My mom passed away just over 4 weeks ago. In the days immediately following her death, there was a deep sense of peace and relief; she had suffered so long and was finally at rest. My dad, brothers and I felt she deserved to go. We knew a great reward awaited her as she moved on from this life into the next; this truth brought us profound comfort. In the weeks following her funeral, the grief set in. I have found moving forward without her to be increasingly difficult. There’s a part of me that wants to freeze time so as not to experience anything in her absence. Of course, I cannot do that. Of course, that isn’t really my desire. I have a life to live, purposes to fulfill, a husband, a daughter and many loved ones to enjoy. I miss her deeply. I miss her more than I thought possible. Her absence is loud and severe and yet, in the midst of my pain, there is peace.
Below is her eulogy; it was read by a treasured family member at her funeral. I wanted to share it here because my mom was a light and her light must shine on. These few words will give you a glimpse of an incredibly adored woman who I had the pleasure of calling mom…
Pamela June was born on July 10, 1954 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky to Ed and Peggy Johnson and big brother, Steve. She was a proud, self-proclaimed army brat and traveled the world with her family for most of her early years.
The Johnson family eventually settled in Oregon where Pam attended Oregon City High School and Gladstone First Baptist Church. She was social and outgoing; making friends everywhere she went. Although Perry attended the same high school and church, their love story didn’t begin until the afternoon Pam spotted a Landeen Welding Supplies truck at her apartment complex. In true Pam form, she immediately marched over (her best friend Jean in tow) to find out which of the Lewis boys had moved in. After a brief conversation with Perry, she invited him over to dye Easter eggs. They were engaged by the following Fall.
Perry and Pam were married on February 23, 1975 in this very sanctuary. As Perry tells it, he had never met anyone with as much personality and zest for life as Pam. She was vibrant and everyone wanted to be around her. They were a classic case of opposites attracting; both admiring the traits of the other.
Their son, Tyler, was born a few weeks after their first anniversary on March 7, 1976. They were overcome. Pam and Perry had always talked about adopting and 3 years later they began the process of international adoption. Their daughter, Reshma, arrived from Calcutta, India in June of 1980 at 3 months old. Several years later they felt the Lord prodding them to adopt again. Simeon was adopted in January of 1986 and their family was complete.
Pam was the quintessential stay at home mom. She absolutely loved caring for her children and husband. She never missed a soccer game, music lesson or event at her childrens’ schools. Pam loved hosting families and exchange students; she loved them all unreservedly. The Lewis home was a place of solitude for their children and so many of their family and friends. Pam and Perry cultivated an environment in which everyone felt welcome. Pam found so much joy in having a full home; she cooked and entertained and loved on all who entered. Everyone left the Lewis home well fed and blessed.
Perry and Pam both loved the Lord and raised their children with an emphasis on Biblical principles. They never claimed perfection and that was not the standard set in their home. They allowed their children to grow, learn and make mistakes, and helped to guide them as best they could. Theirs was an incredibly grace filled home.
Pams diagnosis with breast cancer, and subsequent double mastectomy in 1996 didn’t slow her down. As Perry and the kids remember, she was laughing and joking in the hospital hours after surgery. Over the course of the next several years Pam continued to face various health battles; all of which she endured gracefully.
A little over 5 years ago, during a routine surgery, there were several errors made which altered the course of Pam’s life. Since that time, she’s spent more than 50 days on life support collectively, and throughout many of those years she was in the hospital more than she was home. Despite severe, long-term suffering she maintained her zest for life and passion for those she loved. Her doctors and nurses were constantly amazed at how joyful she managed to be while enduring so much pain. Amidst her illness she was kind, joyful, serving and loving to all who crossed her path.
Pam loved being Grammy to Dominick, Brianna, Isaac and Rubina and they all adored her. Her children treasured her and admired her strength and perseverance.
Perry served Pam every day. He served her the way God intended a husband to serve his wife. He did all he could to comfort and encourage her. He looked at Pam with the very same gleam in his eye from the time they met until the day she passed away. Perry loved Pam. Pam loved Perry.
Pams battle ended peacefully on Sunday, September 20th at 2pm with her family by her side. She fought hard and persevered for many, many years. Perry, Tyler, Reshma and Simeon, along with the rest of their family, find deep peace in knowing she is finally healed and living with her Savior.
“Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the Strength of my heart and my portion forever.”