For Claire, with love


This is dedicated to Ms. Claire Ivy Moseley who was eulogized today at First Presbyterian Church in West Point, Mississippi.  Her daughters, Kay and Judy, were childhood friends, and I have wonderful memories of a delightful lady who was always sitting in “her pew” every time the doors of the church were open.



As I looked around the sanctuary, I stepped back in time to remember all the times of my life spent in that very room.  I was married there, my mother’s funeral was held there, Olivia Catledge Portera and I became blood sisters there and although Judy will deny it vehemently, she taught me my first “cuss word” there.

In her defense, she may not have realized it was a “cuss word” but when I asked my mother that  night what the word meant, she made me go to bed without supper.  It was worse when Daddy got home, and I got the very last spanking of my life.

Funny, many of the pews were occupied by the offspring of the parents, now gone, who occupied them a half century ago.  Olivia and Dunlap sat right behind me the way they always did with the late Homer and Avis Catledge. The Hazards were just across the aisle. There was something strangely comforting about the atmosphere in that room today.

I ran across a poem believed penned in 1993 by David M. Romano.  I hope you find it as heart-warming as I did.

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me”

When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not there to see.
If the sun should rise and find your eyes, all filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry, the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we never got to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you..
And each time that you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too..
But when tomorrow starts without me, Please try to understand..
An angel came and called my name and took me by the hand,
It seemed my place was ready – In Heaven far above,
and that I’d have to leave behind, those things I dearly love..

But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye.
For all of life, I’d always thought, I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for, so much yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible, that I was leaving you..
I thought of all the yesterdays, the good ones and the bad..
I thought of all the love we shared, and how much fun we had..
If I could relive yesterday, just even for a while,
I’d say goodbye, then kiss you ‘til I saw that special smile..

But then I fully realized, that it could never be,
‘Cause emptiness and memories, would take the place of me.
And when I thought of all those things, I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did, my heart was filled with sorrow. .
But when I walked through Heaven’s gates, I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me, From his great & golden throne,

He said, “This is eternity, and all I’ve promised you.
Today your life on Earth is past, but here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last,
and since each day is the same day, there’s no longing for the past. .
But you have been so faithful, so trusting and so true,
Though there were some times you did some things you shouldn’t do. .

But you have been forgiven, and now at last you’re free,
So come and take me by the hand, and share my life with me..
So when tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart,
for every time you think of me, I’ll be right there – in your Heart..

15 thoughts on “For Claire, with love

  1. Please send that to me on email. I’d like to share it with Kaki and Brian. Thanks.

  2. Loved being in our childhood church today. Such wonderful memories…such wonderful people….like our parents and Ms. Claire. We are blessed.

  3. We many have sweet memories of Claire Moseley. She brought joy and humor. Thanks for this tribute and the lovely poem!

  4. What a force Miss Claire was – a real legend – not only a fellow Presbyterian growing up, but an across the street neighbor. We were side-by-side neighbors from my birth, until we got wild and moved across the street from her in 1960. I saw her last at a bridge game in her home just a few years ago – still sharp as a tack!!! She seemed to never age. Mama’s original Bridge Club included so many wonderful ladies we no longer have with us – Miss Claire, Miss Naomi, Miss Cristie, Miss Hazel, Miss Nancy, Miss Ruth, Miss Eloise, Miss Edna Earle, Miss Jo, and Mama – am sure I left some out. (Happily, Mama still plays with newer members, who are still able to outplay anyone a few decades younger .) Miss Claire was a force….I loved her.

  5. Lovely tribute, Emily. I can still see the church filled with all of us and our wonderful church family. Our roots are there. Our character was shaped there. Do you remember the car rides with Judy after youth! Such fun. You all may not know the Moaks lived next door to the Moseleys for awhile. Ms Claire taught him to tell folks he was “Bob Moseley!” She is an icon in our childhood memories.”

  6. Such precious memories and a wonderful tribute to Miss Claire.

    Susanne Allen Thomas

  7. Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I try to respond to this lovely tribute to my dear mom! Thank you, sweet friend, for remembering her so beautifully.

  8. Emily, Mother loved reading your columns in the DTL! She would be so thrilled to see your lovely tribute to her and to read the beautiful poem. Thank you so much!

  9. Miss Claire will always be there when I look back on my childhood in West Point..Spending the night on the side porch, her whistle that sent Kay running rapidly home…such fond memories…heaven has a new angel..

  10. Thanks for all the “Miss Claire” stories. So good to see Judy and Kay after such a long, long time. Your mother was the first to come to my aid when my Mother died and I’ll never forget her. She will live on in many hearts and minds of our generation,

  11. I’m sorry I missed you there, Emily. It was lovely to see Kay and Judy and to see a church packed with people who loved Claire. Please count Lawrence and me among the admirers. He fell in love with her the first time he heard her laugh…….and she had me from early childhood with her loving heart and sense of humor. You always say so well what the rest of us wish we could. RIP darling Claire.

  12. Missed you too Annie. Steve mentioned Lawrence in his eulogy – told about the first time he met her. When I think of Claire, I also hear her laughter which was infectious. She certainly held the secret to a life well lived.

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