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Posts Tagged ‘legacy’

A Beautiful Legacy

Abby reading to Melanie and Myra

A few months ago we learned that a dear friend’s cancer had returned full force and that unless there was a miracle, she only had a short time to live. Abby had just come to see us—she’d lost little of her vibrancy. She was still pushing a heavy mower around the yard and canning food. It was hard to believe that she was dying. So hard to accept.

A month later we went to visit her. I brought some soup and sandwiches and we planned on a short visit so we didn’t tire her. It stunned us to see how weak she’d become in such a short amount of time. Abby had reclined in her chair while we visited. Her nausea made it impossible to keep food down.

She walked to the door when we left, leaning against the wall for support. I hugged her tightly and we cried together. This might be the last time I see her, I thought—and it was. I talked to her once more by phone. Her voice was raspy and weak, but she was still thankful—thankful for medication that took most of the pain away, thankful for the care of her daughters and the love of family and friends, thankful for a full life and good Saviour.

I knew Abby when I was a child. She played the organ at the little white church that my grandparents went to. She had a bright smile—especially for children. Her family moved away, but we reconnected when I became a mother.

In the spring of 2005 we moved to a cabin on the Day property in Vanderhoof while Kevin built us a house nearby. Before that time the Days were our friends, but in the seven months we lived with them they became family.

It was probably the most difficult season of my life. We had four children under 5 in a 16’x16’ cabin. My youngest two children were six-month old twins with undiagnosed allergies. I often only got three hours of sleep a night. But it was also a season with some of my best memories. I got to be on the receiving end of Abby’s servant heart.

Our family of six had supper in their home three times a week. We bathed in their home. Abby’s son, Josh, helped to build our house, and Abby did our laundry.

She didn’t have a dryer, so she hung all of our laundry by hand on a wooden rack that she hoisted with ropes and pulleys where it could dry out of the way.  Every week Abby washed our clothes, folded them, and returned them to me with a beautiful smile on her face.

Many afternoons, my children and I would join the Days for their afternoon tea time. We’d sit in their bright kitchen and enjoy Bengal Spice tea and hot-out-of the oven molasses bread smeared with butter. It was a time of great conversation and lots of laughter.

Abby loved my children like they were grandchildren. She enjoyed them and spoke with love to them. She would take them into her lap and read to them. I found myself emulating her in tone. Being around her made me kinder and more patient as a mother.

Soon after we moved into our own house, the Days moved to Prince George. But Abby and I continued our friendship. We didn’t talk on the phone often, but when we did it was always for well over an hour. And she never stopped encouraging me. Every time we talked she shared relevant Bible verses and gave me some deeper insight into relating to my growing family.

It’s impossible to know just how much Abby’s gentle spirit, encouragement, and example has impacted my life as a mother, daughter, sister, wife, and friend, but I know that her influence has permeated my life in every area.

Today I came across a picture that spoke to my soul. It’s called ‘Life Within Death.’ It’s a Chinese lantern—the flower must die for the fruit to grow. Even after the fruit is ripe, the dried flower still encases it.

Even though Abby has left this life to be with her Father in heaven, her legacy lives on in her children, her friends, and the countless people that she ministered to.

We love you always, Abby.

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“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls

into the ground and dies it remains alone; but if it dies it produces much grain.”

~Matthew 12:24

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Goodbye Grandpa

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On March 6th—the day after Melanie’s birthday and two days before Joel’s—my grandpa passed away. Nothing can prepare you for that moment suspended in time, that moment of loss that changes your life.

Most painful was being separate from my mom, my grandma, my brother, my sister. My heart yearned to be with them as they remembered Grandpa together and shed tears together.

Tonight, what really hit me, is that I’ll never see him again in this life. There is a hole left in my heart that can never be filled. Grandpa was special.

Grandpa was gentle. One of the deepest memories I have of Grandpa was of him as a shepherd. As far back as I can remember, my grandparents had sheep. The sheep would sometimes graze on a neighbour’s property up the hill and across the road.

I remember walking with him as he led the sheep down the lane. The shadows were long as the sun sank below the treeline. Any other time the sheep would run away from me, but they trusted Grandpa and they meekly followed him home. Sheep have always reminded me of Grandpa. They’ve always made me feel peaceful.

Grandpa was young at heart. I can hear his laughter now! Grandpa loved to tease and we loved to hate it. He had a song for each one of us grandchildren when we were little. Mine was “Rachel Dawn what’s that diaper you have on” sung to the tune of Delta Dawn.

“Grandpa!” I’d yell and then I’d stomp to show my disapproval. Grandpa’s eyes would twinkle, and his laugh would make me laugh too.

Grandpa was devoted. Grandpa was always there for his family and friends. Twice a year, while their health permitted it, my grandparents would make the two-day journey to see us. Nothing made Grandpa happier than being put to work. He grabbed a hammer and banged the trusses of our house together in the hot sun. He helped to wire our house, or he’d grab a shovel and work the garden.

Grandpa was a great teacher. My love of learning came from my Grandpa. It was his gift to me. When I struggled with math, he showed me the joy of numbers. He knew the balance of showing by example and encouraging. He lovingly tended his garden and taught my brother and me to grow massive pumpkins by nicking the vine and placing it in sugar water. In a moment I’m back there—the black, moist earth. The lush, green vines.

The memory that keeps coming back to me is one of walking with my grandpa. I loved to go with him when I was small.

“You walk so fast, Grandpa,” I said.

He chuckled. “One day you’ll walk faster than me.”

I couldn’t imagine that day. My feet crunched, crunched in the gravel as I took two steps for every one that he took. Maybe if I took big steps like Grandpa, I’ll be able to walk as fast as him, I thought. I stretched my legs and took great strides and we laughed together.

I’ll spend the rest of my life doing that—trying to walk like Grandpa did.

Grandpa

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