Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Pretty in Pink

             Last week Isaura and I flew back to my brother, John’s home in Virginia. On the surface there’s nothing unusual about that primarily because we have come back nearly every summer for the last fifteen years or so to vacation with him and his wife, Lynne, our sister, Joy, and our mother, Christine.

This trip, however, was not for vacation. Lynne has battled cancer for twenty years, enduring chemotherapy treatments, and any other medical procedures that might work in her favor. Her battle ended April 18th.

Lynne was one of the most energetic, vivacious people I have had the privilege to know. She entered into any endeavor with gusto. There was never anything half-way with her. One of the aspects of Lynne that caused her to be so wonderfully loved was a zest and flamboyance that would literally draw you into the contrails of her exuberance for living. Even in the midst of mega-doses of chemo which could knock her down for a few hours to a couple of days, she never once gave in to self-pity. She would quietly retreat to her bedroom, only to reemerge later as the Lynne we all knew and loved.

A couple of Lynne’s trademarks are her love for the color pink, especially flamingos; and being a spitfire redhead from Texas, she loved cowboy boots. The first song played at the reception was Lyle Lovett’s song, “That’s Right, You’re not From Texas!” Word went out that if folks would like, they should wear something pink and/or cowboy boots to the service.

I stood to share Lynne’s eulogy, wearing black cowboy boots and a pink shirt and pink tie, and was tickled to see so many people sporting something pink. The church was even decorated in pink – with pink plastic flamingos situated at the inside end of the aisle. The attendance was SRO (Standing Room Only). The following are some of my remarks about this wonderful woman.

“I have a couple of people in my life that I have looked upon as heros. By definition they are endowed with great strength and ability. They achieve great things and exhibit noble qualities, showing great courage.

Those descriptions certainly speak of the Lynne Roots I have known for more than 45 years. Since my brother, John had the good fortune, and the good sense to ask this amazing woman to be his bride, she took over the family by storm.

Every family gathering was an event of magnified proportions when Lynne was there. We always wanted to make sure she was coming. John – well, not so much!

I took a walk down memory lane, in a manner of speaking, by recording for this event the numerous quips, quotes, and pithy sayings I found hung up and displayed throughout the household of John & Lynne Roots.

“A wild wacky wonderful woman lives here!” Now, if that isn’t the most apt description of Lynne Roots, then I don’t know what is!
“Around me I wear a coat of many colors, fabrics and textures. It is made of friends and family here and no longer here, far and not so far. They are all part of my coat which keeps me warm wherever I go.” As a preacher of the gospel myself, I couldn’t help but make the correlation to the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.

“Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” Josh and Abi have been the pride and joy of the family. As a mother Lynne allowed her children to grow up making decisions for themselves, even watching her son, Josh follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a Marine pilot in wartime.

“Don’t be worrying today! Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6. This is such sound biblical advice! I know Lynne has battled cancer for twenty years, and it tore at our hearts. But I must tell you, not once can I ever recall her complaining. I never heard a “Why me, Lord?”

“To look up and not down. To look forward and not back. To look out and not in. And to lend a hand.”  About a year ago, Lynne was video-taped going through the hour-long Zumba class. She didn’t miss a move. She simply refused to give in to the barriers life threw up against her. She was smiling and laughing – and that’s how she faced life. And that’s why so many of you are here this morning. You are drawn to an irresistible and insatiable zest for life and the living of it, that emanated from everything that Lynne put her hand to. And as you know, she did not live this life in a bubble, selfishly grabbing for the benefits of life. She invited all of us to enjoy the journey – come what may. Just look at yourselves! Many of you are festooned with pink and cowboy boots!

“If you want a thing well done, get a couple of old broads to do it.” This classic statement from actress Bette Davis epitomizes Lynne and the manner in which she tenaciously tackled any of life’s many challenges.

“I understand the concepts of cooking – just not how they apply to me.” I’ll wrap up my thoughts of Lynne with this. Lynne knew her strengths and her weaknesses – her many talents, and those areas where her talents came up a bit short. The kitchen was not her domain. But she never apologized for it. She was Lynne, and we all knew that when you went over to the Roots’ home, you went there to enjoy a warm and gracious home where the queen of the domain made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. You just wanted to be there in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. AND that’s the reception she has now received from Jesus. And I wouldn’t be surprised if, as he greeted her on heaven’s shore, he had a swatch of pink in his hair.”

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