Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, “The Elephant Family” is a story of the life of elephants as they endure a 40 year drought in Kenya. Elephants appear big and strong but I have learned that it is the bond of the herd (the family) that makes them powerful. It is the duty of the matriarch to lead the family through the grueling desert. They are dependent on her 50 years of life experience to guide them to places of safety and pockets of water and food. Each oasis is an opportunity to refuel and move on to the next spot. Elephants consume hundreds of pounds of food each, each day, so staying in any one location for an extended period of time is fruitless. So, in order to survive, the elephants follow the Matriarch. She is respected above reproach. Although not proven scientifically, it appears that other than humans, elephants also have a complex understanding of life and death. They grieve and have emotion and display it in their actions.
Today, I grieve and celebrate the life of Mrs. Esther Askew. She was a member of my church for over 50 years. She passed away this week at the age of 92. She was an educator by profession, but even after she retired after 34 years, she continued to teach in every aspect of her life. She was a woman with a lifting spirit that touched the lives of whoever came in her path. Even the director of the Assisted Living facility where she stayed, remarked that they had NEVER come across a soul such as hers. She made it a point to visit the residents each day and her light shone brightly throughout the facility. Up until she passed away, she was continually teaching and touching the lives of others.
There are matriarchs all around us, no matter our ages. I am reminded that as we move about in such a hurry to get to where we “think” we have to be.. (smile), we must take the time to listen to our matriarchs. Listen to their wisdom and learn from their experiences. Just as the elephants were led to safety and security, we too will get much farther, faster through their urging and their guidance and their love.
Rest in Peace Mrs. Askew! Gone but NEVER to be forgotten!