GLEANINGS from Claudia: Memories

“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.”  Psalms 127:3

It is the eve of Becky’s 33rd birthday and I’ve been walking down memory lane. I woke this morning to memories of Alva, Oklahoma – the little town that Steve and I lived in when Becky was born. I still remember a July 1978 visit to Alva from our then home in Hartford, Kansas. I was nearly 6 months pregnant with Becky and we had 15 month old Kristin with us. We visited to find a place to live in Alva because Town and Country Christian Church of Alva had just called Steve to come and preach. It was an incredibly hot summer in northwestern Oklahoma and our July visit came after 2 weeks of consecutive days of temperatures over 100.  For a pregnant not-that-long-ago transplanted Oregonian the climate was misery. We searched for reasonable housing and I cried in the parking lot of an apartment complex with a concrete play area that radiated heat like an open oven door. I had never wanted to live in an apartment and I most decidedly did not want to live in one with my soon to be two small children. We finally found a little older home to rent. There were two down sides to this little home – no air conditioning and a very steep descent into the basement to do laundry – a bit awkward as my pregnancy progressed — but I loved that little house.

Becky was born in Share Memorial Hospital in Alva. As she made her way into the world, our doctor realized that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. He maneuvered her in such a way that the cord was unwrapped before she was fully born, even so she didn’t cry immediately and she was a dusky color. But in a matter of moments she found her voice and let the world know that she had arrived and she was none too happy about it. She was the first baby born in the hospital in December of 1978 and she was sent home in a very large Christmas stocking. Jacob and the girls still have that stocking today.

Soon after Becky made her appearance we found and bought an older home that needed some fixing up. The home was situated on one of the main thoroughfares into town. At one end of the street and at the top of a slight hill above our home was Northwestern Oklahoma State University, the main employer of the town. At the other end of the street was the downtown area of Alva. A real plus to the home’s situation was that the local library was within an easy walk of our home. My main job for the ‘fixing up’ of this home was providing care for Kristin and Becky. Steve did a lot of mostly cosmetic work on the house with the benefit that a home that we bought for $12,000 and owned for a very short time was sold for over $20,000! What a shock to realize you can’t even buy a car for those prices today!

For the first week of Becky’s life Kristin was about 3 hours away in Tulsa with Grandma and Grandpa Lee. Kristin was 19 months old and it was such a blessing and so terribly hard to have her away during that first week. When Grandpa and Grandma Lee brought Kristin back after her first ever time away from home I was amazed at how much she had grown overnight! She had been my ‘baby’ when she left and now she became a toddler before my very eyes. I remember so well those last weeks of pregnancy wondering how there would ever be room in our hearts for this new baby when we loved Kristin so totally and completely. But of course when Becky came our hearts and love expanded and that concern vanished. And then Joni came just 20 months later and the uncertainty about enough love never even came up. Kristin loved Becky from the start and I don’t remember jealousy or angst about this new baby in the house. I think the hardest part about Becky’s infancy for Kristin was waiting for her to be old enough to play! I could tell so many more stories. I miss Becky so, but I know that I’ve been blessed. I wouldn’t trade the years of memories for a pain-free today.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6

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About Gleanings from Claudia

I am a wife, mother, grandmother,sister, and friend newly introduced to grief as I lost my 32 year old daughter in an auto accident in December 2010. I am a follower of Jesus and am journeying through grief while abiding in Christ.
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4 Responses to GLEANINGS from Claudia: Memories

  1. Mary Vizcarra says:

    Carmen came home in a stocking too. As I read this I am listening to the old song “Learning to Lean on Jesus”. You are such an encouragement to so many. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Trudy Fuller says:

    Good morning Claudia,
    Thank you for sharing so much with us. The thought passed through my mind that this morning it’s like reading a chapter of a good book. A good book because as I read I can picture the steps to the basement, you large with child..crying when seeing the apt. house..each time you draw us a picture of your life with your family we are there with you.
    I so remember thinking the same thing when our second child Kim was born, “how will I be able to love her when I love the first one so much”. And then God stretches and fills our heart up some more. Seeing Todd after coming home and he looked so big all of the sudden. You stir memories for us all that are precious and we need to think on them and thank God for allowing the good memories to flood us.
    The tenderness of your families hearts makes us all want to reach out and hold you and say we are with you and feel for you in your loss.
    Happy Birthday to Becky as she celebrates with Jesus. Love Trudy

    • Trudy – as always thanks for the way you encourage me! I’m such a mix of emotions this season — incredibly aware of the bounty of my life, yet so sad at missing Becky. Last night we had our Suburban staff party and one of the men shared the impact losing his brother made on his family and on his life – actually causing him to enter into relationship with Jesus. He teared up as he spoke of it. Steve asked how long ago that had been and if I remember right he said something like 40 years! 40 years and the tears still rise! But again, in what he said that mix of blessing and sorrow weaving through the tapestry of his life. Praise God that He created us with the ability to remember and process and emote and transform under the weight of our grief and glory. We are each the sum of what we’ve lived and so much more in the loving hand of God.

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