My oldest sister, Faith Willinda, 1958
Below is a letter my sister, Faith (Lin), who lives in Tennessee, shared with me over the phone last night. She wrote this after learning that our grandmother was home from the hospital and being cared for through the help of Hospice. It is so beautiful, I wanted to post a portion of it here for you all to read. If you’re wondering about the song selection, it’s one of Lin’s favorites.
…You know, it is amazing how many things I experience during the day that remind me of you…This morning, while I was taking my shower, the scent of the soap took me back to your house on Kennard Street. I remember being a little girl – taking a bath in that gray-colored tub. There were crocheted turtles sitting on the edges of the tub and inside them were bars of Dove soap.
To this day I still remember how they smelled and how much I loved being at your house. I cannot smell a fresh pot of coffee – or eat a poached egg or an English Muffin without thinking about you. I was at Goodwill yesterday and the lady in front of me was buying a house coat that had pearlized snaps down the front – just like the ones you and I wore when you lived on Yarnell. My mind raced back to the two of us walking around the block together at night. How precious those memories are!
The sound of my sewing machine takes my mind back to the ‘back-room’ at your house – where you would sit for hours sewing Barbie clothes while I sat on the floor at your feet cutting holes in tiny squares of fabric – ‘creating’ beautiful garments for my trolls. To this day I “LOVE” onion dip made with sour cream and Lipton onion soup – You always had some in the fridge. I love the taste of Oreos and Fig Newtons with green Kool-aide. Ice cream sandwiches and Nutty Buddy Drum Sticks are all a part of my memories of you.
I still remember the taste and smell of the pink pickled eggs you made with beets and purple onions in the refrigerator drawer – (I still need the recipe for those, by the way….) and your chicken and dumplings are still the best I’ve ever had – and try as I might, they never taste quite like yours – but I’m still trying.
Thanksgiving at your house was always special. I know now that the wonderful Christmases we had as children were because of you and Gramps. I didn’t know that then…I want to thank you for always making sure I had a new doll and clothes to wear. I don’t know what we would have done without you.
Roses and Calla lillies are still among my favorite flowers – mainly because that is what you grew in your backyard….and I still like apples with salt. Grams, you have never changed in all the years I’ve been around. For fifty-two years you have been one of my dearest friends. I can talk to you about anything and you understand. You are, by far, the wisest person I have ever known. The trips you have made to be here in Tennessee have meant so much to me. The girls’ weddings were complete because you were here. You looked stunning when you walked down the aisle and I love knowing that even though you couldn’t see what beautiful brides they were with your eyes – I know that you saw how beautiful they were with your heart. They are both so much like you.
One of my favorite memories is watching you touch their dresses – and feeling how they were made. I loved taking you and mom to get a ‘french manicure’ – your nails looked great! But my favorite memory of all is the one of you and Mom giggling into the wee hours of the night because the air mattress you were sleeping on was losing air! The thought of it still cracks me up.
I am so much like you in so many ways, Grams. I sleep just like you and like the same kind of food you do. I even find myself laughing like you – (and gramps, too) from time to time. I want you to know that I try every day to be the woman you are. Consistent and strong and always loving, always caring and always forgiving. Many people in my life have disappointed me. They have said and done things to hurt me – but not you. In my whole life, you have never ever hurt me. I’ve always been able to count on you. I hope my own children and my someday grandchildren will love me like I love you. I hope I get to spend time with them – teaching them about always putting others first. About being good, and being honest and being real. I hope I never hurt or disappoint them and that they will see Jesus in me….the way I see Jesus in you.
When I took you to the airport this past June, Grams, I told you that I didn’t want it to be the last time we were together. I remember promising you, though, that if it was, it would only be a little while until we were together again. I don’t know what God has planned for you, Grams – or for any of us, for that matter. But I do know that He has a plan – one for our good – to give us a future and a hope. I pray that He will touch your body – this very moment and make everything alright inside. But, I know, if He choses not to heal you here, He has promised to give you a NEW body when you get to heaven….with new eyes to watch over all of us – just like you always have…