Sunday, May 4, 2014

for Nanny

It is never easy to lose someone you love. No matter the circumstances-expected or unexpected-death is something that we do not like and oftentimes cannot understand. We have difficulty accepting it and question the timing and purpose for it. Ecclesiastes tell us that "He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that He cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."

We do not like death because it is unnatural for us. Our Creator and Lord made us for eternal life, and anything that interrupts that life is a threat to our understanding and our ways. But the Lord tells us over and over again in His word that His ways are higher. He knows everything-literally everything-about every circumstance, thus, He alone has the sovereignty needed to orchestrate events in His perfect timing.

My Nanny, Edna Ruth McMorris, was an amazing woman. Her husband, William McMorris, was a baker and cook for the service, and he traveled all over the world. She had my mom and her two older sisters in three consecutive years, and when her husband was away for months at a time, she was able to raise them and hold down the fort as he served our country. Sadly, he died of a sudden heart attack in his forties, and she did not remarry.

William "Mac" McMorris

In a phone conversation with Nanny several months ago, she was candid with me and told me stories of her childhood. She also talked about her life after my grandfather, whom she affectionately called "Mac." She spoke of how she knew she could not just stop living life because her husband had died. When I was younger, I remember being fascinated by my grandmother's youthfulness and joviality. She was always so beautiful to me, and her closet was one of great envy. She dressed well and always put her best foot forward.

Mr. and Mrs. William McMorris with their girls

Throughout my childhood, I recall my grandmother travelling often. She loved to take trips and see different places. Sitting still was not something she enjoyed. I like to think I inherited my sense of adventure from her. Her desire to see the world and participate in different cultures has taught me that everyone-no matter who they are-has a life worth living on purpose.

Edna Ruth McMorris

Because my family always lived in a different city and state from my grandmother, we were not able to see her often. However, since my grandmother was a widow, we made it our priority to be with her on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, no matter how far the drive. Some of my most favorite memories are falling asleep in her house with my sister, listening for the pitter patter of reindeer feet. In the morning we would wake up, open presents, and she would make a delicious breakfast.

Lauren and I with Nanny and her dog, Pierre at Christmas
In recent years, my grandmother's mental and physical health declined. She was diagnosed with dementia about three years ago and moved to an assisted living home. On October 10, 2013, she turned 80. I was able to go celebrate with her, and she was in good spirits. She felt special and was enjoying having those around her who she loved most. While it was hard to see her in a much weaker state than I was accustomed to, her eyes still sparkled to me. She was still beautiful.

Nanny turns 80!
Just a few weeks ago, Nanny was diagnosed with uterine cancer; a previously undetected tumor had grown out of control. Because she had weakened so much, she was unable to make it through hardly any radiation, and the Lord saw fit to bring her home one evening just days after coming home from the hospital.

While I mourn the loss of my grandmother, I rejoice that she is not in pain and that her suffering was not long and drawn-out. She would not have wanted to live that way, and we did not want to watch her lie in agony. Our God is sovereign, and His timing is perfect, no matter what the circumstances look like to us, His servants.

My family covets your prayers at this time.


  1. Jessica, This is so beautiful....thanks for writing this!

  2. Jessica, the previous comment was by Aunt Linda...I love you for writing that beautiful story of her life.

  3. Thank you, Aunt Linda. The Lord gave me the words, and I wanted people to know just how amazing she was.



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