Death is inevitable. One day, each of us will die. We don't know when or how - only that it will come to pass someday.
God promises that this will happen and I believe His words - that it is appointed that each of us shall die someday.
Last Thursday night, death came for my mother-in-law, Ivylin Howell White, whose life had spanned 83 years. Despite the courageous battle she waged against cancer, the lady known as Mom, Grandma and Mammy and a friend to so many people, went to be with God.
The two are no strangers to each other. For my mother-in-law faithfully served the Lord much of her life. She even taught Sunday School for more than 40 years at Long Creek Baptist Church in the Jewell Community of neighboring Warren County. During her years of teaching, she helped spread the word of God to others.
She was an exceptional, intelligent lady, who knew what she was talking about when it came to matters pertaining to the Bible. Although I didn't attend her class, we discussed the teachings of God in many conversations that we shared during the 10 plus years that I had the pleasure of knowing and being a part of her family.
My mother-in-law was the exception when it comes to mother-in-laws. She was nothing like what many son-in-laws might tend to think about their mother-in-laws. My mother-in-law was like a second mother to me. I not only loved and respected her - I admired her for who she was and what she was all about.
She was a gifted writer of poetry and even had a poem published in an international book of poetry a few years ago. It was her first published poem and was featured as the first one in the book - a copy of which I shall always cherish.
She didn't just know about God's teachings. She also knew about many other subjects, too, including day-to-day problems that we all encounter. She always seemed to know the right thing to say to people - no matter the situation. Her advice and wisdom helped many, including myself.
My mother-in-law was special in so many ways. Her three children, Doug, Cindy and Laurie, perhaps knew that best of all. Even her longtime brother-in-law and my wife's uncle, Jerry Frost, could attest to that fact.
Her words were encouraging and comforting to others, especially to my wife on a nightly basis. The two shared so much more than a relationship as mother-daughter. They were best friends, too.
Now that my mother-in-law has departed this life for Heaven - the Promise Land that she always looked so forward to seeing someday - Laurie has asked my Mama to help try and fill that void. My Mama says she feels honored. I know my Mama will listen and offer helpful wisdom, too, because she truly loves her daughter-in-law. When I learned that had happened, I loved the both of them just that much more. For that's a pretty special thing, too.It reminded me of the time when I was about to become a member of the White family. I remember Mrs. White telling me that I would be welcomed into the family just like a son. I was so honored and humbled by that statement. I still am. What she said to me meant so much. She wanted me to call her Mom, but I chose, instead, to call her Mammy - a name pinned on her by my 16-year-old stepson, Daniel Palmer, when he was just a little fellow.
At the same time Mammy took me into her family, she also took my son, David, too. It was somewhat of a package deal all the way â€˜round, you could say.
I shall never forget my mother-in-law as long as I live. For she wasn't just a good lady or a fine lady. She was an exceptional lady whom we all loved so much. I look forward to seeing her again someday in Heaven, just as my wife and her siblings do.
When our family vacations again at Edisto Beach, S.C. and I look across the wide ocean of water that stares back at me, I shall remember my mother-in-law and how much she enjoyed life, the beach, the water and all of the things that God created.