Day #269: Final Tribute

I gave my speech today.  It was emotional and heartfelt.  I was amazed at how drained I was afterwards.  The ladies in the audience were so very gracious.  I received lots of hugs and we shed a few tears.  It was a good day.  In the hours since the conference ended, I’ve received a few emails from attendees sharing their thoughts.  I think I even made a few new friends today.  Lord knows I could use them!  A few folks asked for a copy of the speech a few asked for a copy of my grandmother’s poem that I read at the end.  I think it would be nice to share her words in the manner in which I ended my remarks today.  My mom thought that it was a fitting tribute to a woman who meant so very much to me.  So, here is the last that I will say about Ms. Sadie.  I think that after this, it is time to let her rest in peace.

In the speech I talked about my own definition of self.  I differentiated that definition from the various roles I play and the instititution with which I am affiliated.  I explained that my definition of self comes from within and is based on my passion, integrity and humility.  Those guiding principles have led me to a life that is based upon service.  So, as requested, this is the end of the speech that I gave today . . .

“Here are the last words that I said to my grandmother.  They are actually hers but in many ways they are mine too.  This is a poem that she wrote in 1982.  It explains how she defined herself.”

I have not climbed any mountains

Nor charted unknown foreign lands

I have not explored any valleys

Or found a cure for the ills of man

I am not a renowned scholar

With a list of degrees to my name

I have not walked with greatness

Or felt the fickle kiss of fame

I have not amassed a great fortune

To which my heirs can lay claim

My wealth lies in precious memories

That only the heart can contain

I have loved, been loved, known happiness

Great joy, deep sorrow and pain

I have knelt at the feet of the Savior

My faith and my strength to retain

I have tried to be of service to others

And adhere to life’s golden rule

I have walked hand in hand with my family

In the home, church and school

I have reaped a harvest of blessings

From the seeds sown along life’s turbulent way

I have learned to smile in the face of adversity

And to pray for guidance each day

Life is not always easy

There is success and failure in part

And whatever I have been able to accomplish,
I give thanks to almighty God

Sadie T. M. Edwards   

July, 1982

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