Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The lovely lady in the lei is my Great Grandmother, Dorothy Frances Allison Marsh. The photo was taken at her 90th birthday party last year. I think she looks pretty amazing for turning 90. As a matter of fact, she was amazing!
Grandma passed away in May after a 3 1/2 week bout with pneumonia. She was sick for a little while, but because she's always been strong and stubborn she didn't tell anyone or go to the doctor. By the time my Aunts figured out something was up she had to be admitted to the ICU. She fought really hard, and we all prayed really hard (we weren't ready to let her go) but I guess Jesus was ready to have her home with Him. I wish He could have waited just a bit longer but I know she is so overjoyed to be in His presence.
My Great-Grandmother was what I like to call "feisty". She wasn't afraid to tell you the truth even if you might not want to hear it. Believe me, she told it to me a few times. When I was a kid I was afraid of her-I thought she was mean. What I didn't realize then, as the great granddaughter who lived three states away and only saw her in the summer, was that she knew what her rules were and made sure you knew them too. She also knew what the Bible said about how you should live and she wanted her children to follow that Way. She loved ALL her children and grandchildren tremendously! And that was a lot of love to be spread between 10 children, 20 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and eventually 12 great-great grandchildren. As I grew into an adult I realized Grandma's love had been steady throughout the years and am now so glad I had the last few years to see her more often than just the summers.
Grandma's legacy began when she was about 6 years old. That was when she gave her life to Jesus and as far as I know she was faithful to Him for the next 85 years. WOW! To be able to say you served Jesus for 85 years! That blows my mind. She grew up and attended Belvoir Assembly of God in Marshal, VA right up until the end. One of the neatest things I learned from her as an adult is that the land for the church was given by her Father or Grandfather, I've forgotten which. That was so interesting to me because I've read so many pioneer story books and they usually always mention how Mr. So and So gave the land for the church to be built in the community. Now, I can say that I have that kind of story in my history.
I have fond memories of attending that church with her and my Grandmother, her daughter, when I was a little girl. Singing hymns from the old hymn books, having church suppers outside in the summer under the trees. I lost a ring outside that church as a young girl. I still wonder if it's there somewhere laying under that tree, just waiting for another little girl to find it some day. My children can even say that they attended the old Belvoir church with their Great Great Grandma. She was so proud to show them off-her first two Great Greats. Thinking of those days brings a smile to my face but a tear to my eyes.
There are so many more wonderful memories of Grandma that I have. Playing in her basement every summer with cousins, the socks/underwear that we always got at Christmas, then when I was older the towels she sewed for our kitchens. I cherish those towels now. She loved making ceramics, a hobby she picked up about 20 years ago and shared with my Grandmother, Frances. How she worked so hard all her life. First as a clerk at a downtown five and dime, then as a lunch lady at the local public schools. After retiring from each of those she then "took care of an old lady", her words! I loved how she considered this lady to be "old" when in actuality she was only about 10 years older than Grandma herself. She made the most wonderful fried apples, and no matter how I try I have never been able to duplicate them. She always made sure to make them when she knew I was coming.
She prayed relentlessly for her family to be saved and I know that I am an answer to those prayers. I am going to miss her so much. But, I am so proud to count myself as part of her legacy.