Mary "Honey" Serrao Camara
(April 28, 1916 - September 9, 2007)Memorial Service Main Page and Recordings
September 20, 2007 Memorial Service Transcripts
Track 03: Eulogy (LJC)
I was raised by a single-mom, but on my first day of pre-school, I didn’t cry for my mom. I didn’t even cry for my Grandpa. For me, it was "I want my Zinni!" The teachers, of course, had no idea who or what "my Zinni" was. They thought it was a teddy bear or something.
And even when I made crafts & things, to bring home, they would be for: Mom, Grandpa, & My Zinni.
I spent a lot of time with Grandma when I was little. My mom worked, and while Grandpa was technically retired, his "volunteer" position at the Lodge was basically a full-time job, so for most of my first few years, and the summers after that, it was just me and Grandma.
She was always busy with chores around the house - cleaning, doing laundry, cooking. I don’t remember that she set Monday as “laundry day” or anything like that, but she did always seem to have a plan, like she had it under control.
I went grocery shopping with her a lot. She would make her list and check the ads so she’d know where the specials were, then we’d hit 2 or 3 stores depending on how many "extra" stops she wanted to make, and how much cheaper the stuff she needed was.
I used to watch her cook. The smells would fill the house. Sometimes she’d have spaghetti sauce simmering all afternoon. I remember asking why she didn’t just use the jar, but for her it was worth spending the extra effort to make it taste better. Nothing else ever compared to her cooking.
Sometimes we’d go visiting. She liked to go to Aunty Marilyn’s where they’d talk & watch soaps... and talk about the soaps. There were some times, either over there or when she was on the phone with Aunty Marilyn, that she would be talking about all these terrible things happening to someone. I was wondering which of our relatives all this stuff was happening to, and then I’d realize that it was just one of the characters in her “stories”. She really enjoyed watching those things.
I don’t know if she just instinctively knew, or learned the hard way, but every day she would set aside time for herself – she’d sit and watch her "stories", sometimes while folding laundry. I remember helping her fold towels while we watched General Hospital & One Life To Live. She was never interested in watching more – the TV went on & off for those 2 shows.
Also, every Friday was hair-day. We’d go into town with Grandpa, and we’d drop Granny off at her hair-dresser’s, then meet her later for lunch. There was always a favorite "coffee-shop" that we’d go to (until it closed down, and we’d need to find another one). Sometimes I’d go with Granny to her hair dresser, and I remember thinking: "Wow, her head’s much smaller when her hair’s wet." And then she’d get the rollers put in, and she & the other regulars would catch up with Betty.
Then she would be careful for the rest of the week, to try to make it last. She would wrap her hair in toilet paper every night, before going to sleep.
And every night she’d also say her prayers. I remember her kneeling by the bed and praying, saying the rosary, or praying for other people. She was diligent about expressing her faith.
And even though there were a lot of things to do around the house, she always made time to spend with me. Sometimes, when I asked her to play with me, she’d say she needed to do some chores first, but that she’d have time after that.
I remember doing puzzles with her in the "inside patio" – sometimes 1000s of pieces. She wouldn’t always stay very long, but I remember that she enjoyed it.
We’d go out in the yard and water the plants. She’d check on her carnations, or pick some parsley for dinner, and sometimes we’d just sit together in the backyard.
I remember when I had a cat, she wouldn’t touch him [Smokey] with her skin (she didn’t like fur) – but whenever he'd roll over in front of her, she would rub his tummy with her foot (but only with a slipper on).
She’d also do a lot of little things, that showed me that she cared - rubbing my back to help me go to sleep, "softening" my ice cream because I liked it half-melted (and no one else could do it the right way), making sure I always had enough to eat. I remember her giving me a tomato from the garden (after going back in the house to wash it ). Apparently I liked it at the time, but not much longer after that.
There were some things I didn’t understand 'til later, like cleaning the house because the "cleaning lady" was coming the next day, or dressing up no matter where we were going, even to go grocery shopping.
In Genesis chapter 2, after God put Adam in the garden, he declared "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (2:18) Then he brings before Adam every living creature, and Adam names them, but he doesn’t name them his "helper" – he sees that they are different from him: he sees that they have fur or feathers, or walk on all fours, so God takes a part of Adam and forms it into the woman. When God brings the woman before Adam, the man recognizes that this one is different than all the others: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man." Verse 24 goes on to explain that that’s why "a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."
For me, my grandparents’ marriage was a good example of that happening, but in a way, for me, that was actually kind of a bad thing. I got to see the end product – AFTER 50/60 years of marriage. I never saw the struggles, so when I got married, all I could do was think "why doesn’t mine look like that?" and "Why is this such hard work?" We’ve learned that, unfortunately, the "will become one" part doesn’t happen instantaneously, but that just made me appreciate more, the relationship that my grandparents had.
In Gen 3:16, God tells the woman "...Your desire will be for your husband..."
