Spring 1989


Since this past August when I reluctantly accepted the reality that because of my inner ear disease I could no longer effectively assist families with funeral planning or participate meaningfully during visitation, I have wanted to tell you of this decision and to share with you how it has affected by life and to share also some reflections on other times when God’s direction and my personal desires were quite different.

Slightly more than three years ago as I sat on the last pew during a Sunday morning worship service, I unconsciously wrote, "When He moves you from the front to the back, Patsy, you do not have to understand— just remember He knows why." As I sat in that worship service — unable to hear the scripture, prayers, sermon, and hymns — my thoughts went back through the years when my place in religious and civic activities had often been "up front." In worship services I had been on the piano bench or the front pew as I played the piano for revivals in churches and missions throughout the county and as I served as church pianist for thirty-two years. Yet on that day in 1985 I was but a weak participant, and on that day I was more comfortable away from the attention of the front.

To be unable to participate fully in services leaves a tremendous void. I especially miss the pleasure of music as all musical tones are now distorted. I am grateful that during the years I was involved in church music I memorized the words of many hymns. Now the words have taken on more significance and reciting them quietly to myself has added a new dimension to my worship life.

I know the money my parents paid for music lessons from 1944 through my high school graduation in 1950 was needed elsewhere for the family, and I am grateful for their sacrifices and also for the encouragement they provided. I remember how thrilled Daddy was when I could play "Jesus Lover of My Soul" and two other easy hymns. He sat by the piano and sang through these time after time as he rocked Ava in her cradle. He wanted me to play the convention-type songs he enjoyed, but I was never able to get the swinging tempo of these. Ava was his ultimate joy in playing the piano and in singing too. Hers is a natural talent that does not require reading each note and counting each measure.

As a teenager I began accompanying a quartet, usually Daddy, Sybil Metts Hill, Karl Metts, and Robert Ed Jones, as they went out to sing for funeral services. After Daddy’s heart attack, he was not able to "help out at funerals" as he phrased it. He felt this was a ministry. While I was working for him in the Chancery Clerk’s Office, occasionally someone joked about how often Jesse and Patsy were out for funerals.

In 1976, after I had lost the race for reelection as Chancery Clerk in August 1975, I found myself with "no place to go and nothing to do." We had prayed for success in the campaign if it was God’s will for my life, but, if not, that He would help me accept the loss. Friends kindly reminded me that God must have something greater and better for me to do. I recall one hot July afternoon painfully straightening up while picking butterbeans and saying, "God, whatever it is you have in store for me, please let me in on it soon!" I had worked outside the home since 1960, and Don and I recognized that I am happier when I am involved in an outside job. This was especially true after the children were grown. This period in 1976 of going from a very active life to one of few demands required much adjustment on my part.

In 1977, believing we had found the answer, we began moving toward the establishment of the funeral home. Once there, as had been true at other times in life, I again experienced the peace of knowing I was in His place for me. I cannot describe the feeling I have for being with families at the funeral home. It seemed so natural to me although I had no previous experience. From the time we learned of a death, my thoughts centered on the family and helping them until the services were completed and follow-up letters and visits were done. Funeral service is unique. There we are associated with people in one of the most intimate times in life. A very special bond exists between a good funeral director and the family of the deceased one.

After breaking my hip and the beginning of my ear problems, I did not continue serving as church pianist. It seemed to me that when someone was needed at the funeral home on Sunday morning that I could be that person. The staff are all faithful in their worship lives with their families and Don was in our church choir and had other responsibilities there. In 1987 and early 1988 I began to realize that I could not adequately handle responsibilities at the funeral home because telephone and other conversations became more and more difficult. I began then wondering just where I fit into the picture. Once again a door was closing on me. In August 1988 I gave up day-to-day responsibilities at the funeral home. I am sad that I cannot be there. I want to be with every family we serve, and I continue a very active interest in all that goes on there.

When we began the funeral home we desired to portray a feeling of our family serving other families, and we were delighted that when we purchased Elliott Funeral Home in 1983 that Beth and Bob came to work with us. In the six years we worked together, they have learned much about the communities and people and about understanding and serving the grieving. Don and I feel blest that Beth and Bob have "taken to" the business and are here representing our family from day to day serving those who need us. "Our family" at the funeral home also includes loyal and dedicated employees. Bobby Phelps and Terry Robbins, with varied responsibilities at the funeral home and with insurance, are well acquainted with and attuned to the needs of the people throughout the area, as is Robbie Ash, a life-long Lafayette Countian, who provides personal attention to many at the Elliott-Waller Insurance Office. We have complete confidence and great pride in our staff.

And what about me? What have I been doing? Throughout the fall of 1988 I traveled with Don as he made a statewide campaign for president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. He was elected to this position in December, and we are spending much of our time during the week in Jackson. Now I understand that I needed to be free to be with Don as he enjoys his new position and all that it has brought into his life. We promised in 1952 to put each other immediately following God in our lives. Don had always willingly supported me in my involvements while he worked hard in less conspicuous endeavors. Now it is my turn to have a supportive role in the background with Don as well as the funeral home. Had I been able to work at the funeral home, I would have been torn between that responsibility and being with Don. That choice was not left to me. God called me aside from a place of satisfying service and opened a new door in my life.

