for us – she was our biggest fan. She celebrated life.
So today we celebrate, as Nana would want. We celebrate the life of an amazing woman - our Nana -whose beauty, dedication, spirit, and smile will stay with us forever. We celebrate Nana today by her granddaughters wearing her pins and jewels, just as she would have wanted. We celebrate by remembering her spunk, her love, her passion for life by living our lives with her attitude and with peace in our hearts knowing that a life lived for the Lord will always have a happy ending.
Again, I was in tears during most of the service, so I'm not exactly sure how I was able to pull myself together long enough to read this; but by the Grace of God, I did. And I was so glad I did. I think it's just what Nana would've wanted.
During visitation, there was a slideshow of pictures chosen by my family. While there were over 100 pictures flashing over and over, I'm only going to share some of my very favorites of this beautiful woman:
Here are a few of Nana by herself:

...and here are some of her with her handsome husband of 59 years, my Dada! (Who, you may remember, passed away in 2006 at the age of 89).
...of course I couldn't go without posting a picture of Nana with her first pride and joy, my daddy (aka "Tommy Mack").
Yes...she was beautiful even just AFTER giving birth!
Here's one of my favorite pictures of Nana with her 4 grandchildren (maybe around 1988?):
And finally, here's a picture taken just this past spring at one of Heather's baby showers. It's one of my favorites.

Those of you who knew her would agree that she not only was beautiful on the outside her entire life (as clearly seen here!), but she was also beautiful on the inside. She was no doubt one of the most wonderful people I've ever known, and I will spend my life striving to be just like her.


The Robertsons said...

The pictures are absolutely amazing. I can only imagine how proud Nana was that you were able to read such a beautiful tribute in her honor. I feel honored to have known such an amazing woman. She was definitely a fashionista with a lot of southern charm!

Mel Tales said...

That was beautiful and she was a beautiful lady! Praying for you! xoxo!

gtown1 said...

Thanks for sharing your strong love for your precious grandmother. Although I have not lost a grandmother yet, I have as you know lost a parent so I to a degree understand your deep loss.
Praying for ya', ejwilliams

Anisa said...

What an amazing life. She was clearly beautiful on the outside - and reading Heather and Jessi's words make it clear she was even MORE beautiful on the inside.

I lost my grandfather very unexpectedly 2 years ago. It was hard. I'm not sure I had nearly the grace you have. With him, I think I'll always believe he could've been saved in the right care.

I am glad you have such peace. You, just like your Nana, have such style and love for life and others. You're a lot alike.

LWolfe said...

Sweet, sweet Nana....I have been thinking about you girls so much lately. You have been heavy on my heart and mind. I only met Nana a few times...but Jessi's right...she remembered everything. She was quite the spunkmister, and I loved every sparkly encounter I had with her. Praying for peace and comfort for you.

Kimberly said...

What a beautiful tribute Laura! I hope my grandbabies (in 50 years) love me like you all loved your Nana!

On a side note, I went to high school with a girl who was named Laura Ladell (middle name also). Small world.