My Mama, Cheryl Darlene Johnson Rose, was a lifelong member and vital part of Choates Creek United Methodist Church. She was baptized here as a baby, married Daddy right here, and last August we held her funeral and celebration of life in the very same spot. Throughout her life, this church served as a constant source of community and support, no matter what else was going on.
I can imagine her sweet little spunky blond-haired self marching through the doors of this church, in a freshly-pressed handmade dress and packing herself into a pew with her siblings.
When Mama had babies of her own, she made sure Ritchie and I were here for every church service, Sunday School and Children’s Day. When her babies had babies, she did the same, making sure her grandbabies, Trevan, Grayson, Britton, and Blake, were in every Children’s Day.
Mama was the person behind the scenes making sure everything around the church ran smoothly. No job was too big for Mama to take on and no detail was too small to be ignored by her.
She hunted high and low across the backroads for the perfect bouquet for the pulpit, gathering Queen Ann’s lace and wild roses before arranging them into lovely bouquets every Sunday. You could always count on her to have plenty of good food ready for every dinner-on-the-grounds or covered dish meal. She would have never come empty handed. Mama served as the unofficial-official photographer for every church event, documenting every occasion with her trusty camera in hand. She would arrange the candles for every Children’s Day. At one time or another, she held every possible office of the United Methodist Women, helping organize everything from fundraisers, to bean suppers, to fish fries, to Christmas goodie packages for the shut-ins, to the annual plant sale – one of her personal favorites.
Mama wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty either! From cleaning the church with Grandmommie to mowing the grass in the cemetery with Granddaddy, Mama was ready to get whatever needed to be done, done. Nothing could stop her! On one occasion, Mama and 14 year-old Britton were weed-eating the cemetery and Mama stepped on a yellowjackets’ nest. After being stung several times, Mama got Britton to drive her to the hospital, got patched up, and then immediately went back to finish the job.
Mama could do anything and she did it well.
It’s fitting and a bit surreal to be memorializing her on Children’s Day. This place, these people and this day meant so much to her.
I wanted to read a few verses from Proverbs that capture Mama’s incredible spirit.
Proverbs 31 verses 25-31 says:
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her
27 She watches over the affairs of her
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is
but a woman who fears the LORD is to
31 Honor her for all that her hands have
and let her works bring her praise at
the city gate.
May Mama Rest In Peace and know how much she is loved and missed.