Waller Funeral Home staff, pictured left to right are: (seated) Trish Cousley, Insurance Office Manager; Patsy Waller, Co-owner; Beth Rosson, Funeral Home Manager and Director; (standing) Chris Mooney and Jerry Jenkins, Grounds and Cemetery Staff; Rocky Kennedy, Funeral Director; Don Waller; Co-owner; Bobby Phelps, Funeral Director; Bob Rosson, Funeral Home Manager and Director.
The picture of the Waller Funeral Home staff is included in this issue to make more personal our greeting to you as the holiday season approaches. May this season bring you joy and peace within the warmth of family and friends.
For those who are still coping with the grief of a loved one, we continue to feel special concern. May the hope and peace of the season bring you comfort. A pamphlet, After the Loss... Coping with the Holidays, and a related article will be sent to those families we have served since last Christmas. If you know of someone else you think might benefit from these, please let us know.
Inspirational and dashboard calendars are available at the funeral home as an expression of our appreciation and friendship to you.
Our wish for each of you is God’s presence m your heart and life in these days. Truly, God is good and blesses us by His presence at all times.
Waller Funeral Home Staff
Diversity makes our lives interesting. In our part of the country, the seasons change dramatically and beautifully and cause us to vary our activities accordingly. Other variety is provided by the diverse terrain. Without leaving our own state, we can see the uniqueness of the Gulf Coast, the mighty Mississippi River and the rich black delta it provides, the red hill country which rises almost to a low mountain range in the northeastern part of the state, and the flatness of the prairie.
Each area has its own natural trees, plants, weather conditions, and personality. All these elements affect our lifestyles. People within our own state have varying customs and have dissimilar patterns of word usage and speech. Religious practices and customs vary as well.
Traditions and customs relating to funeral services are often different from one community to another and even within each community. Choices are available and allow for our individual preferences and needs. Families should be encouraged to move carefully in making plans for honoring and memorializing one they loved. Circumstances of the death and the age and health of survivors enter into these decisions.
The weather also is a strong factor in planning and adapting funeral services. Good weather conditions seem to offer some relief in the grieving process. A delay for ice and snow places additional strain upon the family. More commonly, rain affects plans and spirits.
One rainy day comes quickly to mind. We had three funerals. The rain had come in torrents the night before and continued into the day. We had an inside labor force and an outside one. The families realized and accepted that they could not go to the cemetery. Attendance at the services was limited. Don and others worked in rain suits. They waited in the drive-through to receive each casket and proceeded immediately to the burial place. Although we had tents at the gravesites, the staff was distressed that the flowers were beaten by sheets of rain.
During this past excessively hot and dry summer, some families made the decision to have the committal service in the chapel rather than in the cemetery. The health of older persons was a major concern in these decisions.
Our long summer days allow more daylight hours for choosing the time for the funeral. If the times are arranged, two services can be held in one afternoon.
The closing of the day seems appropriate for a service. I often recall the cemetery committal service of my dear friend Elizabeth Faust Briscoe at the Clear Creek Cemetery. The sun was beginning to drop behind the trees in the woods adjoining the cemetery. The birds seemed to be in a late afternoon concert especially for Elizabeth. It was a beautiful setting.
The committal service is a significant part of the funeral. It provides a time and feeling of finality and goodbye which is a part of the grief process. Although families are free to make plans of their own choosing, I do hope that not going to the cemetery will never become the custom and practice.
The committal service is an important part of closure. Perhaps reference to closure has been overused by me and others, especially since, as I have come to accept, there is never complete closure. But each step in the process of memorializing the one who has died helps with the acceptance that that one is gone forever from us here on this earth. Whatever helps us accept that reality will be etched always in our minds. Especially with sudden, unexpected death is closure slow and difficult.
Grief seems certainly to be one of our most intimately personal emotions and our individual reactions cause each of us to cope in our own way. Often a number of people are involved in making decisions relative to the funeral service. During and after the funeral service each of these will work through their grief in their own way. Needs will be answered by different means.
At the Funeral Home, we encourage families to make plans which are meaningful and comfortable to them. While arrangements vary from family to family, our goals to facilitate planning and to assist with services which are meaningful and respectful do not change.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
— Mother Teresa
"Mama Sally" Rosson
"Mama Sally," Bob Rosson’s grandmother, became a part of our family, as did Bob, in 1978. She died on September 4, 1999, at the age of 93, after a long and full life. Her name was Sally Kate Rosson, and Bob and Beth honored her by giving their daughter that same name. But to Bob and his three brothers and their children she was always lovingly known as "Mama Sally," and we picked up on calling her that from the beginning of our acquaintance.
When our Sally Kate was born in 1983, she was the first little girl born into the Rosson family in 74 years. Mama Sally declared she couldn’t wait to buy little ruffled panties. She had waited through one son, four grandsons, and two great-grandsons.
