Her children arise and call her Blessed; 
Her husband also, and he praises her: 
“Many women do noble things, 
But you surpass them all.”
Proverbs 31: 28-29

While God gave us the gift of his only Son, Jesus, He came into this world through His human mother, Mary. And so at Christmas time, our thoughts naturally turn to Mary. Likewise, my thoughts turn as well to the blessings of a mother—my mother-in-law, Bess Cecil. Bess WAS unconditional love. She was WRAPPED in love, and she gave the GIFT of love freely throughout her long life.    

I became engaged to David in May of 1970, and married him in August of that year. While I was still merely David’s fiancée, Bess attended my graduation at Columbia College—a very thoughtful, accepting gesture! And how much a part of the Cecil family I was already made to feel. 

Bess constantly thought of others, and she turned those thoughts into actions, large and small, generous and caring. Several years ago I saw a small pillow in a store that really tickled my funny bone. It simply said, “I gave him the skin-niest years of my life.” As I told Bess about it, we had a good chuckle over it. The next day Bess appeared on my doorstep with that pillow in hand.  

Bess was the epitome of the gracious Southern Lady and was always an inspiration. But she was also one who knew how to step back when others needed to work things out for themselves. 

She had exemplary patience, kindness, strength, resilience, optimism, and acceptance. She exuded joy, love, understanding, endurance, and wisdom. She even possessed the four “Ts”:  Toughness, Tenderness, Tolerance, and Thoughtfulness.  And the list goes on….

She was married to Bill for 70 years, the mother of five, the grandmother of 15, and the great-grandmother of 22! It’s no wonder she possessed so many admirable qualities!

When Bess died in September of this year, a great void materialized in the fabric of our family. While memories of our beloved Bess will continue to help us mend, no one will ever be able to replace her.

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of Bess and all that she has meant to each of us.
Anne Cecil

About the Contributor

Anne Cecil is an elder, and has had the great fortune of being Bess Cecil’s daughter-in-law/daughter. Her gratitude and admiration is shared by all 57 members of Bess’s immediate family.