Mourning, but also celebrating a victory

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, January 10, 2024

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

My beloved mother, Marjorie Irene Stonesifer Ferguson, passed away a week ago yesterday. My brother and I spoke for her funeral service this past Friday.

Most who read this weekly column would not have known her. So please indulge me as I share some of what I said…

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Mom was my mom for 61 years. There is a lot of love packed into those years.

I don’t have a bad story to tell about her unless it is the only time that we ever heard her cuss.

Like many of us, Dad tended to put off what we should do more often. Her strong language was from her utter shock that Dad had seen a doctor.

At any rate, that was the day we heard Momma cuss. And her foul, ugly language that day? It would be best if you weren’t shocked – you might want to brace yourself…

She said, “Hell’s bells.”

That was our Momma.

I never heard her say a bad thing about anyone. She lived by the adage that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.

She raised four kids and loved us unconditionally. She loved our spouses as well and considered them her children, too. She doted on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was incredibly proud of our family.

We often refer to ourselves as Mama’s favorite in family text streams. She wouldn’t have any of that and always clarified that we were her favorite.

Mom was always fun and full of little wisdom we needed to heed. In particular, she wouldn’t allow us to use the word hate.

It’s true. I’ve heard her say, “Don’t say hate,” more times than I can remember.

On one occasion, I thought I had figured out how to get around her rule. So, I asked if I could use the word despise instead – she thought about it quickly and shut that down, too.

She’d probably want all of you to abide by that rule – in fact, she’d most likely insist on it.

She also taught me that you shouldn’t hang a shirt on a hanger without buttoning the top button.

To this day, I sometimes try to skirt her little life rule, and ultimately, I feel guilty if I use the second button and always go back and fix it.

When Becki and I were dating years ago, she sometimes told us to keep a Bible between us – especially in the car. She just laughed when I asked if it was okay to use a thin line New Testament turned edgeways.

We got the message loud and clear.

Over the years, Mom didn’t want a lot of attention. She was always more worried if you were comfortable or had what you needed. She always put others before herself.

However, in the last couple of years, she enjoyed how we made over her. She deserved it and always did.

As a minister of the Gospel, I know firsthand how vital a wife is as a partner in ministry. Our dad couldn’t have chosen better. She was his life and ministry partner for 62 years.

Their honor and commitment to each other remain an incredible example for many.

And yes, that was our Momma.

We are mourning but also celebrating the victory our mom, Marjorie Irene Stonesifer Ferguson, has achieved.

Indeed, as Paul said it, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:57 CSB17)