I was part of something yesterday that was at once sad, beautiful, instructive, and uplifting.
The event was a memorial service for my brother/bff Robert J. Holland’s departed mother, Meda Rae Branham Holland. She died May 19 after a long and debilitating illness.
The event was called “a service of praise and remembrance”. It was all that and much more. The memorial was conducted by Robert and his father, Joseph Holland, at their Baptist church in Mechanicsville, Virginia. The church was packed, a commentary on the lives Robert’s mother had touched.
Joseph, 77, but looking all of 60, was a rock of loving strength. He and Meda Rae had been together for 61 years, raising three daughters and a son, Robert. They have 11 grandchildren.
Joseph’s words of tribute and remembrance were not only sweet and loving, but were instructive and uplifting to anyone who heard them. His words held great lessons — of life and death, life after death, and living fully in the moments we are given.
Joseph said you can describe some people as porcelain or as Tupperware. With a playful but loving smile, he said with excellent comedic timing, “Meda Rae was Tupperware,” to laughs of understanding from the audience. “She was flexible, strong, useful, and sturdy,” Joseph said. To an outsider, the “Tupperware” characterization might seem callous, but after 61 years together, it was proof of love and understanding that transcends all space and time.
Robert spoke on his childhood with his three sisters. Their’s was a loving, Christian household, but there were rules, too. Robert’s parents never wished to be “best friends” with their kids. They were parents, responsible for bringing up their children to be responsible adults. Born and raised in West Virginia, Meda Rae Branham Holland knew good from evil, and she raised her children with a firm but loving hand.
Regarding their work with my best friend Robert, a first class father in his own right, Joseph and Meda Rae Holland succeeded admirably.