This Date in History: June 14, 2007 – Remembering Ruth Bell Graham

Five years ago today, Ruth Bell Graham went home to be with Jesus.  As we reflect on her life, here’s an excerpt from Billy Graham’s book Nearing Home, that describes an anecdote about her gravestone that we wanted to share.

My wife, Ruth, however, was one of those who could lighten heavy hearts, especially mine. I will never forget when she announced what she wanted engraved on her gravestone, and for those who have so respectfully visited her gravesite at the Billy Graham Library, they have noticed that what she planned for was carried out to the letter.

Long before she became bedridden, she was driving along a highway through a construction site. Carefully following the detours and mile-by-mile cautionary signs, she came to the last one that said, “End of Construction. Thank you for your patience.” She arrived home, chuckling and telling the family about the posting. “When I die,” she said, “I want that engraved on my stone.” She was lighthearted, but serious about her request. She even wrote it out so that we wouldn’t forget. While we found the humor enlightening, we appreciated the truth she conveyed through those few words. Every human being is under construction from conception to death. Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent. At the end of construction – death – we have completed the process.

If you visit The Billy Graham Library, you can a visit a room dedicated to Ruth Bell Graham’s life. You can also see her burial site in the Memorial Prayer Garden, where you’ll see the message described above. Also, Billy Graham, who talks often about how much he misses his dear wife of nearly 64 years, just this week had a beautiful flower arrangement placed on the site. The card is short and sweet: “All my love, Billy.”

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  1. Ethel Sinkewitz says:

    I didn’t know Ruth Bell Graham personally, but I have admired her for oh, so many years. Thank you Ruth for sharing your Godly husband with me and the rest of the world. Many times through the years when I was receiving comfort from Dr. Graham’s ministry, I suspected you were home raising the children and keeping the home together, just like the rest of us, while missing the head of your family. Thank you Dr. Graham for your service to our awesome God. WE indeed are all under construction until HE calls us home.

  2. Mary C. Quinley says:

    Dear Ruth, Thank you so much for all the sacrifices you made so that your dear Husband could take The Word Of GOD around the world! My Husband and I were saved at one of his crusades at the vets stadium in philadelphia. We were standing on first base when we asked Our Lord to come into our hearts! What a wonderful blessed day that was!

  3. Raquel Arbogast says:

    Today we visit this beautiful and amazing home rest for Mrs. Graham. Thank you for sharing with the World your many truths. Thank you for teaching me to be committed to a daily revival. Thank you Christ for this simple woman, for her character and testimony.

  4. Holly Simons says:

    Thank you for this post. It is such a privilege to reflect on a life well lived, for the glory of our King. Ruth Bell Graham was, and continues to be, an inspiration and encouragement in how to live this challenging pilgrimage with godliness, humor, zest and deep surrender to her God and family. I look forward to meeting her one day, along with both our godly fathers, who both made their journey Home this past year.
    “Sitting by My Dancing Fire” remains on one of my favorite published works of Mrs. Graham.

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