What an awful word. What an awful responsibility. I was asked by Stacy's mom to speak at her funeral. How could I say no? I wanted to-- I really did. I wanted someone else's words to comfort me...and I did not want to have to think of what to say when my mind was so numb and my emotions so raw. I wanted to sit firmly planted in my chair and cry until the tears were dry. I was grieving and wanted to do so on my own terms. I am not a public speaker on my best day...nevermind my worst day. I don't ever have the right words to say. I am a much better listener. But it wasn't about me. I was the one closest to her and now I had to search for a way to bring a smile to all the tear stained faces that would be staring at me. I had to be brutally honest in a delicate situation. I had to share the hope that is within me because of Jesus Christ. I had to do this in a standing room only packed room of people. Some friends, some former enemies, some family, some strangers. My words and strength came from only one source...my Lord and Savior. And here is what I said...
As you look back on phases of your life there are a few insignificant moments that become forever memories, as was a bang on my door over 20 years ago. There stood this girl whose name I heard over and over again. She said (in a typical Stacy voice) "I'm Stacy Coles and I'm looking for Andrea. Staring face-to-face I told her " I don't care who you are and Andrea's not here" as I shut the door in her face. There was another knock and when I opened it this time she was a little kinder and she asked, "well can I wait for her then?" Little did I know as I let her in that day it was the beginning of a beautiful lasting friendship.
Stacy had a heart as big as the ocean is deep. She tried to help out everyone she could, however she could. That was the kind of person she was. To know Stacy was to love her and sometimes not so much- Because there is no denying that she could be difficult and trying at times and wasn't the easiest person to get along with. In fact, she was the most stubborn person I have ever met in my life! But that is what made Stacy who she was and that is what love is- taking the best and the worst of someone and loving them anyway in spite of themselves, even when they are not very lovable. Yes, Stacy was a spitfire and if she felt you wronged her, there was a heavy price to pay! I'm sure everyone here has felt Stacy's wrath at one time or another. But it was that fire inside that made her fight for what was right. It was that fire that made her love with every ounce of her being. It was that fire that drove her to push on when it would've been so much easier to give up.
One thing is for absolute certain...she loved her daughter fiercely. She was so proud of you, Taylor. She loved you so so much. She always wanted the best for you. You were the very reason for every breath she took.
We will miss her. We will miss her voice. We will miss her texts -that sometimes made no sense! We will miss her smile and her laughter. We will miss the presence of her in our lives.
I may not see Stacy again this side of heaven, but I know I will see her again someday, because when she visited me in Texas 12 years ago she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior...something I did 14 years ago...something you can do today.
Stacy called me on Christmas Eve and told me she loved me she told me she "gets it now" that she really gets it and that she finally understood God had a purpose for her life. She said her eyes were opened, wide opened. There was something different her voice that day. Looking back, I think she knew somehow.
For a Christian death isn't the end. It's the beginning. The beginning of eternity where our hearts will never have to feel the sting of death or cruelty of life again. I believe Stacy ultimate purpose may have been to gather all those near and dear to her heart together today to hear it now that Heaven is a real place. The place she is at this very moment.
I can only imagine when she opened her eyes in Glory what went through her mind. I can almost hear her saying " oh my gosh, did I die?!? And then she took that first step she so desperately missed. She can run and jump. She can do cartwheels.
Stacy impacted everyone who is in this room in one way or another. She was a daughter, a mother, a niece, a cousin, a friend. To me- she was my best friend. She was my confidant. She was my hero. She was the wind beneath my wings.
Death is not something we ever get over, we just somehow learn to get used to it.
We have to get used to the absence of someone who was so special in our lives.
I found a poem so very fitting and I can hear Stacy proclaiming loudly ....
When I come to the end of the road,
and the sun has set for me
I want no tears in a gloom filled room
why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little,but not for long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love we once shared,
miss me -but let me go.
For this is a journey, we all must take
and each must go alone.
It's all part of the master plan,
a step on the road home.
When you're lonely and sick at heart,
go to the friends we know.
Laugh at the things we used to do,
miss me -but let me go.
I miss her so much.