In loving memory of
Esmine Mercibel Morris was born on the 6th day of February 1925, to Minnie & Arthur Morris of Walkerswood, St. Ann. Birdie as she was known was the 4th of ten children for her parents; however, she was raised primarily by her grandparents, and when her grandparents passed, her aunt took over her care. From an early age, her maternal instincts were honed by her duty of care to her siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews in the home. This augured well for her, since she met and fell in love with Carol “Skipper” Lindo in 1949 and have produced 12 children. Their life together was one of love, sharing, sacrifice, joy and pain for sixty years. Skipper attributes all the successes of his life and that of his children to Birdie.
As a young couple, they dedicated their lives to the raising of their children and keeping their family together, firmly grounded in the Christian faith. This was the basis on which they solve problems, disciplined us and made us know that nothing was impossible with the help of the Lord. In the early days Birdie worked toe to toe with our father to provide for the family. She worked as a nanny, store clerk, planted her own field and physically helped in the construction of our house. While she toiled, her most important dream for her children was that we should all get a good education and never told us there was not enough money for books or other school supplies. Birdie knew the names of all our teachers and missed few PTA meetings; going as far as to Holmwood inManchesterfor PTA meetings at our sister’s school.
Momma loved to entertain and as time passed and the family prospered she would cook a splendid meal and lay out her finest silverware at the drop of a hat to entertain. Our guests were often friends of our father who would stay for hours, then our friends and always the pastors from theMethodistChurch. There was always food in Birdie’s house and we often arrived with friends unannounced and this was no problems to her. Her pots were as big as her heart and her children and grandchildren could be assured of a big dinner as they heard the pressure cooker from the gate. At the later stages it was the grandchildren and their friends who became the focus of her life.
Although Momma had twelve children, twenty nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren this was not enough and Esmine unofficially adopted countless others who would join our family from time to time. Special mention must be made of Nigel (Ruddy) and Wilston. Some of these adoptions have added to the tally of children and grand children which we cannot put a number on less we offend some of them. Grandma Lindo is grandmother to children of many homes which she has never visited.
I challenge every single individual who has ever crossed her path to say she has made no impact on their lives, however small. We are here this afternoon to celebrate her life, which was based on her faith and hope of resurrection, not to mourn her death. As Paul reminds us in 1st Corinthians 15, our faith is based on the resurrection of Christ, then if Christ be risen, then we too have hope of this resurrection.
Esmine Lindo was wife, a help mate, mother, sister, grandmother, teacher, friend, counsellor but more than all a child of God; a woman of tremendous faith, a phenomenal woman. She loved people, she loved her family, she loved her church and she loved God. For sometime she was a lay preacher in theMethodistChurch; however the life she lived was the greatest sermon she ever preached.
Momma would often regale us with stories of her early years with our father. She stood by him in the bad times and the good times; she was his bedrock. Even when she described their darkest hours she did it with great humor and never with regret. She took the time to make him king of his palace, she worked side by side with him in the field, she made her humble home a place where her family was loved.
Our mother was the epitome of a good mother. As children we can remember waking up in the middle of the night to hear hushed whispers coming from our parents’ room. We would often wonder what the dickens they could be talking about at that hour. It was only later on that we learned that they took that time in the middle of the night to make plans for the family. Momma would be thinking about which one of the girls she needed to sew a new dress for; who needed a new pair of shoes; which one of my siblings at boarding school was due a visit from her complete with pudding, grater cake or a Sunday dinner; the date of a PTA meeting; who was due a visit to the doctor or dentist; who was not performing well at school etc. She kept up-to-date with it all, and without a notebook to boot. She raised us in the knowledge of God and ensured we attended church even though she was often so late that she would only catch the sermon. She taught that nothing was more important than God and family and insisted that we take care of each other. At the hospital that fateful night, it was my brother David who gathered my siblings and nieces in a circle to hold hands and pray. Our big brother Norman was groomed to be like a second father to us. He shared an enviable bond with her that was more like friends that mother and son.
When we became adults, our mother’s role changed from mother to friend, teacher, confidante, counsellor and prayer partner. All of us who are now mothers can tell stories of our Momma’s care of us during our pregnancies and while our babies were small. It is noteworthy that on the night she passed, her children were making comments like “I have lost my best friend” (and that comment came from my sister Marilyn who is the first girl as well as from Camille the youngest); “Who is going to pray for me when I can’t pray?”, “What am I going to do without her?”. My brother John spoke of the way she helped him deal with the death of our brother Nigel a year ago and encouraged him with her faith. Pauline recalls that even while Momma was in the hospital with the oxygen mask on, she was more concerned about how she was going to get home to St. Mary than she was for herself and her well being.
Momma’s grandchildren found her a source of inspiration and faith. When their parents would shout and scream at them in frustration, Grandma would listen with patience and without been judgemental. A grandchild could always be found to take Momma to church and even when she was unable to do that anymore, one would be available to accompany take her to the doctor, or the lab. Every grandchild looked forward to visiting their grandmother. She got them involved in sewing, baking or just spent time talking to each individually; sharing from the bible (Proverbs were her favourite), retelling stories of her childhood, or just sharing her special brand of humour.
Momma loved people. Some years ago, before the road through this community was repaved, the area just below our gate was renowned for accidents. Often times Momma would be rescuing and administering first aid to accident victims, and even putting them up for days at our house. I have met so many persons who have told me tales of Miss Birdie’s cooking and Miss Birdie’s hospitality. She was a quiet, firm & determined, down to earth individual who always had an encouraging word for others.
She was always singing the little nursery rhyme:
“I am little teapot short & stout
Here’s my handle, here’s my spout
When I get to steam up I will shout
Tilt me over & pour me out”
That was Momma’s life, always pouring of herself into others.
More than all I wish to express to you the family and friends of Esmine Lindo that she was never afraid of this day; never feared this moment. Some of the songs that you sing on this occasion were chosen by our mother for just this time. She had talked to us about what she wanted done at her funeral service. Her faith in her Lord gave her a calm assurance and a peace that was unwavering. Esmine Lindo lived a long productive life. The true measure of a life is the impact that it leaves when it ends, or the number of lives that it changed. She made her mark, she finished her course.