ast week my husband began talking to one of our children about the worst arthritis he had ever seen, was that of my cousin Lois, yet, she farmed for almost 50 years and sent me both birthday and Christmas cards with lengthy, handwritten letters. As soon as my husband began talking about her, I jumped up to call her. She had cancer, and I knew it was serious and she did not have much longer. I had talked to her several weeks before that, but our conversation was cut short by a coughing spell. So I called, and she answered. She sounded the same to me, strong and yet, she told me she had lived a long, good life, and she was ready to go to heaven. Her husband had just died 7 months ago, after 65 years of marriage. She remembered so much, including how old my children are, and my daughter, who is pregnant. I was quite amazed and am hopeful I have her memory at 88 years old!
A few days ago her daughter let me know that her mom passed away Thursday (8-8-13) afternoon. Lots of memories have been flooding my heart from my childhood. Growing up in a small family, where I only had one sister, only knew one grandparent, and my mom was an only child and dad only had one brother, the extended family was very impressionable. Lois was my cousin – well my mom’s cousin – being her father and my grandpa’s wife (whom I never met) were brother and sister. But, she was family. And, being a suburban girl, going to the farm was quite impressionable as well. How I loved going to Lois and Forrest’s farm . . . yes, the smells of the cows and hay. There were kitties running about, roosters crowing and fresh cold milk to drink. I loved the old white farm house, and dreamed of living on a farm.
Not only did we go to the farm, but I remember numerous visits by them, to bring my grandpa her from scratch baked chocolate chip cookies and Angel Food Cake, of course, also made from scratch – from all those chicken eggs! I did not try too many cookies, as my grandpa would hide them, but I sure do remember the angel food cakes. I now make angel food cakes several times a year, also from scratch, thinking of these special memories.
In her early years, Lois was a teacher, so when I was in school, and had to write a paper on colored chicken eggs, I sent her a letter asking her if she could give me information (there was no internet or Google search then!!). I got a long letter and pictures of colored eggs from one of her farm catalogs. And her handwritten letters continued until this past Christmas. How I will miss them. I so looked forward to those several pages of handwriting, telling of things on the farm, and of her kids and grandkids. She’d ask specific things about my kids. She’d give me encouragement from God’s word. And to think, for so many years, she wrote them with very arthritic fingers.
And it was those arthritic fingers that my husband talked about last week, that made me call her, right then, and how thankful I am. She told me she was ready for heaven and was thankful for her long, full life. She was thankful that despite how much the cancer was in her body, she had little pain. We told each other we loved each other, and said we’d talk again. I wish I would have called, one more time, but I know we will talk again, in heaven. For now, I imagine her being with her Savior and reunions with people we know together; my grandpa and mom and I hope she meets my daughter and son which she heard so much of. Yes, those left behind imagine, but she no longer imagines, and beholds Jesus and soon will turn around, and we will join her.
Yes, Lois, we shall talk again. Until we do, I will miss you. There will be a void each birthday and Christmas without your letters. Thank you for such precious, special memories I will always treasure in my heart.