Obituary: Christine A. Thomas (nee Toles), age 78. Beloved mother of Antony R. (Patti) and W. Lawrence (Tamara). Beloved cousin of Dorian R. Greenwood. Memorial Service Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 2PM at Church of the Covenant, 11205 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to Malachi House and Hospice of the Western Reserve.
Service for Christine A. Thomas 1/16/10
First of all, let me take this opportunity to thank you for coming to celebrate the life of my Mom--Christine Thomas. As you know, my Mom passed away last Monday after a prolonged illness. By the grace of God, I know that she is with Jesus.
My Mom was a complex woman and her life filled with challenges and obstacles. She was born in the middle of the Great Depression. Her father died when she was a little girl. Her brother died as a result of an accident with a firearm when she was in her teens. She lost her Mom to cancer when she was in her early thirties. She was a working woman as long as I can remember: a book keeper who worked for many organizations and companies here in Cleveland including Maternal Health to the Jewish Community Federation.
She was also an African American who grew up at a time when Jim Crow laws were still enforced in the South and racial discrimination was pervasive here in Cleveland. When our family began to worship with this congregation back in the mid-60s, the streets of Hough were aflame. Church of the Covenant was kind enough to welcome us at a time when many other Cleveland churches were absolutely segregated.
My parents divorced when I was in my mid-teens and my Mom had many personal challenges in the years that followed. I moved to LA in 1979 and my brother followed me a few years later. I know that the years that we were separated were especially difficult for her. Even worse because, during that time, she contracted rheumatoid arthritis. In about 1986 or so, I introduced her to the personal computer. We were then able to keep in touch using e-mail on very ancient systems like GEnie and Prodigy.
My Dad passed away in 1988 from cancer and I moved back to Cleveland a year later.
At that time, there was a computer network founded here at CWRU called The Cleveland Freenet. My Mom and I both became fixtures on Freenet. We hung out a lot on the Skeptics SIG--at that time, she was the skeptic and I was the believer as I committed my life to Jesus Christ about a decade earlier.
The two decades that followed literally flew by. Where did the time go? I am thankful for the time I have been able to spend here in Cleveland with my Mom. Even if we were not able to see each other, we were always in close touch via phone and computer. It was time that we used to heal many of the wounds that we both felt and to learn more about each other. That process wasn't always easy but we both became better because of it.
One thing I can say is that my Mom was a fighter. Besides RA, she also suffered from an alphabet soup of other illnesses: MDS, COPD and many others. She became something of an expert on all her ailments thanks to the Internet much to the chagrin of some of her physicians. She took that knowledge went out of her way to to help others who also suffered. She was a brilliant woman.
During the last decade, all she seemed to do was go to the doctor. For many years, she had to endure blood transfusions every two to four weeks. The specialist said she would be dead in a few years. That was over 10 years ago. But she kept fighting. She fell and needed a hip replacement.
And she kept fighting. She continued to decline and fail. She lost a lot of weight. She kept fighting. She had intestinal problems. She kept fighting.
Then a little over a year ago, it seemed that her fight would soon come to an end. She entered the care of Hospice of the Western Reserve last February. She gave up her apartment after 35 years and moved into Malachi House at the end of April. At that time, she went off of blood transfusions. It looked bleak. But still, she continued to fight.
Then came July. Something happened. Something special. She suddenly wanted to talk about forgiveness, faith, prayer and eternity. This was definitely a change. On Sunday July 26, 2009, I wrote her a letter and read it to her at her bed:
go through this. However, our present
suffering does not compare to the eternal peace, glory and joy that we
experience for all eternity with the Lord. We will miss you so
much but we
know that this is farewell--not goodbye. We will be together for
eternity in the presence of the Lord.
Mom was no longer fighting. She was waiting. Waiting for what, you may ask?
Waiting to go to be with her Lord -- the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
"Oh! happy they who die in
the Lord; they rest from their labours, and their works do follow
them. Their quiet repose shall never be broken until God shall rouse
them to give them their full reward. Guarded by angel watchers,
curtained by eternal mysteries, they sleep on, the inheritors of
glory, till the fulness of time shall bring the fulness of
redemption. What an awaking shall be theirs! They were laid in their
last resting place, weary and worn, but such they shall not rise.
They went to their rest with the furrowed brow, and the wasted
features, but they wake up in beauty and glory.
"The shrivelled seed, so
destitute of form and comeliness, rises from the dust a beauteous
flower. The winter of the grave gives way to the spring of redemption
and the summer of glory. Blessed is death, since it, through the
divine power, disrobes us of this work-day garment, to clothe us with
the wedding garment of incorruption. Blessed are those who 'sleep
I love you, Mom. I know I will see you again and we will be together for eternity. May God Bless you all.