Vacation Diaries 4: A Tribute

You guessed right…we’re back in Port Elizabeth because of a family emergency; but, before I tell you why, I first want to tell you a story of love and courage…

“When a man and woman gets married, they are required to agree to the “terms and conditions” of marriage—to love and honor each other in joy and sorrow, health and sickness, poverty and wealth…etc…and for this couple it was no different. They were happily married, had two sons and often fostered other children, many times growing so attached to those kids, that when they are taken away, it causes a huge family trauma. The fostered children would be re-placed with their parents and sometimes meet up again with these kind people who fostered them for so long (many times, for years) and when these people meet them again after many years, they are astonished at the lost look in their eyes and their unkempt appearance. Anyway, their own boys grew up and got married and had kids themselves. Meanwhile, grandma and grandpa would stay in a town for a few years, move to the next suitable town, stay there for 2 years, and eventually, they move to the town where their eldest son stays with his family. They moved there to be closer to the hospitals and their son and his family. While this is going on, their youngest son and his family have moved around a lot too and have finally found where God wants them—on a mission station far from their family.

One day, grandma gets sick, and the doctor prescribes Cortisone for her; however, it was prescribed for much too long. The medicine causes her bones to become more and more fragile, as she had been taking it for 2+ years, until a day came when she had to go for a minor back operation-spinal fusion of only a few vertebrae. The doctor started operating on her and found that her bones were so soft that a butter knife could cut through it! They close her up again and the wound took a long time to heal as it is with any older person.

Grandma is now confined to bed and can get up only with an effort. She had always been a busy woman, cooking the choicest, richest and tastiest food every day, working as a qualified sister (nurse) during the day at an old-age home, and keeping her house in perfect order, always getting ready for her children’s visits and making sure that there isn’t a single particle of dust on her windowsills.

After being confined to bed, Grandpa takes up a lot of the work, baking rusks, muffins and cooking food for them. They hire a maid once a week to help clean the house, but the washing of their washing-that’s his job by choice…

They settle down and accept that this is the life they are subjected to for, probably, the rest of their lives. Life goes on in the whole family, everybody knows Grandma is sick, but still doing well and still strong.

As the days, weeks, months, and years go by, she losing a lot of her weight (she was a nice and round aunty!) and everyone notices she is starting to ebb away.

Their oldest son’s wife give her sister-in-law a call to say that it’s not going too well with Grandma; it would be wise to come for a visit. After arranging for their friends to help them out with their share of the mission work, they set off 2 days later on the 14 hour-long drive, stopping half-way to spend the night. When they arrive there the next day just before supper, they are all shocked to see how much Grandam has actually faded away-her face is pale, she is a lot thinner, she barely has a voice, and she is very calm and not over-joyed to see them like she used to be, because of the medicine and the pain that she has to bear.

When the time came for them to return home, they knew that this would be the last time that they’ll see her again. They had been home for 2 days when they got another call-Grandma has deteriorated much more from Monday to Wednesday; she’s busy dying; come as soon as possible. They give it a day, in case she might improve again and their driving 14 hours would be in vain. The next day, Thursday, they get a call at 6 a.m. : Grandma has passed away at 4:35 that morning! Shocked and saddened at this unexpected news, they make arrangements once again, and once again, their friends willingly help them. They set off at 11:30 that morning and arrive, saggy-eyed at 11 p.m.

Grandpa has always been a very strong pillar of strength for Grandma and I’m sure that their marriage vows meant more to him than he might have thought on their wedding day. He was one of the best examples of a good husband that I know-always there for her, always caring for her, always thinking of her before even remembering that he also had a life to live, and always showing other couples how a husband and wife are required to stick together through thick and thin. She was his life; he lived to care for and serve her with all that he had. And for years, looking after her was almost all that he did! Grandma could not have asked for a better husband and she said so herself. They are definitely one of my role models…

Grandpa, his sister-in-law and his eldest son are waiting for the other half of their family to arrive at home. After the eldest son and his aunt leave, Grandpa explains the whole ordeal to his son and his family.

The way she died-she was so calm and peaceful; she just slipped away peacefully…her son and sister and Grandpa check her to make sure if it’s really true. It is. She has died. Her son gently closes her eyes, and they leave her to be. Grandpa fixes some coffee for the 3 of them and they sit up ’til morning.

At the crack of dawn, they call their youngest son and give him the news. After that, they call the hospice and then the day goes by in a flurry of arrangement-making and weariness. Many of the arrangements are made by the time their youngest son arrives.”

That day ends for them just after midnight, except for me, the writer of this sad story…

…Yes, this is OUR story and my Grandma really did pass away on the 26th of February 2015, at 4:35 a.m.

Please remember us in your prayers!

I’m reminded of the Verse of the Day that I posted on the 25th. And I really am “convinced that neither death nor life will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We also keep in mind, that we mourn not like those of the world, because we know that she was saved and is at this very moment enjoying a much better life with her Savior and Redeemer.


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