Mama's Eulogy

(When our son Jim was asked to deliver Mama's Eulogy he invited all of us, Jim, Karen, Robin, me, his wife Monica and his daughers Juliana and Alison to participate with memories, comments and edits. In a labor of love each of us touched these words with love and he delivered it beautifully - our gift to Mama and the family.)

In Loving Memory of

Louise Keasler Diggle

September 5, 2008
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Charlotte, NC

I am grateful to be asked to speak for the family today about our mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, Louise Keasler Diggle.

I once heard storyteller Donald Davis say that every living thing dies for a reason. Either they are too sick to get better or too hurt to get well or – if they are really, really lucky – they are just too old to go on.

Louise Diggle lived a long 92 years. Today, we gather to honor her life and her importance in the continuity of our family and our community.

Let me begin by saying that, while I know that many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren have different names for her, I have always known Louise Diggle, my grandmother, as Lulu. It sounds a bit silly for a fifty plus year old man to call her Lulu in public, but that’s what she is to me. I have never known her by any other name, and so Lulu it was and Lulu it will always be to me.

In Psalm 128 it says –

“May the Lord bless you … and may you live to see your children’s children. Lulu was greatly blessed. She lived to see not only grandchildren but also great grandchildren.”

Lulu was very proud of her family and of being a faith-filled bridge – connecting her past with our future.

As I look out upon all of your faces – you magically mirror her past, our present and the future.
I am reminded of an African folktale which teaches that no one really dies as long as they are Re-membered.

When I think of Lulu’s life, images from Chapter 13 of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians come to mind:

“Love is patient, love is kind – There is no limit to love’s forebearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.

There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.”

Lulu was a woman of FAITH. She was raised a Methodist and became a Catholic. She believed her faith in a loving God was the greatest gift we could give her children. Prayer was particularly meaningful to her. If you were in trouble or needed help, you could count on her to pray for you. I was told that during World War II she prayed every day for the safe return of my grandfather, Robert Diggle. And hallelujah – he made it home safe and sound! Lulu had literally prayed him home.

Lulu was a woman of HOPE. While she missed my grandfather terribly after he passed away, she always looked forward to the day she would be reunited with him. She believed fervently in the hope of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. And, in the end, her hopes and prayers for a blessed passing were granted – fifteen years to the day after Boboo died.

Lulu was also a woman of LOVE. She loved her mother, father and stepfather and her sister, Punny. She loved her husband, my grandfather, Robert Diggle, who was the love of her life.
She loved her kids -- Ellouise, Linda, Kathy, Robert and Dena. She loved their families – husbands and wives, kids and grandkids – and many many others -- too many people to name.

As long as she could, Lulu gave us hugs, kisses and love. It always seemed to me that, whoever you were, Lulu was just happy to see you. Just a simple “hey” was all she required.

Those of you who remember Lulu as a tiny fragile woman – let me assure you that she was a mighty presence in the family. She had a strong will as well as a soft heart. She was a provider and nurturer – the one to go to when you had a boo-boo or wanted a treat. She was also a wonderful cook and made a delicious rich hearty vegetable soup – very nourishing like the love of her family. But my personal favorite growing up were those melt-in-your-mouth mints she made at Christmas, which came in a tin, tucked away with the gifts she sent for the tree.

Later, I came to appreciate Lulu’s creative side. She made crocheted Afghans, cross stitched creations and other things. She may be gone from us physically, but there will be reminders of her in our homes for years to come -- in addition to the many memories in our hearts.

Lulu was a woman of her time.
She was a member of the Greatest Generation, who worked and raised kids at home on her own while my grandfather did his bit overseas in World War II. Later, she worked for many years at Memorial hospital, helping to take care of patients in intensive care, and volunteered in many roles right here at St. Patrick’s.

But her passion was her family. She cradled and nurtured her kids and her kids’s kids. Some like me only came through from time to time, while others spent every day with her. All of us were special to her.

Thomas Jefferson once said:

“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family."

I think that is the way Lulu looked at her life: She was happiest when she was with her family and with her friends. Even if you weren’t there physically, a telephone call would do fine. Before there was an Internet or email, Lulu was connected.

Lulu was our mother, our sister, our grandmother, our great grandmother, our aunt and our friend. We wish she could have lived forever. But no living thing can. She lived a long full life – touching each of our hearts along the way.

Lulu lived a very long 92 years. In the end, she was very very lucky. She died because she was too old to go on. And God answered her prayer and granted her a peaceful, prayerful, blessed death - with the hope of an even better life ahead.

I know I speak for all of us, when I say, we love you Mama, Louise, Lulu and we will miss you very much.

James A. Schoettler, Jr.


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