I want to honor and celebrate the life of a daughter of God. Dee Marion was a loving sister, an exceptional mom, an endearing grandmother, a “great” grandmother, and a godly gal who will be missed by our church. I had privilege of being labeled one of Dee’s adopted grandchildren. She made me feel like part of the family. If I felt loved and pampered, can you imagine how her true grandchildren felt?
I suppose there was a time when Dee could have in actuality been my grandmother. On one occasion, my grandfather came to visit from Milwaukee. After meeting him at church on Sunday, Dee ask, “Justin, is your grandfather single?” I about choked on my tongue. I looked at her with a grimace and said, “Granny Dee! That’s just weird!” We laughed. Every now and then she would bring it up again. And we would laugh.
Dee adopted me at the age of 23, and that would have made her 68. I would pick her up in my small green Saturn station-wagon and we would eat breakfast at Bob Evans or have vegetable soup and cold cuts at her apartment [I think that was the only thing she knew how to cook!]. I would dub our visits, ‘a date with Dee.’ I am not sure who enjoyed it more? An older woman with a younger man? Or a young man getting his fill on a good meal?
On our dates we would mostly talk about her family, look at pictures, and fellowship about her True Love, her Savior. Before leaving we would pray, sometimes for a long while. I will miss hearing her pray. She would mostly pray for her family; that they would love Jesus Christ. After my dates with Dee, I would walk away so encouraged. Like the way you feel after leaving grandma’s house. You see, Dee was for me, more of a spiritual grandma than my own grandmothers. Here’s how I want to remember Dee:
I will remember her true strength. It may be difficult to remember, since the last 3 years of Dee’s life she walked with a walker and her health was a nagging reminder that age had caught up with her body, but Dee was a woman of incredible strength. She would flexes her muscles playing backyard football with the boys.
Her greatest strength was that smile. One of my favorite pictures of Dee is of her rocking out to Guitar Hero; wielding an axe in hands and determination in her spirit. Her strength could sometimes be mistaken for her stubborn and/or strong will. Dee had her opinions. If you did not know what she was thinking, just wait a few moments and you will know. Don’t be mistaken; Dee’s true strength came from her faith in Christ.
Proverbs 31:17-31 “She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy…Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…Her children rise up and call her blessed…charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
I will remember her strength in weakness. Dee was not afraid to talk about her past. As a young man it was good to listen her stories and weep with her over the weary road, and learn how she came through scarred yet stronger. Earthly relationships sought to beat, bruise and break her externally and internally, but she fought through the pain, bitterness and brokenness only to come forth as a faithful follower of Christ. I suppose she could relate to her Savior who also walked a path of pain, bruising, and brokenness at the hands of others. Her weakness was her Saviors strength.
The last 36 months were the hardest for Dee. In God’s sovereignty, He allowed her body to face the battles of cancer, age, painful infections, and weakness. This world could not weather or worry her spirit. Her smile and eternal perspective on life pierced through the pain like a bright beam of hope.
I will remember her suffering and dying well. Did she complain? Yes. Did she mention her pain? Yes. Did she want to go Home? Yes. But through it all, her eyes were fixed on her Savior. She would temporarily miss the immediate affection of her family, but the attraction of being with her Heavenly Father was the greatest affection of her heart.
I will remember her love for her family. Her children [Butch, Mike, Denise, Dee Anna, and Scott] were the apples of her eyes. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren were what kept her fighting the good faith. Dee had a picture of her entire family. It was one of the few pictures with everyone together. She cherished that photo. When you get a chance, read her journals and you will hear her prayers, her worries, her fears, her heart, her tears, and her anxieties. She desired her family to know and to love her Savior too.
I will remember her contagious love for Jesus Christ. Spend a moment with Dee and you will hear about her love for Jesus and His church. She loved the Word, studying with her friends, and talking about its truth with all who would listen. You can only imagine, Dee sitting at her Saviors feet, worshiping the one she loved.
It would be easy to make your faith Dee’s faith. Don’t bank your eternal destiny on Dee’s faith. She owned her faith in Christ and prayed that you would too. Dee is not here anymore to remind you about going to church or remind you about the promises of Christ. Remember Dee’s Jesus. He is your only hope of salvation as was hers.