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Tribute to the late Rhona Elritha Samuel of Sayers, Marriaqua

Eulogy delivered by Clinton Samuel at the Marriaqua Methodist Church on 11th April, 2009.

Today, I represent a family that is deeply saddened. Our mother has silently closed the door of life and departed from us. Death, though sure, is always difficult but it is more so for us on this occasion because she stole away so suddenly. Yet, we do find some comfort in the quiet way that she passed. That was her nature – she was never one to complain or fret or burden others. Calmness was her hallmark.

My mother was small in stature but was a giant in her strength of character – she possessed an unwavering faith in God, an invincible spirit, a fierce independence and purposeful resolve. We can draw many lessons from her life – a life that exemplified industriousness and simplicity; a life that inspired emulation; a life that forged paths for others to follow.{{more}}

My mother was born Rhona Elritha Wynne on 12th December, 1929, in Montaque to Claris and James Wynne. She was the second of six children born to our grandmother, and had three other siblings by Grandfather. Mother is predeceased by her elder sister, Ira. In 1956, Mother married Glenroy Samuel of La Croix and the couple settled at Sayers. The marriage produced seven children, six boys and one girl – Otnel, Telbert, Elsa, Denville, Lancelot, Ashley and me, Clinton.

Albert Einstein said, “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us; our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.” It seems that Mother was preparing for church when she was called home; and several of her children were either in church or also preparing to attend church when we got the news. Last week, in offering her condolences in church here, Mrs. Crick [Society Steward at the Marriaqua Methodist Church] described Mother as a very supportive church member, and spoke about her reading in church the week before her passing. We are told that she read for someone who was ill that Sunday, and that the following Sunday when she passed was in fact her turn to read. She has passed on to all of us a desire to serve and live for our Creator. If there were more mothers like mine, our world would be a place of peace and contentment, and we certainly would not be experiencing the woes of an economic crisis today. Mother embraced the values of honesty, integrity, and harmony. She was the tower of strength that kept our family well-grounded and close-knit.

Mother was a homemaker; a seamstress, having attended needle school with her sister Ira, Carlos’ [James of Hopewell] mother; a farmer and a market vendor. We believe that in her later years, she continued to go to the market, not to earn a living but to remain active and to afford her the opportunity to continue to meet people. Also, Mother hated wastage, and always wanted to make good use of available resources. She was a master of economics, and exercised financial prudence in all her dealings. I remember well her resounding advice, particularly in my carefree days as a recent college graduate when I was a party animal (no sleep at all, in the words of Problem Child’s hit) – Mother would say, “You working for more money than me; it is not how much you work for but how much you save!” Her mantra was “put something away for a rainy day.” She was modest and enjoyed a simple life; she was not given to extravagance in any form. The only indulgence she afforded herself were visiting new places and dressing well. Mother never liked to be in debt, and always saw it necessary to pay promptly for any service she received, even when it was offered to her free of charge.

I must mention that my mother migrated to the USA in the 1980s to provide opportunities for her children. I, in particular, benefitted from her sacrifice in those years as she greatly assisted me through college. Despite the protests of my father, Mother remained in the US until she had accomplished her purpose for being there, and all her children residing there were well-established. Mother, herself was self-taught academically but appreciated the value of a good education, and encouraged her children to strive to achieve their full potential.

Mother was one of few words, and she was a master of secrecy. She was a trusted confidante to her children and I am sure to other relatives and friends. Despite her reserved nature, Mother had a great sense of humour, and could see the funny side of any situation. I remember last summer when I was closing a real estate deal, Mother overheard the conversation. When the real estate broker left, Mother said to me, “Who help you buy big belly horse, don’t help you cut grass!”

Mother will forever live in our hearts and souls. I will share a few verses of a poem, the author of which is unknown. I think we can find solace and inspiration in these words:

Death always seems so sudden,
And it is always sure,
But what is oft’ forgotten
It is not without a cure.

I’m walking now with someone,
And I know He’ll always stay,
I know He’s walking with you too,
Giving comfort every day.

There may be times you miss me,
I sort of hope you do,
But smile when you think of me,
For I’ll be waiting for you.

Now there’s many things for you to do,
And lots of ways to grow,
So get busy, be happy, and live your life,
Miss me but let me go.

On behalf of my brothers and sister, our immediate family and our extended family, I thank you all for your presence here to honour our mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend and to celebrate her life. We thank God for the time she spent with us.

Farewell, Mother… until we meet again.