Publication: One-to-One, Summer 2008
As many of our readers know, my mother, Carolyn Simpson, passed away back in February of this year after a lengthy battle with cancer. I believe that Mom won that battle, and she has now received her prize in the presence of the Lord.
I can never thank God enough for His blessings through Mom. While I appreciate reading in the Bible about the people who loved God and followed Jesus and taught us so much about walking in the Spirit, I was so privileged to have a living example of all of that in Mom. She exemplified all that it meant to be a godly woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother. She was not only our Mom, but she was a spiritual mother and model to many around the world.
In 1940, Carolyn Francis Dix Simpson was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Albert and Eleanore Dix. Grandpa Dix was a much-lauded medical doctor and geologist, and Grandma Dix was a nurse. A younger sister, Eleanore Ann, was born three years later, and the family grew up in Mobile, Alabama. Mom learned very early what it meant to love and serve others from her own parents’ selfless example and through caring for her sister, who had special needs. Grandpa and Grandma were faithful Baptists-Grandpa served as a Deacon for many decades before his death in 1991, and Grandma and Aunt Eleanore Ann are both still members of the First Baptist Church of Mobile.
Mom met Dad, in part, through church. As a young Baptist Pastor, my Dad was looking for a piano player for a series of revival meetings, and Mom answered the call. They were married in 1960, and three years later, a little bundle of joy followed who eventually grew into the author of this article. In 1969, my sister,
Charlyn, was born, followed by the family Floridian, brother Jonathan in 1972.
When Mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, some of her doctors were not hopeful, and did not give her long to live. But, she kept her heart turned toward the Lord, and the last three years of her life proved to be quite blessed and momentous.
By early 2007, Mom had become very ill and weak, but through prayer, treatment, nutrition, and determination, she grew strong enough to travel to Gatlinburg for our annual CSM conference to see her friends and to spend time with Dad in the area where they had honeymooned back in 1960. It was one of those special, golden times …Mom laughed, talked, walked, and took it all in. I will never forget her standing up, hands raised, singing, “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord,” during one of our times of worship. She told me often how much that song meant to her.
Days later, she lay in the hospital, facing emergency surgery for a life-threatening tumor-related blockage …the surgeon was unsure if she would make it through the surgery. Not only did she make it, but she was alert and talkative in the recovery room; her main concern then was ministering to and encouraging our family. How typical of Mom, who lived her whole life to serve the Lord and her family…and how well she did it.
Despite a grim prognosis, she recovered swiftly and within a month, she was at the beach with us for a brief family vacation. My daughter Gracie later said of Mom’s constant demeanor, “Granna was Springtime and sunshine.” And that’s how she was on that vacation. At one point, she was determined … despite the cancer, two hip replacements, and a pacemaker … to take a short boat ride with our family. She bravely and happily climbed into the boat, and it was a beautiful evening.
Mom lived to see my sister have her new baby, Madison Genoa, and she was determined to travel to Costa Rica, where Charlyn, Enrique, and their family serve through the Hidden Treasures ministry. Again, Mom undertook a very difficult trip in order to be with that new grandbaby, because nothing brought joy to Mom quite like being with family.
THE HOME STRETCH
I read some years ago that the home stretch of a race is no time for lagging, but it’s when we give it our all and finish well. That’s how it was for Mom. She had battled through so much, but there was one more victory in life yet to be won. Even as she faced another difficult hospital stay, a miraculous door was opening for my brother and sister-in-law to adopt a newborn baby, and so it was in early December that little Elizabeth Charlyn Simpson was born. Mom was able to see and hold her newest grandchild.
Mom was now in a life-or-death battle, unable to eat, and it seemed that she may not ever again come home from the hospital. But God worked a Christmas miracle. Shortly after Dad snuck some sherbet up to Mom’s room from the cafeteria, Mom was able to eat and keep her food down, and three days before Christmas, she was strong enough to come home one more time. There, surrounded by her husband, her Mom, her sister, all of her children, her two daughters-in-law, her son-in law, and all nine grandchildren, Mom celebrated the birth of the Savior and rejoiced in the fruit of her life. Her children called her blessed.
It was just one day shy of exactly 50 years since their first date that Mom bade farewell to Dad, and to those of us around her bedside as she breathed her last and stepped into eternity. Just hours before, she had told my daughter, “I’m in the hands of Jesus now.”
She was a poet, a writer, a musician, a water-skier, a traveler, a voracious reader, a teacher, an UNO expert, a 24 fan, a wonder in the kitchen … she was the picture of grace, kindness, service, beauty, and love. Outside of her family, she had a great love and concern for the younger women, to see them nurtured and trained in God’s ways. To calculate the debt owed to her by so many would be impossible .
Mom was fond of the Hebrew phrase, ”L’Chaim,” which means, “to life!” She was full of life, and she gave life every place that her life touched. In so doing, she became a model for wives and moms worldwide, and her legacy continues to grow.
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.