On January 8, 1933, Grace Oliver wrote a letter to her friend Edna, addressed Dear Old Pal. In the letter she wrote,
“Berdeane is coming along fine. She was born on (June 3rd). She can almost sit up alone now. I suppose she too will be running around before I know it. That’s what Mother says. She says she doesn’t know where the time has gone.”
Grace Oliver is my Grandmother. Berdeane is my mother. I enjoy reading in my Grandmother’s handwriting that my mother can almost sit up alone now. Grace Oliver died when my mother was three.
I imagine my Grandmother Grace standing in the doorway on the back porch of a farm-house. She sees us drive into the farmyard in our brown station wagon, dust flying as we pull in to the yard. My brother, me, and my mom and dad. A dog is barking at the back tires. Grace wipes her hands on her apron. She runs out to meet us. I hear the screen door slam. When I open the car door Grandmother Grace hugs me and kisses the top of my head. I can hear her voice.
I think about Grace on Mother’s day. I think about my mother as a child sitting in church on Mother’s Day with her brothers, Leroy and Charles holding white carnations while the other children are holding red carnations.
The paper that Grace wrote the letters to Edna on feels smooth. I can touch the same paper that Grace touched. In the basement in the filing cabinet I have a folder full of letters that my mother has written to me. On the bookcase beside me I have a letter that my mother wrote to me. It has cartoon clippings in it. I haven’t opened it yet. I like having a letter from my mother waiting for me.
At the end of the church service today the Pastor asked if anyone wanted to come forward for prayer. She asked if anyone wanted to be prayed for. I felt fine. I felt fine. I wasn’t going to go forward for prayer. I was about to walk out when I saw an older woman with her daughter. I sat down and cried. And cried. And cried. My mother lives 2058.63 miles away from me in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I live in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania. It would take me 33 hours and 18 minutes to drive there. I missed my mom. I missed my Grandmother Grace. I went forward and asked for prayer.
Grace is my Grandmothers name. Grace means unmerited favour. God gives us unconditional love, despite all we do to him or each other. I am thankful when God made me in my mother’s womb, he chose Berdeane Oliver Fernuik to be my mother. I am grateful for her unconditional love. I am thankful that my mother has always loved me. She loved me when I didn’t listen, when I was mad at her, and when I was naughty.
I look like my mother. My mother looks like her mother. I look like Grace.