“God Is Good All the Time”: A Eulogy

So Young’s sister, So Me, delivered this eulogy at So Young’s funeral on March 2, 2013.

I am not sure how to begin.  So Young wanted this to be a joyous occasion…a celebration of her life.  It is a joyous time for her. She is smiling down on us right now from Heaven asking why there aren’t more flowers.  It will be difficult for the ones left behind…it will be hard for me, and for her family, and friends that love her so much.  Life will not be the same.

I am not a good public speaker and to have to speak in front of you under these circumstances, will make it that much more difficult. Despite this, I will do my best to share my testimony about So Young today.

To start, for those who do not know me, I am So Me, So Young’s younger sister.  This is a bitter-sweet day.  As many of you know, So Young was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in November of 2010.  I remember the day I received the news.  It was November 12, 2010, the day before my baby shower.  I was 35 weeks pregnant with my youngest son, Jacob.  So Young called me and I could hear the hesitation in her voice because she wanted to protect me from the truth.  I could tell she didn’t want to burden me with bad news especially during a happy time in my life. When she said the words “I have a brain tumor”, I sat silent for a minute.  Maybe I was in a state of shock, but for some reason I was not sad or upset.  I remember telling So Young “this is not the end.  I know it”.  I felt a sense of peace and I reassured her that everything will work out according to His plan.  I think it made her feel better that I had that hope.

Many of you know that So Young was an avid runner and a marathoner.  Being diagnosed with a brain tumor was just the beginning of her new race.

After months of radiation therapy, So Young seemed to be getting better.  The tumor shrunk 30%.  What a miracle!  Despite all of the challenges ahead of her, So Young really began to live in the two years that followed.

She gave her testimony at the Women’s Fall Tea in 2011.  Her words were inspiring.  Her speech really touched many people that day when she spoke of her personal experiences.  She was honest.  She spoke of her brokenness and her feeling of unworthiness.  She was depressed until God woke her up and told her “you are worthy”.  A brain tumor isn’t something anyone wishes for, but So Young was awakened by this experience and it inspired her to begin living.

So Young ended her speech with this verse:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

It is evident that God loves So Young.  He loved her so much that he couldn’t resist taking her from this world early.  She has fulfilled her purpose in life and was ready to turn the page. God has used So Young for the purpose of touching our lives and she has succeeded.  She was ahead of us in the race.

During her time of trials, she managed to pull something good from a bad situation.  She learned to live again.  She loved deeper, and took nothing for granted.

So Young was a great older sister.  The Best!  Don’t get me wrong, but she wasn’t perfect.  We used to fight and beat each other up all the time…like siblings do.  We were very close when we were younger, but there came a time in our lives that we went our separate ways and we weren’t as close as we had been in the past.

So Young got married to a wonderful man, James, moved to Woodbridge, and had three beautiful daughters, Shannon, Lindsay, and Audrey.  It wasn’t until about 7 years ago that we really began to reconnect when my husband and I decided to move to Woodbridge.  We lived about 5 minutes away.  We started to see each other more often.  When my first son, Nathanael, was born she cared for him during his toddler years while I worked.  We got to see our families grow in that time.  It’s amazing how things work out.  You don’t realize it at the time, but God always has his hands in your life…moving you where he needs you to be at just the right time.  I think living closer to So Young in these last few years was for His purpose and for our benefit.

Last February, So Young and I went to our church’s Women’s Retreat at Sandy Cove in MD.  We shared a room and it was like old times.  When we were kids, we would stay up past our bed time just yapping all night long.  Dad and Mom would keep telling us to “go to bed!” but we continued talking for hours.  Sharing a room at this retreat reminded me of those times.  She even assured me that I snored in my sleep.  Well the jokes on her because she does too. 🙂

This past Fall, So Young found out that her brain tumor had returned with a vengeance.  We all were discouraged, but she still did not complain or ask why.  She endured chemotherapy medication and treatment to no avail.  Her health declined quickly since the summer to the point she was bedridden by Christmas time.

