Gran's Apple Butter Blog

February 15, 2011

Deborah’s Story (Eulogy for Deborah Batson, 1954-2011)

Filed under: Death,Deborah Batson,Eulogy,Family,Gran's Big Book of Short Stories — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 12:06 pm

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a little angel named Deborah was sent to Earth. Her mission was simple: to learn to love, as humans do, and to share that love, her most precious gift, with one and all.

Everyone could feel that Little Deborah was different from the day she first said hello. No one could say just how – but somehow, she felt different. Or rather, more correctly, each person felt different in her presence, like they were floating in a cloud of peace, of compassion.

Little Deborah brought with her the most resplendent set of glorious wings. Not everyone could see them, but again, they could feel them. Each feather was sparkling and shining, a different color, a different song, a different brilliant shade of love, of joy, of peace, and each feather had its own meaning.

A brilliant feather, turquoise in color – represented Deborah’s love of music. Row after row of multicolored feathers stood for her creativity – one here for her beadwork, one there for her songwriting, one for each poem that ever left the tip of her pen. One for her voice, one for each guitar string that she would so lovingly and carefully tune and strum. Next were rows upon rows, each a different, beautiful shade, yellows, lavenders, pinks, a feather for each prayer she prayed, each sign she saw among the animals, the birds, the crows, the coyotes, the wolves – her messengers from the Creator – glorious feathers of the peaceful, prayerful warrior that Deborah was.

And still more rows, gorgeous in their splendor – each person in her life, each person on whom she shed her light, her love – her daughter Lee, her family, her friends, her coworkers. There were rows of chestnut brown and forest green, the trees she loved so well, from oak to pine, sycamore to cypress, willow to walnut. Still more rows, fiery orange, burnt siennas – the bridges she built, everywhere she went, strong yet flexible in the winds of life. The blue-green feathers, almost hidden, tucked next to her skin, were her love of nature – each raindrop, each stone, each mountain, each river that flowed, each wind that blew, each fire that warmed, each four-footed, finned, and feathered friend whose path she crossed. And then there were the beautiful blue and lavender feathers of Deborah’s beliefs – her beautifully encompassing sense of spirituality – all the principles she stood for, the light she so clearly reflected.

Deborah never had to speak her beliefs, to voice those words aloud – all she had to do was spread her wings, like a mighty condor on a mountain top, letting the dew dry in the early rays of dawn. In their brilliant, protective cover all could see her true beauty, all she stood for, all Little Deborah had become.  

One might think that as an angel, Deborah’s path would be blessed with nothing but goodness, joy and peace. And yet this was not the case, for Deborah had her own lessons to learn in this life, just like each of us. She went through all the same experiences we have, finding joy and happiness, as well as pain and great loss. And yet, astonishingly, each time an arrow of pain would pierce her heart, leaving a tender scar behind, new feathers would form on her wings, bright and glorious, more beautiful than ever.

With each new feather, her wings grew larger, heavier, to the point one expected them to drag her shoulders down with their weight. And yet Deborah never complained – she did not mind – those same feathers only widened her wingspan. With the eagles she could now mount, higher and higher, circling in the heavens, closer, ever closer to her Creator, closer, ever closer to her One True Home. And when she flew, Deborah did not feel the weight of those feathers – she only felt the glory of the wind lifting her, the beautiful prairies stretching before her, the sky enveloping her with its sunlight and shadows, rainclouds and rainbows, until she would finally descend to the arms of Mother Earth again, to rest on her bosom.

And when one day Deborah had reached her most beautiful, her greatest strength, having learned all that she was to learn, done all that she was to do, the Creator was filled with joy, knowing it was time to welcome her Home. She had born those wings, suffered those arrows gladly, done all with the greatest spirit of love and compassion, the true mark of a servant of Highest Good. After all these years, it was time for Deborah to rest, to recover her strength, to let her heart heal in the shining light of Home.

For those of us left behind, we each bear Deborah’s mark in our hearts, our souls. The beauty that she touched us with, and the scar she left behind as we’ve said goodbye. Yes, we all love Deborah, and we want what’s best for her. We understand with our minds that it is time for a most joyous reunion for her, and we truly celebrate that, and yet we mourn, bearing our sadness, stumbling in our own darkness, feeling that the entire universe has dimmed, as Deborah’s light has moved on to brighten another place more worthy of its splendor.

And yet, has her light truly left us? I look around this room, and I see Deborah’s light reflected in each face here, in the words and memories of the messages and prayers flowing in from around the world. She planted seeds, tiny rays of her own light, tucked away deep within the hearts of each one of us, for us to nurture and grow in her honor, in honor of the Creator who first planted that light within her. As we feed this flame, our world will become brighter than ever, as Deborah’s light is refracted, multiplied in each of us, like a beautiful prism, a rainbow of color that spans the globe.

Each time we see this light, we will be reminded of Deborah Liljequist Batson, who she was, and what she stood for. And maybe, just maybe, each time we see a feather, large or small, tucked beneath a tree, or floating on a breeze, it will remind us once again of Little Deborah, and comfort us to know that she is not very far away at all – just on the other side of the tissue-thin veil that now covers our eyes. May the sight of these feathers comfort us, wrapping us in a blanket of love, just as Deborah would have done.

Go in peace, Aunt Deborah. You did your work well. The laborer is truly worthy of her reward: May you rest in the arms of your Creator, knowing that you have finished your course, and knowing that none of us will ever forget you.

Deborah Batson (L) and Mary Batson (R), memorial hike for James Lee Batson, January 1, 2009

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