I am named after her.
My grandma had 3 first names: Jannetje Klasina Wilhelmina. My parents gave me a “calling name”: Anneke. But on paper I have the same name as my grandmother. She was so proud of that and would call me her “namesake” often.
The memories I have of her include her being very hospitable. Every time we came by there was some sort of treat before the meal would start and afterwards too. Or we would order pancakes, Chinese food and typical Dutch dishes. I remember she would hand out chips in coffee filters to all the grandchildren which felt really special. We also did board games often. It’s funny the things you remember.
Unfortunately there will be no more new memories now that my grandmother passed away at 89 years of age last week. Her last years she had Alzheimers, but she found ways to humor us all. I had heard that she wasn’t recognizing people when we last visited so I asked her, grandma do you remember who I am? She was somewhat offended at the question and responded “yes of course I do… Frits (with a twinkle in her eyes) then she said… ANNEKE!!!”. We were all laughing so hard it hurt.
She had gone through a lot in her life, but she rarely talked about those days unless we asked. I remember the story of when she was caring for her baby brother in the second world war. She had to find enough milk for him to drink but it was scarce. So she would take her bicycle and go from farm to farm and ask each farmer for a cup of milk. This cup she would then pour into the large jar she had on the back of her bike. This was so creative and a bold thing to do. She must have been 12 years old or so.
I also remember her beautiful singing voice. I never knew she could sing that well until we went to church together on a Sunday where I stood next to her. It was so clear and beautiful.
But my Oma (grandma in Dutch) I will always remember for her steadfast faith in God. She knew she was a child of God and despite all the things she had gone through in life, she never doubted that.
My mom told me that during her last conversation with her she was unable to speak much at all. Then my mum had said “now you can rest in Jesus’ arms”. All of a sudden she had a very clear moment in which she wholeheartedly said a loud “YES”. She looked forward to be with Jesus.
This week during the Word by Heart school among other things we covered the piece where it says “Jesus took the disciples to Bethany, there He blessed them and was taken up in to heaven”. It was an emotional moment for me as she had lived in a nursing home called Bethany and is now with Jesus. At the same time that is also such a hope.
We discussed in class about running the race with the cloud of witnesses (which are those who have gone before us). Those people are cheering us on and encouraging us not to give up our life-journey of faith following after Jesus. My grandma really persevered in her faith until the end and I can only imagine her standing there shouting:
Come on, namesake!
Don’t give up!
I love you grandma! till we meet again!