When Mama Sally could attend a football game with the Rossons, she wanted to be among the first in the stadium. When she could not attend, she listened by radio. She was an avid supporter of Ole Miss.
Mama Sally enjoyed walking when she visited Bob and Beth. She walked pertly and well—always seeing the interesting things in the world. Perhaps her walking came naturally from having walked the halls of hospitals as a nurse. She began a life-time nursing career in 1926, having trained at Baptist Hospital in Memphis immediately following high school. She retired in 1974 from Holmes County Hospital, where she had become Director of Nursing in 1948. Although our family had not known her in her role as nurse, as Sally Kate and I talked after Mama Sally’s death, we agreed that to have her lay her hand on a brow with her caring concern would have been a strong medicine. And her radiant cheerfulness, when appropriate, would have carried much healing power. All of the wonders of today’s world of medicine do not take the place of the care and concern which were a part of nursing during Mama Sally’s career.
Bob’s father, Robert, is an only child, and Mama Sally was a widow for 47 years. There must have been some lonely, difficult times, but she never dwelled on these with her family. Recollections of her are all happy ones. When Bob and his three brothers visited her, they enjoyed with Mama Sally her favorite television programs of wrestling and Lawrence Welk.
When Mama Sally’s health began to fall, we were all saddened. She had been a lovely Southern gentlewoman with a personality that endeared her to all. She had a perpetual twinkle in her eye. She was attractive, vivacious, and enthusiastic about her life and always interested in the lives of others—especially her family and friends. She was a devout Christian who loved the Lord and expressed this in service through the Durant United Methodist Church.
As Sally Kate and I talked and grieved at her death, we remembered all the happy times with her. Mama Sally had a locket with Sally Kate’s picture in it. Robert and Betty (Bob’s parents) wanted Sally Kate to have the locket and also some mono-grammed jewelry. Sally Kate treasures these.
Mama Sally was a blessing to us all. We feel granddaughter Sally Kate has a special legacy in bearing Mama Sally’s name and in having had her as a part of her life for almost 16 years. We share our thoughts of this dear lady’s life as a tribute to her and as a memento for our own dear Sally Kate.
— Patsy Waller
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past.., we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.
And so it is with you. . we are in charge of our attitudes.
— Charles Swindoll
A replica steam engine puffs down Main Street. The sign on the side says, "Steam the Bobcats!" The first and second-graders come marching along, dressed as trappers. Their raccoon hats bob as they enthusiastically scream, "Trap the Bobcats!" The teenage king and queen wave politely from the back of an antique Jaguar. Local politicians throw candy and shake hands. The fire truck and ambulance sound their sirens, causing boys to wave and babies to cry. Merchants advertise their businesses and throw candy to the crowds. It’s home-coming, and the crowd is excited, talking and laughing.
A group of horses holds up the rear of the parade and a hush falls over the crowd. All is quiet. A horse follows another, but it has no rider. A pair of boots dangle from the saddle. A hat sits on the horn. "This ride’s for you, Tommy" is written across a small pennant on the saddle.
Tommy. The crowd is instantly reminded of an eighteen-year-old who lost control of his car in the early morning, perhaps after falling asleep, returning home from a party. Tommy, so young, so enthusiastic to start college, so devoted to this family, his friends, his baseball team, his horse. So tragic was his loss the day before, after several weeks in a coma.
But Tommy really isn’t totally gone. He leaves behind a kidney. A kidney that was put into our bus driver to replace her failed kidney. Her daughter would have donated one next month, but through Tommy’s gift, she is spared the trauma. But Tommy’s family was not spared. They lost their youngest, their cowboy, their baseball player, their "seriously playful" son.
The funeral is packed with mourners. Tommy’s baseball team friends, loved ones, family. They gather to remember, to mourn, to comfort each other, to somehow ease their loss. Yet, in a way, we have to celebrate. While we miss Tommy, we trust he is with God. While we have lost Tommy as we knew him, we have gained a kidney for Cindy. While he lost his life, a part of him still lives giving life to another.
We will miss you, Tommy. We regret the passing of your life, but we are grateful for your gift of life to another.
— Constance-Berg Bereavement Magazine, May/June 1998
As we go about with details of cemetery arrangements, especially when some change is made in the usual procedures, we are often asked "Why...?" Maybe you have wondered about some of the following questions which we have been asked.
1. Why were the flowers laid down?
Sometimes the ground gets so hard that stands cannot be pushed in. Sometimes the wind blows so hard that flowers will be blown down or blown away if they are standing.
2. Why didn’t the family go to the cemetery?
Sometimes the weather will not permit. Sometimes the health of family members makes it very difficult or inadvisable.
3. Why was the service at the graveside longer than usual?
Either the family or the minister makes this choice.
4. Why was dirt from the grave placed on another grave?
Sometimes because of space limitations around a gravesite, either seating for the family or the dirt from the newly dug grave must be placed on another grave. Putting the dirt there seems the better choice.
5. Why was a monument covered?
Sometimes a monument is covered to protect it from soil being placed nearby.
