Stella’s Servant Heart

2010 didn’t end as I expected it to. Two days after returning from Ohio to bury my grandmother Joan, I got a phone call from my mom in a panic, saying my other grandmother, Stella, was found unconscious in her car at a Wal-Mart parking lot. I prayed and waited to hear…..My dad called me back shortly after, saying she had passed away before the paramedics could even attempt to revive her.

Four days before Christmas. J.R. and I were planning on going home and having a relaxing Christmas celebration with my family in Melbourne. Suddenly another funeral needed to be planned. It really was a blow. I loved both of my grandmothers very much and had a close relationship with both. They both lived near by my parents and I as I grew up. They were always there. Having to take another name off of my wedding guest list was painful. I wanted them both to be there so very much.

I had seen Grandma not even a week before she died. I showed her the picture of my wedding dress, talked with her about wedding plans…..My mom had made plans to go dress shopping with her….Uncle Jesse was going to be her date. I think Grandma was almost as excited as I am for the wedding. She was so happy when I told her we were engaged, she wanted all the details. She absolutely loved J.R (how could you not?). The first time they met, J.R. and I had went over to her house and it was pouring. She opened up the garage door and had an umbrella in her hand. We assumed she was going to come and escort us up to the house, so we started to get out because we didn’t want her to get drenched. But she walked right past our car and started going down the street chasing after her garbage can. The umbrella was flipped over and she kept going. J.R. ran out and grabbed it for her. We got into the garage, all of us pretty soaked, and I introduced the two. She had a curious look on her face, like Who is this strange man with Allison? It is an awesome memory, and so suiting of her.

On my last visit with her, she was talking to me about my other grandma’s memorial service and how J.R. looked so nice in his suit. “He is so nice looking,” she said. “He’s a nice man too, but he’s very good looking.” Her comments like that always cracked me up. I wish they would’ve gotten to know each other more but I’m so thankful we all had the time together that God blessed us with.

Stella was an amazing woman. She had a servant’s heart. Her last action on earth was buying her best friend a Christmas present. She was involved with SO many clubs and organizations. She volunteered at the hospital for over 30 years. She was a part of the Polish American club, the Democratic Women’s club, the Melbourne Women’s club, the Red Hat ladies…..I’m sure there are more. Grandma was an amazing cook! She always made my favorite Polish dish, stuffed cabbage (I’m so thankful I have the recipe). She was such a great cook that she didn’t go by recipes, she went by her memory and “a dash of this and that” (I certainly didn’t get that gene!). She knew everyone and everyone knew her. She raised 5 children and was married to my grandpop for over 50 years. She was Catholic. She loved Jesus. I had some great conversations with her about God.

She was blessed with great health. While all of her friends were slowing with age and battling health problems, Stella kept going. She drove them to doctor’s appointments and tended to their needs, just as the very best and loyal friends would. She would have turned 87 on January 28th. You couldn’t tell her age, though. It seems odd to say that you were shocked by an almost 87-year-old woman’s death, but I certainly was, and I was not alone in my surprise. But I’m so thankful she didn’t suffer through months and years of physical ailments. She wasn’t planning on dying that day….but who really is?

God’s timing is perfect. Even though it has been a rough holiday season, I trust that He’s in control. We celebrated Jesus’ birth on earth, while they celebrated with Jesus in heaven. That brings joy to my heart. I read the following verses at both of my grandmother’s services, so I thought I’d share:

Isaiah 40:27-31

“Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel:

‘My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God?’

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints or is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.”

In thinking of who God is, how could we question His awareness of our circumstances or trials? He is in control. He is unlike humans, who become weak and weary. His wisdom is not fully understandable to us and we cannot attempt to comprehend the reasoning behind certain trials. We can only trust that our human suffering is directed by His perfect wisdom for an eternal purpose.

Looking through all her pictures, especially the ones of her and grandpop when they were much younger, I can only imagine how fast their life went by. Our lives are just a speck. I don’t want to waste the time God gives me on earth. I don’t want to be consumed with things that have no eternal purpose. That’s my New Years resolution.


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3 thoughts on “Stella’s Servant Heart

  1. Your Grandma Shockley was an amazing woman who lived a Christian life and was always doing for others. She was so proud of you and was excited about your wedding. Again, I am thankful that she got to meet JR.

  2. Matthew and I love you very much and will continue to pray for you and your family as you heal. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

  3. I love you sooo much babe. I know how tough the past few months have been for you but you have such maintained such a great attitude and perspective in the midst of the mourning. I am so glad I got to meet Grandma Shockley, and much like Joanie, only wish that I had more time. They were wonderful ladies who obviously meant a lot to you and also loved you very much. I have no doubts they were proud of the woman you’ve become and I know God will only continue to grow you. I can only imagine how much fun our Grandma’s are having in heaven now.

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