When Thomas, Isaiah and I moved to Russia, we probably said the most goodbyes that we have ever said. At that time we did not know with whom we would be able to stay in contact. We did not know if our older friends and loved ones would be here when we were able to come home to visit. We made extra effort to see those closest to us before crossing to the other side of the world.
God was gracious and allowed more meetings with loved ones like grandparents, aunts and uncles whom we were uncertain of seeing again. And we were thankful. Just a few weeks ago, we were able to travel to St. Louis, MO to see Thomas' grandmother. We were able to introduce her to her latest great grandchild and make one more set of special memories.
This weekend my husband's family will gather to say goodbye and to honor his grandmother, Henrietta Blakeney.
Naturally, I did not have the privilege of knowing "Mammaw" long. But let me tell you what I do know of her.
Mammaw loved her family. I know this because on the occasions that I was able to be with her in her own home, she was always serving her family. She could cook like nobody's business, and she did it over and over and over again. I remember one time not long after Thomas and I were married, the two of us went to see Mammaw for a short overnight visit. When we arrived at the end of the day, she had a feast prepared for just the two of us. Nothing seemed to give her more pleasure than to provide for her loved ones in that way.
Mammaw was a great story teller. I loved to hear her talk about different things that had happened with her family, whether she was telling a story from her past or a story about something that had recently happened in the small community where she lived, she could craft that story with such interesting details that you had to listen.
But most importantly Mammaw loved Jesus. No one ever doubted this fact because Mammaw left no doubt about it! She read her Bible all the time, and she talked about Jesus to everyone that she met. During the last few months of her life, she might not have remembered all the people around her, but she never forgot Jesus; and she never forgot to tell everyone around her about Him.
I am thankful to be a part of a family that God blessed with such a woman. Thank you, Mammaw for the influence that you have had. Thank you, Lord for blessing us with Your love through Henrietta Blakeney.