I am not self-pitying and I am not seeking pity. I often remind myself that the inner disease is not painful nor will it be fatal; it is simply a lifestyle-changing handicap. I realize too that everyone must experience disappointments. Some, as death, loss of health, and broken relationships, are more severe than others. I do not believe God sends these into our lives, but He does permit them to come. How well we overcome adversity rather than permitting it to overcome us is our decision.

Further, my new role is very satisfying as I see Don and the funeral home staff ‘up front." And who knows what the future holds? Certainly none of us do! I could experience complete healing before you read these words. Just as Jesus promised Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you." I know He will sustain me. I simply must rely upon Him. I will continue to claim Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."

The most important factor in my life is knowing that on any day I am in the place God would have me be at that particular time. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28) has become more meaningful than ever before during the past eight months.

Recently the words of one of my favorite comic strip characters, B.C., in the strip of the same name by Johnny Hart, touched me so much that I have had the strip laminated so it will last. B.C., with his crude wooden leg, is sitting under a tree on a hill— a spot similar to the one where I often sit and meditate. B.C., in his Stone Age setting, is listing on a stone tablet things for which he is thankful. He writes:


I’m thankful that I have one leg. To limp is no disgrace.
Although I can’t be number one I still can run the race.
It’s not the things you cannot do, That make you what you are.
It’s doing good with what you’ve got That lights the morning star.
As B.C. so aptly puts it, there may be some things I cannot do, but there are many I can and possibly one of these will light a morning star.

One of the things I enjoy doing is communicating with you through this newsletter. I always feel after a newsletter goes out that I have gotten off a letter to a good friends. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


By Granger E. Westberg

Years ago when I first experienced grief as an adult, I needed to understand that to grieve is human. I mistakenly believed that a Christian should not grieve, that grieving was questioning God, that we must simply endure the pain. Consequently, although I could not keep from grieving, I grieved privately and guiltily, which was surely not a healthy coping with grief.

In Good Grief Dr. Westberg admonishes that we take the scripture "Grieve not" and by all means add the other eight words, "Grieve not as those who have no hope," then perhaps add, "but for goodness’ sake, grieve when you have something worth grieving about." Dr. Westberg also suggests how to deal with small griefs in life as well as those large grief experiences which can overwhelm us.

Since we established Waller Funeral Home, I have read extensively about grief and coping with grief. I have read and studied this small paperback,Good Grief, as I would a textbook. It has helped me significantly in understanding grief and coping with grief, and I recommend that you add it to the book's suggestions which we have previously presented in Seasons.Good Grief is available in paperback for $2.25 and is also available in large print. 

We dedicate this issues of SEASONS to those who have died and whose families we have served from February 20, 1989 to May 7, 1989.

Mrs. Velma G. Waller / February 20, 1989

Mr. Halbert C. Flemons / February 22, 1989

Mr. Aubrey Lee Christman / February 28, 1989

Mrs. Ellen Lucille Henderson / March 5, 1989

Mr. William J. Tatum / March 9, 1989

Mrs. Elleine "Mutt" Falkner / March 9, 1989

Mrs. Hallie Denton Franklin / March 10, 1989

Mr. Herbert Jessie Cannon / March 11, 1989

Mr. Harry Edward Powell / March 14, 1989

Mrs. Brenda Rose McCaffrey / March 16, 1989

Mrs. Vera Lucille Ryan / March 17, 1989

Mrs. Mary Ethel Hail / March 18, 1989

Mr. Jimcy Sullivan / March 23, 1989

Mrs. Lora Martin Campbell / March 26, 1989

Mr. John Wade Cole / March 29, 1989

Mr. Thomas Wesley Johnson / April 2, 1989

Mr. William Samuel Griffin / April 4, 1989

Mrs. Hattie Mae Gardner / April 4, 1989

Mrs. Margie Louise Tidwell / April 5, 1989

Mr. Marion Hickey Tabor / April 8, 1989

Mrs. Pauline Knight Cearley / April 12, 1989

Mr. Lois William Phillips / April 16, 1989

Mr. Arthur Melvin Carpenter / April 22, 1989

Mrs. Opal Lee Davis / April 25, 1989

Mrs. Johnnie "Johnsie" Vaught / April 27, 1989

Mr. John Henry Lott / April 30, 1989

Mr. Grover Cleveland Carroll / May 3, 1989

Mr. Herman Hickey Rushing / May 4, 1989

Mr. J. J. Stewart / May 5, 1989

Mr. Elbert Earl Sartin / May 6, 1989


"Hoping never to be a burden to my family, I have done everything I can to take care of the future. I’ve made a will. I have some insurance. And I’ve taken another step – pre-arrangement of my funeral. 

"I feel better knowing that my family will be spared the stress of planning a paying for my funeral when the inevitable comes. And I have hedged on inflation by paying on today’s prices. I also feel better knowing that my wishes will be carried out. And pre-arrangement was simple. 

"The ‘what if’ seems less threatening and life seems better today since I chose my pre-need funeral plan."
For information on a pre-need plan to suit you, just call Waller Funeral Home (662-234-7971). We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the plans we offer for pre-planning and/or pre-paying in confidence at your convenience with no obligation.

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