My Grandmother’s Homegoing

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  • I attended my grandmother’s funeral yesterday in Oklahoma City. I was in town for less than 24 hours. And it felt like I was in the air – coming and going – longer than I was on the ground. But I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend and be with my family during this important time.

    Eula B. Sheffield, my mother’s mom, lived a long, rich, and full life. She was a free spirit, a straight talker, and a relentless lover of her family and friends. She had a tough exterior. I cannot remember one occasion when I was in her presence that I was not nervous. But she had a soft heart. When she said, “I love you,” you knew she meant it. And she would back it up.

    My grandmother had been sick over the past few years. In fact, my mother moved back to Oklahoma City from Los Angeles, a few years ago, out of concern for my grandmother’s failing health. And the last year or two had been really difficult for grandmother. So I am glad that her days of sickness and suffering are over. She is at peace. She is at rest. And she is at home with the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Eula B. was my last living grandparent. My maternal grandfather died when I was six-years-old. And I never had the opportunity to meet of my paternal grandparents. This reality weighed on me when I arrived at grandma’s home yesterday morning. This has been the family home for decades. And there are some things in the house that are just the way they were when I was a little boy. It was a little bit overwhelming. But thank God for precious memories.

    People were coming into the house that I did not know. I spoke and introduced myself, only to discover these were cousins and relatives that I had not seen for years. It was great to see everyone. My brother, Renaldo, was there. My nephew, Jasten, is now a grown man. My cousin Ronnie just had a new baby. We are definitely not kids anymore! Psalm 90:12 was on my mind all day: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

    The service was very uplifting. The presence of local pastors was very encouraging. My little sister, Donetta, sung, “Amazing Grace.” Pastor Bradford preached a comforting message from my favorite psalm – Psalm 23. I was on program to give remarks. I asked out of this responsibility. I was there to join my family in paying our respects to grandmother. But my Aunt Debbie insisted. And I am glad she did. It was an honor to speak in tribute of my grandmother and to offer words of comfort to my family.

    As we sat and chatted at the repast, it was time for me to head to the airport for my flight home. It all went by so fast. And I miss everyone already.

    Thank you for your prayers, condolences, and expressions of love for my family during this period. It means more than you can know. And thanks in advance for your continued prayers.

    “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.