Monday, December 7, 2009

Great Grandmother's

Any excuse I had I enjoyed stopping in at Grandpa Masts. Aunt Emma was always working at something interesting. Vernie would be helping her or playing with her toys. Grandma would be working at her desk most of the time making scrapbooks for each of her grandchildren or writing a letter for one of her many friends.

There was however one room in Grandpa's house that I tried to avoid as much as possible. The room itself was cheerful and pretty but on the one side there was a hospital bed and in it was Grandma's mother. Great Grandma had suffered from a stroke several years earlier and ever since that day Grandma was taking care of her.

She was in her nineties and I was scared of her. When ever I stepped into her room to go into Grandma's scrap booking room she would reach out with her bony arm and ask whose little girl I was. I would hurriedly answer and dart back out of the room.

On Sundays however when we would all walk to Grandpa's house I would have to go into her room with Mom while she talked to her. I used to breathe a sigh of relief once that I was allowed to go play with Vernie.


Great Grandmother Swarey lived with one of her children. She was older than my other Great Grandma but she was still capable of taking care of herself to a certain extent.

Since she lived so far away I only ever got to meet her once. She was 103 at time. Several years later we got a letter from her son where she was living saying that she had put a pin between her lips while dressing herself as is so common among Amish women and had accidentally swallowed it.

They hadn't known about it until she complained about a pain and a trip to the doctor revealed the problem. They got the pin out. But at 106 it was too much for Great Grandmother.


Somewhere between age 9 and now, I have quit being frightened when I meet someone who has lived a full life. And I hope by the time I'm that old someone will be willing to let me have a room in their house just like my Great Grandmother's had.


  1. One thing the Amish are far superior at doing - caring for their aged loved ones. There are many who take their old family members into their homes, but the nursing homes and retirement homes are bursting at the seams. My mom said when she's too old to live alone she doesn't want to live with me - I think I'm insulted!! ha ha I remember being a bit frightened of old people, too, when I was little so I can just picture how you were feeling! What a great story ~ ♥

  2. There is a small revival among some Christians of taking care of their own elderly and infirmed. I admire it, but also understand that there are limitations. My own grandmother cared for her husband (dementia and Parkinson's) until she, herself could not physically manage. A live-in nurse was cost-prohibitive and a visiting nurse wouldn't be enough. After much agonizing, she reluctantly agreed for him to be put in a nursing home where she visits him every day to help care for him.

    Although, I am sad that none of Grandpa's daughters were able to take him in, but they had circumstances in their own lives that prevented that.

    One of my dreams is for hubby and I to be able to have a few acres and enough money to put up our own sort of grosdawdy (sorry if I spelled it wrong) house for my parents. My father is a spinal-injury survivor and my mother works two jobs to make ends meet. I hate seeing her work so hard.

    Anyhow, I used to be frightened of sickly elderly and those with physical or mental handicaps, too.

    Love your posts.

  3. We cared for my great grandmother too. I come from a long-lived family, so our elders almost all live into their hundreds. Your words bring to mind the sweetness of her smiles and laughter, the wonderful memories of her youth. Thanks.


  4. Thank you for sharing this.

    My father's mopther came to live with us when I was a young. She was bedridden for her last two years and stayed in our house until she died. I hope to be able to do the same for my parents if they need me to care for them. Now,they are just next door on our little farm, so we are very close to them. I love to look out at night and see their lights burning~I can't see any other houses from mine.

  5. I love the beauty of your posts. There is always a unity & deep love in each write of your life & memories.

    Thank you for sharing your stories, as I so look forward to each one.
    TTFN ~Marydon

  6. This reminds me of last year I stayed with Dad and the great grandchildren usually had to come and shake hands with Dad. Most of them had that frightened look in their eyes. Dad could never remember their names nor of which family they belonged. I printed & framed a small picture of Dad and so all the great grandchildren that came to see Dad I gave them a picture, for I knew before long Dad will only be a memory and many of them will not remeember him at all, beings they were only 3-4 years old.

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  8. Let me try again.....!

    Oh my goodness - what a story about your great grandmothers and swallowing a pin? You say holding a pin in your mouth while sewing is a very Amish thing to do so, maybe it was a fitting way to pass on for a woman who lived and died performing useful tasks. I hope to go while still blessing my family in some way.

    This story will stay with me. Can't wait for your book!

  9. Kids are often afraid of age and illness. I was, too.
    It's wonderful that the older folks were able to stay with family.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.