Judith Rae Curtis, 1940-2009

Judy, my mother in law, died last Wednesday at the Mater hospice. As many readers know, she had been suffering from various cancers for some time, so her death was, in the end, a relief.

A private cremation service was held yesterday (Monday 26 October) in which Judy's close family members (my wife, myself, our two children, Judy's sister and brother-in-law) and a close friend attended. A public memorial service was held today at our church. I contributed with the opening prayer and with a eulogy, the text of which follows:

Opening Prayer

Lord God,

We gather here today to worship you and praise you for the life of Judith Rae Curtis. We thank you for her, Lord. We thank you that you worked in her to touch the lives of so many, including those of us here today. We thank you for:
- her smile,
- for her insights,
- for her professional skills and knowledge that taught so many to treat others so effectively,
- and for her transparent love of Christ which gave her joy and meaning in life in her youth and in her old age, and in times of joy and in times of trial.

We praise you that she is now in paradise with Christ. We ask this day as we celebrate her life, that we might meditate upon our own lives in the light of eternity, and that you might speak to us and teach us about what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

This we pray in the name of Jesus.


My memories of Judith

My memories of Judy naturally begin around the time I met Anna, so I don't remember the exact moment I met her, but certainly the feelings of nervousness that accompany a guy who is meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time. In fact I remember more clearly meeting Anna's dad than meeting Judy – which, as many of you know, is quite understandable.

Anna was the light of Judy's life. Her only child. Naturally Judy had reasonably high expectations of whatever guy would end up marrying her daughter. Did I meet those expectations? Of course not. But Judy was generous nonetheless, and wholeheartedly supported our decision to marry.

I remember one time during our engagement when Judy came up to me and said some very kind words. Like most mothers with adult children, she looked forward to grandchildren, and with tears in her eyes she spoke of this.

Of course it took us a while, but once Aiden and Lillian came along Judy was delighted. One of my favourite pictures of Judy on the montage at the back of the church shows her playing with a 2 year old Anna. Judy's mouth open, the big smile – they were present when Anna was a little girl, and they were present again whenever Lillian or Aiden was around.

I know that Judy achieved much in her life professionally. I never saw any of that. I never saw Judy as teacher or lecturer or tutor or colleague. Instead I saw her in her role as mother and grandmother. The way I look at it is this: As an academic and health professional, she was able to improve the quality of life of many. As a mother and grandmother she gave much to Anna, Lillian, Aiden and myself.

The last few months of Judy's life were tough, but I am glad that we were able to be there for her. She was surrounded by her family at the end of her life. We'll never forget her.


apodeictic said...

My condolences to you, Anna and the kids. You are all in my prayers.

Rev 14:13.


BLBeamer said...

Neil, Anna and family: Our sincerest condolences to you in your loss. Even though you know it is temporary, and you will see her again in the Lord's presence, that does not make the sorrow any less painful.

When my own mother passed away 11 years ago, I found great comfort in the Psalm the pastor read at her service. I hope it also provides comfort to you:

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Our prayers are with you.

God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Nice prayer Neil, and well done on the way you all cared for Judy, and each other, through those tough times.

Sometimes when things are tough I know in my head that the Lord loves me, but it does not move my heart. I pray that you'll both be really aware of God's love and presence during this time.

Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

Dear Neil and Anna, Your thoughts on Judy were lovely. And we know how much you and Anna supported her through this time.
Bless you both.. Ron and Christine