And these last few years, it’s only been MORE evident, that Granny’s heart was for Grandpa. When everything else was stripped away, she still knew she had a husband. She loved the little kids, and they brought her joy, but she was always concerned for Grandpa, and wouldn’t leave his side. And this past year, all she really wanted was him.
In Mark 10[:8-9], Jesus says "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
God brought them together. No one but God was to separate them, and that he did for only a year.
Granny gets to see her husband again, as well as family & friends, and eventually I’ll get to see her again, too. She was a good wife, a good mom, a good grandmother, and a good friend. She was kind, and caring, and giving - but none of that was enough to get her into heaven. The Bible says we all fall short (Romans 3:23), and our good deeds are as filthy rags before the Lord. (Isaiah 64:6) That's the bad news, but the good news is that God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us, so that we could be seen as blameless before him.
So I know I'll see her again - not because of what she's done, but because of what he's done. And Jesus said it's through our works that others will know we are his (John 13:34-35), and so that's why I know that she was his. Because I saw her works, and we all saw her works.
I'd like you all to bow your heads with me. Many of you here already know Jesus as your savior, and if that's the case, this prayer will be an afirmation of your faith. But if you're here and you don't know Jesus, or maybe you know about him, but he's not your Lord, I'd like to invite you to change that today. Jesus said that if we acknowledge him before man, he will acknowledge us before the Father (Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8 similar), so if this is the first time you're praying like this, tell me after the service. Pray silently with me:
Father God, I am a sinner.
I fall short of your glory.
I don't understand all of who you are,
but I know that Jesus died on the cross for my sins.
I accept the forgiveness that he paid for. Come into my life.
I’ve tried doing it my way, and now I want to do it your way.
Help me to understand you more.
Send your Holy Spirit into me now, to guide me today, and every day, for the rest of my life.
Mark 10:13-16 "...receive the kingdom of God like a little child..." (15)
That was one of the two main scriptures that I got while Grandma was in the hospital, just before she passed (the other was Gen.3:16, above). Mark 10, for me, reinforced the similar message I had gotten previously from Luke 12:48 (also similar to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30). There was a period where I was questioning my grandparents' salvation, and blaming them (especially Grandpa) for me not coming to God sooner. We didn't really talk about God and faith, at least not any deep discussions. I remember asking questions when I was younger and not getting acceptable answers. I remember arguing with my mom about why I had to go to church, and knowing her answer "all God wants is one hour a week" was not what the bible said. I remember trying to read the bible a couple times (my motivation at the time was to prove my mom and grandparents wrong), starting of course in the beginning with Genesis, but it was a King James version, and I didn't get very far. I remember going to "Grandpa's church" (Central Union) once or twice a year. There were a few differences, but the churches looked the same to me.
Yet despite that, after I "was saved" I kept thinking "if only". "If only" I had known that there were other bible translations, like the NIV, NASB, etc.. "If only" I had known that not all churches were the same.
I eventually realized that God had a plan for me, and it just wasn't my time (my eyes weren't yet opened) (). Even if I had had a different bible translation, without the Holy Spirit instructing me () it wouldn't have made a difference (and even though I prefer the NIV, I can read from the KJV now). Even if I had known about other scripture-centered (vs. sacrament-centered) churches, that wouldn't necessarily have made a difference. Again, I needed "ears to hear" first. Not to mention, many thru-the-bible/verse-by-verse churches such as the Calvary Chappels, or the churches with longer continuous (back-to-back) songs as an integral part of their worship - like New Hope or Hope Chappel - either didn't exist yet, or weren't in their present form. And only lately, from my experience, has Hope Chappel begun to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. So I can't use the church as my excuse - after all, toward the end of high school I did start to grow closer to God, although I still rejected his authority, and I did hear God calling me - I just didn't really recognize it at the time, and I rejected it because of what I thought it meant.
So eventually I figured out that they had been faithful with what they had been given, and even though I was being called to something different, that didn't reduce the value of their faith. I was especially touched by Grandpa's memorial service. It was like he was speaking to me (because I knew he had planned most of the service) and it brought me a lot of healing and comfort. I heard him saying to me things we had never talked about, through the songs he had chosen (see the main page for his service). I had missed out on many opportunities to talk with him about things that really mattered, but that was more my failing than his, but even that was OK now. The following year+ through to & including Grandma's funeral has been kind of an anti-climatic conclusion. It's the end of an era for me.
FYI, "Gospel" means "good news"
I also did the second Eulogy for Grandpa's, see Track 05: Eulogy (LJC), and tracks 6, 7, and 8. I kept teasing my mom that 30 minutes might not be enough for the eulogies (mine was longer than they had expected last year), and Johnny kept saying that his was going to be short, but mine actually wound up being shorter that I thought it would be, especially taking into acount the fact that I spoke slower to "wait" for my echo in the church, and Johnny added many stories, too.