This last week my mother-in-law passed away. She was like a second mother to me. I will miss her tremendously. We lived next door to her for nearly ten years. She was my wife’s best friend.
As I thought about her this week I considered the impact she has had on her family. Verlene taught her children about the most important things in life. She was not a genealogist, but rather was a family historian. She shared stories of her ancestors that taught her children the most important lessons in life.
Verlene’s mother (my wife’s grandmother) died while Verlene was on her honeymoon. Verlene told many stories of the charity of her mother, Maude. Maude would reach out and help anyone in need. Verlene often told the story about when her mother was struggling with her health. Maude had rheumatic fever and it left her weak and made her susceptible to any sickness around her. Verlene would share the story that her mother invited in a homeless person that came to the door even though he was sick and it would expose her to illness. Some of the family felt that this act of charity was the one that cost her life. It was not long after this visit that Maude passed away.
The lesson to Verlene’s children was clear. Their grandmother gave her life for another. She put other’s lives ahead of hers. Service to others was an essential and indelible part of her life.
Verlene also shared the story of Matilda Poole. Matilda and her mother joined the Church in Spain. Matilda’s father was a relatively wealthy businessman who did not join the Church. Matilda’s mother decided to send her daughter to Utah with some of the emigrants who were travelling there. She believed that her husband would go to Utah once he learned that his beloved daughter had gone ahead. He was very unhappy with his wife but never emigrated to Utah. Matilda went through many trials including the loss of a young man she fell in love with while travelling to Utah. Matilda’s sacrifice made the lives of Verlene and her children possible. Verlene helped her children to know and understand the sacrifices of this stalwart woman.
Verlene also shared family traditions with her children. She taught them the value of building a legacy of traditions that bind a family together. Her faith, her love, her sense of humor, her elegance, and her acceptance of those around her will stand as a lesson to her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren. She will be keenly missed, but her legacy and those of the ancestors about which she taught will live on in the lives of her descendants.