- (Photo: AP / Asheville Citizen-Times, Steve Dixon, file)
- (Photo: AP / file)
- (Photo: AP / Jacob Harris, file)
The sense of loss of Ruth Graham is beginning to sink in, said the Rev. Billy Graham.
"I believe the Lord has brought us to this point; I am looking forward to the day when we'll have the next service here," said the 88-year-old evangelist at a private interment Sunday, referring to when he will be buried at his wife's side.
Ruth Graham was laid to rest at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway in the Prayer Garden at the newly opened Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday. She died on Thursday at the age of 87.
"Ruth was an incredible woman. I wish you could look in her casket because she is so beautiful," said Billy Graham on Saturday during a public memorial service in Montreat. "I sat there a long time last night looking at her, and I prayed, because I knew she had a great reception in heaven."
The Grahams were married for almost 64 years and have five children and 19 grandchildren.
Ruth was remembered by family members for her adventurous spirit, wit and motherly and spousal love. But above all, the thousands that gathered for the public funeral said good-bye to "truly a good servant" of Jesus Christ.
"Mama was a lot of fun, but she also believed the Bible, lived the Bible and taught the Bible," said son Franklin Graham on Saturday.
His sister Anne Graham Lotz shared similar testimony, saying, "She loved our Daddy, but greater was her love for God. She taught us to love our Daddy and to love Jesus."
Not only was Ruth Graham's passing mourned by her children, but the entire nation felt the loss of a mother.
"[I]t was almost like being at my mother's service in 1994; for Ruth Graham was a spiritual mother to all believing Christians," wrote Bill Gray, a Christian writer, in The Conservative Voice.
Still, her contribution to the world will not be forgotten.
"Ruth Graham was a truly magnificent woman whose strength, courage, and selfless dedication to her husband, her family, and to Jesus Christ benefited our nation and the world," said a statement by Joel and Victoria Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. "She will be truly missed but not forgotten."
The impact of Billy Graham and the support of his wife in spreading the message of the Gospel throughout the world have been felt for more than six decades and continues to this day and towards generations ahead through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Billy Graham Library, which opened June 5.
Even Saturday's funeral service did not leave out the message of the saving power of Jesus Christ for all to hear.
"No one who attended this service, or who watched on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), can say that they have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ - for they heard it today in this Memorial Service for Ruth Bell Graham," stated Gray in a commentary.
With a bed of lilies the Christian symbol for resurrection adorning Ruth's casket, Billy Graham kissed a red rose and prayed for several minutes before placing it on the casket on Sunday. The five children followed.
"The Bible says the Lord has prepared a place for us and I know He has prepared a home for her I hope she saves a room for me," said Graham of his wife, according to The Associated Press.
The Billy Graham Library reopens Monday when visitors can begin viewing Ruth Graham's grave site.