4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Today is the last post I will make using the letters from my grandparents – George and Grace. In this letter, dated July 27th, 1909, George is celebrating his 29th birthday without Grace to celebrate with him. He is definitely lonely for her and longing for her presence back in his own space and physical place. He is hoping for her to be with him on September 1st, as he hints that that was the date of their first kiss. From other letters, I think it would have been three years before, and here he is, still waiting for them to be married!
I keep thinking of many years later, when George passed away, peacefully in his sleep. We knew it was coming. His heart was simply slowing down and quitting. He knew it, and we were all there to say goodbye. I was crying and he smiled and assured me that he would be fine in a most wonderful place – a place with God – a place he had been preparing for. He told me his life had been full of love and blessings – and that his daughter (my mother), and all of his grandchildren, were such a part of those blessings, as was his love for Grace.
My grandmother, Grace, had dementia by then and had lost her sight. Her eyes were as blue as ever but they no longer could see her beloved George, nor did she know us when we came to visit. But when we went to the cemetery, on a cold windy day in February, Grace could be heard from where she sat in the limo, the window rolled down, saying an old children’s hymn, written by Walter Mathams in 1876, that none of us had ever heard until then:
Jesus, friend of little children, Be a friend to me; Take my hand, and ever keep me Close to thee.
During the time that my grandfather was dying, my grandmother kept sighing and saying his name, over and over – “George. George. Ah, George.” While she didn’t clearly know what was happening, it was obvious that her spirit was so tuned to his, she knew he was going.
I just read that the French don’t say, “I miss you,” instead they say “tu me manques” which means, “You are missing from me.” My beloved grandparents have been missing from us for a long time now. I’m so thankful for the memories of them and for these letters that I’ve shared with you – letters that reveal a love that was strong and lasting. Were there ups and downs, sorrows, regrets? Yes, there were, but their love brought them through it all. The love of George and Grace lives on today in all of their family. Below is the last of the letters for now and the song that seems very fitting: “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” sung by my sis, Cindy Powell. Thanks for coming here, for joining me on the journey of grace.
July 27th, ‘09
Miss Grace Verink,
Dearest Grace: This is my birthday and I got my nice present from you all right this morning. I think they are very nice, the kind mother always liked for me to have. It was very sweet of you to remember me again.
It is cloudy and threatening here too. We are also needing a rain. Our dust is very deep out on O’Connell. (???)
Well, the time is drawing near for us to begin on our new districts. I will be glad when we get started. We all dread the first few days of it, and will be glad to have it over.
That talk of yours about not coming before Sept. doesn’t sound good to me. But I suppose I will have to get along without seeing you until then for I can’t come there.
I developed plates I exposed yesterday and they were better than I expected they would be, but only one of them suits me. That one I sent of your house is more contrasted then the others because it was made in the sunlight.
Oh Grace, I wish you were here tonight. We would celebrate my birthday by a trip out to the park. It looks like rain, so we would come home early and then I wouldn’t care if it did rain, for it would give me an excuse to stay late. You know I never did unless it was raining.
I hope you will be home by Sept. 1st. You remember what happened then, don’t you, Sweetheart?
I give you fair warning though, if you don’t want some one to kiss you more times than once, you better not come.