I start this post with the following excerpt from one of my earlier posts, “Wild Violets – Our House Blend”. It is with sadness and joy that I write a follow-up.
(2009) l left Hilda Mae’s house that day with tears in my eyes for I knew Mama would never physically be with her beloved cousins again. About three months later as she lay in her last day on this earth, two of these sweet violets came to visit her in the hospital, and their names were the last names my mother ever spoke. As they walked into the room, she looked up, and with a sudden spurt of excitement she exclaimed, “Why! Fannie Sue and Hilda May!”. She smiled weakly, but with great satisfaction. Our cousins sat for a while and visited with me and we spoke fondly of our last visit early that Spring. At the ages of 89 and 87 those precious ladies were still out doing good for others, carrying out the work of their Father. How beautiful the feet of those who go! As grateful as I was then for their visit, that gratitude has grown even more over time, that God brought one of His sweetest bouquets in to Mama on her last day. And then Mama’s visit was over.
Today, May 20, 2016, just eleven days short of her 96th birthday, Fannie Sue Rogers left us to join her ancestors who are sleeping in the Lord. The final one of the four ‘Violets’ in my 2013 post, had been able to live at home until the end of her life. Since their photograph together with their wild violets had inspired me to write, they have been leaving the photograph one by one. As I picture them all together again, I feel sad that the era of true grit in women has almost reached an end. At the same time I feel joy for the knowledge that they really are together, this time in perfect peace. No tears, no pain, no sadness will ever be known again to these four. I thank God that I had the opportunity to know and love each one.
One of the last things Fannie Sue said to me was, “to really enjoy your garden, you have to walk through it every day”. “Even when there’s no gardening to be done there?”, I asked. “Yes, even then, walk through it every day”, she replied. I’ve been doing that, and she was right!
As I close now (almost two months after starting this) I hope each of the marvelous women in all of our lives know how much they impacted us for the good; as well as how much they change the world around them even today. As this world and the people in it change, I long more deeply than ever to talk with my aunts and great aunts, the way we used to talk. It is hot July and the violet blossoms are gone. Their little offspring popping up all around, pushing their way into flower beds and shrubbery everywhere, are waiting for late winter when they begin that pretty purple show again. I’m not sure I can ever measure up to the grand old violets of the generations before me – no, of course I can’t, but in their honor, I will be caught trying. We simply aren’t made of that tough fabric. We however have other talents, love, and work to offer from our generation. My main concern is, are we impacting the next generation to do the same? Or are we leaving a gap in which the knowledge for survival, the building of faith, and the passion for real life is engulfed never to be seen by our children and future generations? I know many of my peers have arrived at this bridge already, and are doing a great job of transferring the grit to their own. I am pleased with the work ethics my husband passed on to our children. What do I hope my legacy to be? I’m sad to say I can’t express that in a line or two. There’s so much I want for the future generations to experience that schools, computers, modern philosophy and such just can’t take care of. We’ve been so busy grabbing onto the new and improved, that we’ve possibly dropped the fundamentals. “He has shown you, oh man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Thank you Mama, Fannie Sue, Hilda Mae, Johnnie Bell, and all the others before and like you for your encouragement, instruction, and examples. What gentle giants you are.
I am now going out to walk through my garden.