She never once complained or felt sorry for herself. In these last few months, I have talked to her more than I had in a long time.  Even if she didn’t want to hear it, I told her about my day and about my mundane everyday problems, which usually consisted of work and kids.  She sat patiently…she listened, and she tried to look interested.  I remember one time I was talking about how my husband mentioned that he wouldn’t mind being a stay at home dad.  She quickly blurted out, “well that’s not gonna happen!”  This made me laugh especially because she wasn’t really talking much at that point in time, but she sure had an opinion to share with me.

This past week has been the hardest for me.  I have known since last Saturday that So Young was leaving us in just a few short days.  I said my goodbyes several times throughout the week.  Each time it got a little easier.  A dear friend shared her experience with the passing of her loved one.  She told me that sometimes the one you love just wants to know that it is okay to move on.  God must have placed this on her heart to share this story with me at the time I needed to hear it.  Each time I went to say my goodbyes, I told So Young that I would be okay, and that James and the girls would be okay in time. I told her that this time she had to do what was right for her even if that meant leaving us behind for now.  I told her we would be along shortly and this is not goodbye.  Instead I said “see you soon”.  This is So Young’s end here on earth, but the beginning of her life with God in Heaven.

Wednesday night I visited So Young briefly in the afternoon.  I was supposed to take Shannon to TKD as I usually do but James’ dad, offered to take her.  James sent me a text that read “Dad is taking Shannon to TKD. I think you should still visit SY tho”.  This time he didn’t give me the option to say yes or no and I am so grateful for that.  I remember thinking, “I just saw her this afternoon, maybe I will go tomorrow”.  Thankfully I did go.  I talked to SY like it was just another day for about 45 minutes…until I started getting thirsty.  I told her about the many people that love her and that I couldn’t believe how many people cared to come by to visit her.  There was a constant flow of visitors day and night.  She was very popular.  I even had to make appointments to visit her.  Although, I did get priority over most everyone else 🙂 This was a special time I got to spend with my sister and I am forever grateful for that.

When I think of who So Young was and what she was all about, this is what I came up with: She loved God, first and foremost, and she loved her family and friends.  She was a devout Christian, faithful wife, wonderful mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend.  She was selfless and put the needs of others before herself. She wasn’t ashamed to witness to others, and to show God’s love.  Even when she was sick, she still devoted her time to the church and to our children.  She had passion for food and for life.  We always joked that we had a second stomach for dessert.

When I heard the news of So Young’s passing early Thursday morning, I was sad for myself and the ones she left behind, but happy for her.  She has finished this race well and has won the prize…to finally see Christ, and to be reunited with our mom, and countless others we have lost along the way.  Now So Young is looking back on the life she lived and enjoying the view of how all the pieces fit.  In case you aren’t familiar with this quote, I got it from a Casting Crowns song called “Already There”, so I can’t take credit for being a genius writer.

These last few months have been difficult, but through it all So Young has kept her faith and continued to encourage others even when she knew her health was declining.  She prayed for others, including my father in law who is also very ill.  What an example she was.  So selfless and so strong.

So Young has done so many things in the last few years than many of us will ever do in our life time.  She was a true servant of God.  She witnessed to many about her love for God and his love for them.  She even brought a few to Christ.  How God has used her in her lifetime is amazing to me.

There is no doubt in my mind that God is telling her “well done, thou good and faithful one”.  So Young…you have left a legacy for all who knew you and you will live on in our hearts and souls, and in the many wonderful memories we have of you.  We will see you again soon.  Until then, save me a seat and keep the kimchi chigae hot.

So Young wrote, “I don’t know what God has in store for me. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know this. I know that He loves me and what He has for me is always good.”  She is right. Like So Young said, “God is Good All The Time.”

I love you my sweet sister.  Rest with the angels.

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One Response

  1. Someone described the time Christians tarry on Earth as “living in the here & the not yet”. Christ’s kingdom has invaded earth & we pray daily for it to come more & more in “The Lord’s Prayer”. It is too much of a task for any of us to live up to, holding the line against satan, sin & the world. Once we get that & respond to God’s amazing invitation: “Call unto ME, & I will answer YOU, AND show you GREAT & mighty things that you know not (Jer. 33:3), we literally have one foot in Heaven & aren’t “earthbound”, fighting back hopelessness @ every dismal hit we all are subjected to. I reached for the old hymnal & stared @ Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”. He nailed it. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches… abide in me…”

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