Mildred W. Keith, age 92, of White Pine, TN, passed away on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at The Heritage Center in Morristown, TN. Mildred was born March 14, 1928 in Richmond, Virginia and was a teacher in Chesterfield and Henrico Counties. She was of the baptist faith and was preceded in death by her husband, James W. (Jim) Keith, parents, Frank and Margaret Williams. Mildred is survived by sons, Earl G. Keith (Camellia), Jack W. Keith (Therese), Gary A. Keith (Laurie); daughter, Susan Keith Dunham (Fred); grandchildren, Stacy Lowe, Kelly Keith, Carissa Hamilton, Jackie Keith, Alexander Keith, Chris McCarren, James Keith, Rachel Svoboda, Garret Keith, Crystal Dunham, Fred Dunham; eight great grandchildren, three nieces, one nephew and other family members. She will be laid to rest in Westhampton Memorial Park, Richmond, Virginia.
It is appointed a time for each of us living on this earth to die. Even knowing that day is approaching soon, it makes that day no less sad when it arrives. In my lifetime of nearly 68 years, I've only met a handful of people that consistantly represents what the Christian life should be. My mom was one. She chose Jesus over the world and is now rewarded to spend all eternity with Him in Heaven.
As far as her life on earth, much of it was spent alone as a single child and then as a young mother raising four children. Our dad, her husband, was tragically killed in a boating accident in 1965 while we were all on vacation in Canada. Through this and the many other trials of life, she never gave up her Christian values. Instead, she lived them and instilled them in her 3 sons and 1 daughter. For that, mom I am sincerely grateful.
She never remarried, faithfully raising her family alone. Now we must carry on with only photos, memories and each other. Plus a renewed appreciation of what is actually important while our hearts continue to beat.
We inherited the desire to travel. To see new things, places and people. Not so much to accumulate “stuff” as to experience life. Mom was always ready to get out and go somewhere. Also she was always excited to see us when we dropped by to tell of our latest adventure. Don't forget to send a postcard!
One of my top 5 vacations ever was when mom and I traveled to Alaska in 2006. For a couple weeks we had fun just roaming around. Equally happy to both be there amongst such natural beauty and to be spending time with each other. She also enjoyed going on cruises. Many times she would be found standing by the ship's railing just looking out over the Caribbean waters. It made me wonder, what is she thinking about? What does she see? As I have gotten older I now know it's not what she saw, but what she was feeling.
This could be the last time to ever be here, to see this or to have this experience. I must take it all in. Remember it the best I can and cherish it. Next to reading her Bible, she loved reading about travel destinations, painting around the house and growing flowers. How do you cover 92 years in just a few short paragraphs?
The day came, in her mid-80's when she knew living alone was no longer possible. To me, having to put her in a nursing home was like issuing a death warrant. Your spirit being sent to jail. Memories of freedom comes to a halt. Without complaint, she just continued to look over the railing, out the window and cherish what time she had left.
2020 and the Covid virus has been rough on millions of families of which we are just one. For the last ten months we could not be with our mother. Time ran out. Neither of us had the chance to say '' good-by” or “I love You”. Through our tears we all understand what could not be said. Rest assured, your legacy will carry on in the families you and dad started but now leave behind.
Now, as you look out across the clouds you won't be standing alone. Instead you will be in the presence of thousands of friends, family and saints. Feeling love. Realizing it was all worth it. Thanking Jesus for always being there with me.
Earl G Keith - Dec. 2020