On Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, at 9:32 a.m., my beloved wife Brenda went to Heaven. Last night, April 12, we had the viewing for Brenda. It was a sweet and moving time. Hundreds of people attended—some we had not seen for many years and others with whom we deal almost daily. There were so many expressions of love and support. Our deep sadness was softened by the love we received from these precious people.
This morning we had the funeral service at Mount Hebron Baptist Church. Once more, God manifested Himself in such a precious way. The music was heavenly. My dear friend, Pastor Ezekiel Salazar, preached exactly what we needed. He reminded us that we sorrow, but not as those who have no hope. Thank God for that blessed hope!
Our son Jonathan, with tears and sobs, did a marvelous job in planning every detail. It was all a tribute worthy of the life and testimony of my dear wife and Jonathan’s mother. During the service, our daughter Tammie was seated at my left side, and her husband Henry, their four children and their daughter-in-law, my sister Billie Sloan and her son David to her left. Our son Stephen, with his wife Ruth and their three children, was at my right side. Jonathan and Jenny, their four children, and Emily Knight, the Christian lady who had great influence on Jenny’s childhood and teenage years, were seated behind us, but very close. I cannot describe the strength I received by being literally surrounded by my family. My three children, each in his and her own way, are a worthy reflection of their mother’s love, devotion, and example. I wish that every father could be as proud of his children as I am of mine.
Our daughter-in-law Jenny, Jonathan’s wife, sang a song called “Faces,” accompanied by our church choir. Brenda, an accomplished pianist, had made the soundtrack some time ago. It was incredibly beautiful and so appropriate. It seems that the words were written specifically to commemorate Brenda’s life.
Our daughter-in-law Ruth, Stephen’s wife, chose the flower arrangements: one from each child, one from each of her two sisters, Peggy and Nyla, one from Nancy, Peggy’s best friend who is like a sister, and one from me. If Brenda had chosen them herself, they would not have been more beautiful or appropriate.
I wish I could properly express my appreciation to Brenda’s sisters, Peggy Dieu and Nyla Wesner, and their husbands, Don and Garry, for the many practical ways in which they showed once again what a wonderful, loving family in which Brenda grew up. All three girls and their brother Dale have been a testimony to the nurture and admonition of the Lord in which Grandmommy and Pappy Irby reared them.
The pain of missing Brenda is deeper than I could have ever imagined, but God’s grace is more abundant than what I had anticipated. The void she left in my life and heart will never be filled. I know that the process of adjusting to a life without her physical presence, something that seems incomprehensible, is just beginning, and that it will be a long one, perhaps never-ending. But with God’s grace, the help of my children and my brothers and sisters in Christ, and for her sake, I will keep serving the Lord Brenda loved so much.
Thank you for your prayers and expressions of support and love. God is good, all the time.
In the love of Christ,
Brother Tommy Ashcraft