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.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jo-Anne.

I was trying to comment on your post, but for some
reason I am having problems. (computer? blogger?)

Anyway, I wanted to say that your grandmother sounded
like a wonderful lady. A great and faithful example.
She truly endured to the end.


familywithfivekids said...

What a wonderful example! I never had a relationship with my grandparents and feel like I have missed out tremendously. You are very blessed to have such strength in your family.

Sara Adams said...

What a wonderful example. I am teaching RS this Sunday, and the topic is "Trust in the Lord", and "Let go and Let God". Thank you for that beautiful story about your grandmothers faith, and her knowledge that the Lord would lift, and fulfil his promises. Thank you!

Tomatoe Creek Prims said...

What an amazing lady! I know the reunion was just wonderful! Thanks for visiting my blog and I'll add you to my favs I'm sure people will want to check in with your clan:)
Blessings Rondell

Thimbleanna said...

Oh gosh Joanne -- that post brought tears to my eyes. Isn't it amazing how those women suffered so much and didn't complain? That sure wouldn't happen now. My g-grandma had a similar story -- lost 2 children and reared 8 alone. And died at 88 -- another wonderful woman. Thanks for your sweet post on my blog -- my e-mail has been messed up so I couldn't reply to you. Yes -- Logan -- I was born there when my parents were both attending Utah State!

Pennee said...

Hi JoAnne,
Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. I was deeply touched by the faith of your grandmother, and your grandfather too. You have a lot of the same character and strength and I am sure they are nearby watching and helping you as you go through life's challenges.
I am sure their reunion was very sweet.
I miss you. Take care. Pennee

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing Jo-Anne. A beautiful story.

Jalene said...

this was beautiful, jo-anne! grandma was such an amazing woman. i can't even believe her strength. on top of that she took in all those foster kids as she raised her own. i miss her.