2008, Uploaded to YouTube, partial transcript, clip was replayed at Sara's own funeral when she died of breast cancer
That reminds me of a story, when my grandmother died we were all at my mothers house, and my mother had managed to get these three little children, four I guess, 'cos Zacher was there, and they ranged from age of about, I don't know there age range, I would on any other day but today I can't remember. But I think they were small children, maybe six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Something like that, and they were playing hand and foot. And f you've ever played that you'd know, it's, you've got to really think, and I was so impressed, that I said, 'Oh Mother, you know I think that's so great that you've taught 'em this skill, you know their going to learn so much from all the things' and she said, 'I don't wanna play candyland'. So that's how she handled that.
Being one of five children with a mother who is very busy and very hurried, it's not unusual for her to go through the whole list of the children, and some of the dogs, and some of the neighbourhood kids, before she figured out who was standing right in front of her. Bu you know it's a completely other thing to miss-spell your baby daughter's name. And one time, she came out to be with me
when I had cancer surgery and we went to a little party for one of my goddaughters and she wrote her a little birthday card and she said, 'from Sarah's mother', and she spelled it S A R A... and then she stuck an H on it. I don't have an H on the end of my name. So I looked at her like she was an alien, and said 'Who are you, and why can't you spell my name right?'. And I found out later that is what she had intended the spelling to be, now I'm in my late 30's when I hear this story, so there's a little screw up in the nursery and, well that's it. So what I realised, is that out of all the years, and all the times she'd written my name, that was the only time, she'd put an H on it. And when I found out that that's what she had intended to name me, I thought she went some place so that she went some place deep, some place far back, some place that's the most primitive mother feeling so that she could take care of me when I went through the surgery. So I got over it.
My mother and I over the last couple of decades have talked on the phone every week. And when you talk that much, and you're different, and you're far away, you say things that don't come out quite right. And so for an awful long time, ten minutes after we'd get off the phone, someone would be calling the other one back, and saying 'ok, I said this, but this is what I meant.' or 'I didn't mean to hurt your feelings', and sometimes it was Mother calling me, and sometimes it was me calling Mother, and this gets a little old after a while. Because, it's costly. And excruciating. So finally, one day, she said 'don't think another thing about it', and from that day on, we've said that many times. Because the fact is I knew what she meant, and she knew what I meant, 'don't think another thing about it'.
You know my mother was very smart. Very, very smart. But, she did have a trouble. She had some trouble with technology. She really didn't get answering machines. She really didn't get portable phones. And I don't know if you ever got a message from my mother on the answering machine, but it's like she's talking into a well or something.
She starts out,
'This is your mother, ... Frances',
Well good, 'cos I thought it was my other mother.
'Well, we just called to see how you were, and um...', and you could almost see her trying to, you know, kinda crawl in there '.er... ahh ...and we'll call you back', and she did this I think to my sister in law, '...we love you very much, Amen.'
But you know, she didn't get that you have to push the button now, to get the phone to go off, so if you listened a little longer you'd hear Daddy say, 'Did you talk to 'em?',
'No, they weren't there.'
'Well, who were you talkin' to?'
'No, they weren't there. I left a message. But, I think I said "Amen".'
'This is your mother, ...Frances. I think I said "Amen". I don't know what in the world's wrong with me? Well we love you very much. Amen.'
But, I just have to tell you that, like everyone before, I'm so happy you're here and I'm so blessed.
My mother and I tried to take real good care of each other over the years, and when she died, I thought, well, I know she'll be all right now. But I don't know about me. Who's gonna take care of me? 'Cause I know God's taking care of her.
And it occurred to me yesterday, that she didn't need me any more, but she left behind people that do. And she couldn't take care of me any more, but she left behind people that could. And so, I know I'll be alright.
My friend Karen said, 'You know, Death came for your mother several times, and she ignored it. And then finally God said, 'No, I'm serious, and Ima take you right here, right now, where you can't get away.'
Thank you, God, for doing that. That way, and that quick, and in this place, which is filled with people who love her much.