It was a normal day. All was going well. My sister-in-law and mother had come to help me for the day. They were mending and hemming shirts, dresses and pants for the children when my dad came downstairs where we were working and with a no-nonsense look on his face told Mom to come right away.
“The way it looks, Grandma is having a stroke!”
With that, Mom was gone. Surely not Grandma. No, it couldn’t be. Why, Grandma has always been so spry. In fact on Sunday evening, we spent the evening at her house. She was delighted to see each of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who had stopped by to see her. As always, she had pretzel sticks for anyone who cared for some and had popped popcorn to go with them.
Grandma. How could it be? Dawdy (Grandpa) has passed away a little over two years ago, and since then, Mommy (Grandma) has become more special than ever to the rest of us.
Questions whirled through my mind. I didn’t know how to feel. Mommy’s words that she has spoken multiple times rang through my mind, “I wish I could just go to be with Dawdy in heaven.” (Editor’s note: While spelled “Mommy,” this is referring to Gloria’s grandma. The pronunciation is more like Momm-I than the traditional Momm-E.)
Yes, I really did want her to be able to experience the wonders of heaven, yet there were deep heart strings between Mommy and me. What would it be like to live life without her? I fondly remember of going to sit with Mommy in church, knowing that at some point she’d reach into her dress pocket and get out a pack of smarties for me. As I grew older, there was a sense of belonging anytime I was with Mommy or Dawdy. I knew they loved me and that I was special to them.
I ran out to the shop to tell Daniel what had just happened.
“Could we go up and see her before the ambulance takes her?” I asked.
“Yes, lets go,” he responded. Thanks to my dear sisters-in-law, Regina and Keturah, who said they’d watch the children, Daniel and I sped the half mile to her house.
As I stepped into the living room, it was easy to see that Mommy wasn’t her usual active self. Her words were difficult to understand, and she seemed a bit confused. After she was loaded onto the stretcher, I clipped her prayer veiling back in place, and told her they’d take good care of her.
There was nothing left to do but to go back home and take care of my family there. The next hours passed slowly as we waited anxiously for a report from the ones who had gone with her.
Finally we were told that it was a bad stroke that paralyzed her left side.
“It’s not life-threatening, but she will need lots of care and therapy,” the doctor explained. The following day, things weren’t looking good at all. In fact, she simply couldn’t swallow a thing. We all knew what direction things were going. Of course, I really wanted to go see her before it was too late. Daniel and I hired a driver and took our five little ones to the hospital, which is 30 minutes from here. My parents, who spent lots of time at her bedside, escorted us to her room. When I saw her lying there in bed I simply cried in Daniel’s arms before I was ready to go in to talk to her. It looked so unlike Mommy. It still seemed so unreal. After bracing up, we went in to her bedside. I held her hand and told her, “Mommy, it’s Gloria. We all came to see you. I love you, Mommy.”
“I love you too,” she said weakly. One by one, the children took turns holding her hand and telling her, “I love you.” Lovingly and ever so faintly she assured them of her love for them.
It felt too precious for words to explain. I knew Mommy would soon be going to see the One who created us and redeemed us and promised that we could forever be with Him in glory land. I stroked her hair and told her how well she was doing with everything and told her it would be all right. When she mentioned something about how her hair looked, I smiled to myself, “She certainly still is Mommy — always giving attention to small details and concerned that things are well taken care of.” Daniel dug a comb out of the diaper bag. I had stuck it in to comb Raini’s hair along the way to the hospital. I was delighted to have the opportunity to comb her hair and took the chance to comment on her black hair, even at 80 years old!
All too soon, it was time to go home. We gathered the children by her side once more and sang a few songs. We chose to sing the ones we sang a lot for Dawdy before he went home to be with Jesus, which were “Some Sweet Day” and “On Eagles’ Wings.” Before leaving, we prayed for her and reminded her of our love for her once more.
Each memory is savored as a treasure. No one knows how long she will be with us. I was touched by one of my cousins’ conversation with her. He told her, “Grandma, I want to serve Jesus with my whole heart. Do you have any advice that you would like to give me?”
Weakly, yet strong in spirit she responded, “Trust in Jesus. Rejoice in Jesus.”
That’s the example she left with us and the longing to follow that will ring in our hearts forever.
Here is a recipe that always brings back good memories of Mommy.
MARSHMALLOW KRISPIE BARS
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup milk
1 10-ounce package marshmallows
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
Combine first six dry ingredients. Add remaining vanilla, egg, vegetable oil, hot water and milk. Mix well and pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle marshmallows on top. Return to oven for 3 minutes. Cool.
In a medium saucepan, heat chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter over low heat until chocolate chips are melted. Remove from heat and add crisp rice cereal, mix well and spread over marshmallows. Refrigerate and cut into bars.
This is a hit for children, as well as adults!
Gloria is Amish and lives in a rural horse and buggy settlement in Illinois. Readers with questions or comments can write to Gloria at P.O. Box 157, Middletown, Ohio 45042. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.