6. Why does the funeral director delay beginning a committal service?
Friends may have been delayed in moving to the gravesite. The family usually moves quickly to the site and can be anxious about a delay.
7. Why was dirt piled nearby covered?
For the sake of appearance or for protection from rain.
8. Why was the flag folded in the chapel rather than at the grave?
Probably because the family desired to have the flag folded and presented in conjunction with the playing of taps through the music system in the chapel.
If you have other questions about our procedures, please feel free to ask.
—Waller Funeral Home Staff
KEEP YOUR FORK
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So, as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her preacher and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like to have read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible.
Everything was in order and the preacher was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. "There’s one more thing," she said excitedly. "What’s that?" came the preacher’s reply. "This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand." The preacher stood looking at the woman not knowing quite what to say. "That surprises you, doesn’t it?" the woman asked. "Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request," said the preacher. The woman explained, "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that it meant something better was coming... like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and full of substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork. . . the best is yet to come.'"
The preacher’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this wouid be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than even he did. She knew something better was coming. At the funeral, people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What’s with the fork?" and over and over he smiled.
During his message, the preacher told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told the people about the fork and what it symbolized to her. The preacher told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and he told them they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh-so-gently that the best is yet to come.
BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS—SHORT DEVOTIONALS
Just as we sometimes need a little snack to take us through a long morning, afternoon, or evening, so we sometimes need a little dose of spiritual hope and encouragement to carry us through the day. The following devotional books are recommended for that small moment of uplift or for a short uplifting moment to begin or end each day.
Beside a Quiet Stream: Words of Hope for Weary Hearts, by Penelope J. Stokes. Published by J. Countryman, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1999.
Best-Loved Passages of the Bible: A Devotional, a collection of devotions by pastors, authors, editors, speakers, and others published by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1997.
Do Not Lose Heart: Meditations of Encouragement and Comfort, by Dave and Jan Dravecky with Steve Halliday. Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998.
God’s Little Devotional Book for Moms, a collection published by Honor Books, Inc., 1995.
Wisdom from the Psalms: 365 Days of Wisdom and Encouragement, by Dan Dick. Published by Barbour & Company, Inc., Uhrichsville, Ohio, 1994
.Somehow, not only for Christmas
But all the long year through
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
— John Greenleaf Whittier
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from August 21, 1999, through November 14,1999.
Mrs. Debbie Tatum McLarty / August 21, 1999
Mrs. Mary Ann Nolan Harris / August 23, 1999
Mr. Clayton Rand Leard / August 23, 1999
Mrs. Julia O’Neal Davis / August 26, 1999
Mr. James H. "Bunky" Barner, Jr / August 27, 1999
Mr. Linburn S. "Lynn" Evans / September 1, 1999
Mr. Eugene "Possum" Smith / September 2, 1999
Mrs. Eugenia Franklin Holcomb / September 3, 1999
Mr. Van Pat Oswalt / September 9, 1999
Mr. William Thomas Gunter / September 13, 1999
Mr. Michael William Seligman / September 13, 1999
Mr. William Prentiss Young / September 17, 1999
Mr. Earnest Earl Tidwell / September 23, 1999
Mr. Austin Tyler Hood / September 24, 1999
Mr. Bill Andrew Hannaford / September 28, 1999
Mrs. Hazel Jarvis Hurdle / September 30, 1999
Mr. John Frederick Carrington / September 30, 1999
Mrs. Vera Walker McCoy / October 1,1999
Mrs. Yonnie Downs Hollowell / October 2, 1999
Mrs. Gaither Garrett Murphey / October 2, 1999
Mr. Leland Stanford "Lee" Moore / October 4, 1999
Mrs. Mary Fortner Harwell. / October 7, 1999
Mrs. Lorine Ferrell Bonds / October 8, 1999
Michael Austin Welshans / October 9,1999
Mr. James Quinton Hall / October 10, 1999
Mrs. Joyce Carwile Daniels / October 11, 1999
Mr. Robert Edgar Johnson / October 14, 1999
Mrs. Nettie Mae Parks Mayfield / October 14, 1999
Mrs. Elizabeth Harris Chinault / October 15, 1999
Mrs. Mildred King Kellum / October 15, 1999
Mrs. Mary Patterson Hem / October 18, 1999
Mrs. Verdie Fowler Pierce / October 22, 1999
Mr. Freddie Lamar "Jiggs" McCord / November 2,1999
Mr. Weldon Wayne Brown / November 3,1999
Mrs. Blanche White Jones / November 4, 1999
Mrs. Rose Pearl Wood Bailey / November 5, 1999
Miss Anna Belle Langford / November 7, 1999
Mr. Clytie Bishop Jones / November 9, 1999
Mr. Jeffery Lee Henson / November 9, 1999
Mrs. Lavenia Logan Crowson / November 11, 1999
Mrs. Velma Wilson Sparks / November 14, 1999