It was an ordinary Saturday day and I wasn’t sure where I was going to take mom. But then I remembered that I had felt like the past couple of weeks I was to do something mom has wanted to do for a long time–take the photos and history to the people that bought our great-great-great grandparents farm. It’s a fascinating and glorious history, although the place is a wisp of its former splendor. But still, something my mom has wanted to pass along. For the last week or two I’ve been looking for that history which I put, “in a special place.” I’ve even been praying that God would help me find it.
So while my mom was making a run to town with her husband, I (once again) looked all over. I went through the file cabinet where I was sure I put it and went through reams of documents. I looked in an old folder and nothing there. Though I found several important documents that I have not needed for decades but this week I do (??). Nice, God. Then I went to my bookshelf to look at something (I had looked there a number of times), I see some packages behind some binders. And there it is! The farm papers!
Then we get in the car and go. Mom was reluctant as she felt her husband wanted a trip for the day. But I had said I wanted to take her.
So we drive to the farm house. And the gate is locked! We can’t even get to anything or knock on a door. We keep driving thinking there was another entrance. There wasn’t. Then we circled back and as we came back around there was a truck blocking the road right at the entrance to the drive. I ask the man if he lives there and he says that he doesn’t. Then I ask him if he knows who lives there and he said he did, but that she was in assisted living in a nearby town. And her son lived there, “an old bachelor” who was “in his 40’s” and that he came only late at night.
We started to drive when mom told us we should go ahead and see this woman named “Pat” in the nursing home. We drove to the nearby town and I went into the nursing home to meet “Pat.” She was not too welcoming and a little leery talking to some stranger, but she did invite me in. I told her who I was and she told me, “Yes, I used to deliver mail for your grandparents.” Small world. I tried to give her the info about the farm house but then she whipped out a folder and she had the same info and more. In fact, her daughter had written the info we had. She also mentioned that “Joyce” contacted her son every now and then about the house. I told her Joyce was our relative. When I flipped through the folder, there was a letter from Joyce to her son.
After some nice talk we left.
I went out to the car and got in and told mom about Pat. I also told her about Joyce writing her son. “Joyce!” she exclaimed. “Is she even still alive? She can’t be. If so she’d be about 100 years old!”
We started to drive home. Then mom told me to turn back. We needed to get the address of Joyce’s letter as she was a relative we had lost contact with for years. We hadn’t seen her and wanted to connect, but nobody really knew where that side of the family still lived.
So I turned around and went back to see Pat. I asked her for the address and the letter and took it to mom. The letter was 8 years old but it said she lived in a city only 30 miles away. Then Pat mentioned there had been something about her recently in the paper.
“An obituary?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “Here.”
And this woman reached for a newspaper clipping of our relative. Pat had been wanting to send her a card for a month now. Our relative had turned 100 years old! Mom was flabbergasted when I met her at the car.
In the meantime we went to lunch. The waitress asked us what we were doing and we gave her a little info. Then we put the newspaper on the table and she said, “I work at the paper.” I then asked how we could find out information about where she was at or how we could find our relative, and she said to call next week.
But while we were eating our lunch I googled her name. Sure enough, the local news had done a story on her for turning 100 years old. And it mentioned the nursing home she was staying at. Amazing.
So we drove to the nursing home. On the way we stopped at a local historic “old town” because I needed to find the directions to the nursing home when I saw a building. It was a place that more than likely that Joyce had taught at (as we read in the newspaper). Cool.
Then as we were driving along mom said she hoped that she could reconnect with Patti, Joyce’s daughter and the other children because we needed more genealogy information. The problem was that mom didn’t know where Patti was or how to contact her any more.
When we arrived at the nursing home I went in. There was Joyce, sleeping in bed and there was Patti, by her side. I brought mom in and we talked. Joyce was only hours away from dying. Perhaps she will go tonight or the next few days but it won’t be long. We were able to talk to Patti for some time and pray blessing over Joyce, hold her hand and give her some water.
It was an ordinary day. But then God decided Joyce needed family at her side in her final hours.
Go in peace, Joyce. God cares for you.