Tuesday, May 27, 2008
This is my Grandma and Grandpa Bouwhuis. At the time of this picture, Bill and Jessie had just announced their marriage. I often look at this sweet picture and think how happy they were. Little did they know the road ahead would be very hard. It wasn't long before the first little baby came along. They named him William. He only lived 2 days. Soon after came Carol, then Louise, then little Jeddy Raye. Each of those little babies lived only a few hours. I can't imagine the pain of having to bury one baby after another. With no camera available, she was left with only the memory of what her babies looked like. Then, another pregnancy. She told me of how she once overheard a woman in town say when she noticed Grandma was pregnant again, "It looks like there will be another dead Bouwhuis baby this year". I asked her how she dared to keep trying to have a baby if losing each one was so painful. I will never forget her answer. She said, "In my patriarchal blessing it says,'your posterity will be numerous and useful in the hands of the Lord'. I knew I would get at least ONE baby that would live." I was very touched by her profound faith. As she was promised,she did get a baby that lived. Four more, in fact. Thankfully, they all survived. My father was #7. During this time, Grandpa worked at the Defense Depot in Ogden, Utah. He made bombs. World War II was in full force. He began to get sick. The doctors discovered that he had TNT poisoning. Despite their best efforts, he died Christmas Eve 1944. He was 34 years old. He left behind 3 sons, ages 6, 4, and 18 months and a 6-week old daughter. I never heard Grandma express any anger about having so much hardship and pain in her life. I never heard her curse God for taking half of her children and then her husband from her. She was such an example of faith, endurance, hard work and long-suffering to me. As I struggle through the difficult times in my life, I look to her example. In July, Grandma will be gone from this life for 2 years. She passed away at the age of 94. The day she died, I was sad, but couldn't help smiling, thinking about the glorious reunion that undoubtedly took place.