One of the most influential people the world has ever known entered her eternal, Heavenly home late last night.
Many had the privilege of knowing Billie Kyle Cunningham as a friend, confidant, incredible cook, and prayer warrior. But I am one of nine individuals who had the honor of knowing her as their grandmother.
Mammaw Cunningham chose to leave her legacy through her every day living. For her, there was no need to wait until her earthly passing for everyone to know what she stood for, Who she believed in, and all she treasured.
Central to all of my memories of Mammaw is her unwaivering faith in Christ. She and Pappaw Cunningham were devoted to loving others in a way that honored the Lord and drew people into His presence. She was devoted to loving others above herself, always choosing sacrificial love rather than ever seeking to acquire worldly riches. Recently she and I joked about how wealthy I thought she and Pappaw were when I was a young girl. I assumed so because they were incredible givers. One of my favorite quotes, “If you are more fortunate than others, build a longer table, not a higher fence” fits Mammaw so well. She could make a pot of gumbo big enough to feed an army! Their home in Moss Point, MS had a revolving door anytime I was there to visit. Neighbors, friends, and kids from down the street all showed up unannounced for coffee, snacks, or just friendly conversation. And Mammaw never complained. She always perked another pot of coffee, prepared a snack and stopped what she was doing to invest in lives of those seeking her company.
Mammaw’s love for Pappaw ran deep, even after a couple decades of being a widow. Her love and ongoing devotion to him has allowed me to glean from great wisdom. Her commitment as a mother and grandmother has become one of the best influences in my life as I have navigated motherhood for only a few years. Though many miles separated us, she walked with me through the journey of infertility and miscarriage like no other family member could. She, too, endured a miscarriage during her first pregnancy. Her encouragement and her prayers for me in those difficult days were priceless.
Just one week ago, I was on the phone with Mammaw asking how she was feeling. Though she’d been diagnosed with cancer and was in hospice, she didn’t complain. All she’d say was, “The good Lord’s got me. No need to worry!” Always considering the feelings of others. So much so that even in her last days here on earth, she chose to send a birthday card to my oldest child. We received the card hours before she went to Heaven. She wanted to make sure that both of my girls received soemting for their birthdays this year. What a woman!