Editor’s Note: This was originally on my old blog, which I’ve phased out as I launched this blog. However there’s some content I wanted to move over here and preserve.
This isn’t quite what I had in mind for my second post, however it might be one of the most important pieces of writing I will ever do. A year ago today was the passing of my Grandmother. I still miss her and decided I should do something to remember her today.
She had told me that I should write my adventures down, I’ve been doing that off and on over the past few years. Some might become blog posts, or stay private in my moleskin notebook or elsewhere. I’ve tried to take that to heart even more since her passing.
Anna had a love that could warm up anyone, I remember once she mailed a letter to the Sergeant of my local Salvation Army. I still don’t know what was in this letter, the only thing I know is Anna wouldn’t have required my Sergeant to have ever told me about it. I remember when she told me anyway and calling Anna shortly afterwards, surprised and ecstatic about what had happened. Her one letter, written just because had made our day.
One of the most difficult years of my life had to be when I was in my first boarding school. It wasn’t your typical boarding school either, calling family was a rare treat for me. Most of my correspondence was by handwritten letters, which if you’ve seen my handwriting you’ll know it wasn’t much either.
I have grown to really appreciate that school, unfortunately, it is in hindsight. Just because I appreciate it now does not nullify how difficult it was for me at that time. It was clear my 13th birthday was about to be extremely different from any before it, Anna had mailed at least two dozen cookies from her local bakery and that made for a week of calm in an otherwise chaotic time.
I think it was after my 13th birthday, while still at this school. I had a moment that was rather discouraging, I don’t remember anything about what caused it anymore. I recall praying in my mind, not in a sense of belief at that moment.
Rather it was like begging. “If there’s a god out there, or anything that can get me out of this please!” After doing this I think I wrote a letter asking for a bible from her, I’m a little fuzzy on that. I remember speaking to her within a day or two & she asked me, if I wanted a bible. (I’m guessing she was double checking my bad handwriting, or perhaps was a little surprised by this.) The speed of that bible arriving to me, it was as if she had mailed it before I had made that prayer.
I’m skimping on proofreading here, I couldn’t even get through the first paragraph without crying. I included her original obituary & one of her favorite hymns, On Eagle’s Wings. Rest in Peace Anna! We all miss you!
Obituary of Elizabeth Gibbens
Gibbens, Elizabeth Rumpff (“Betty”)
Irondequoit: November 13, 2016 at the age of 96. Predeceased by her father, Col. Roy R. Rumpff; mother, Edith White Rumpff; sisters, Jean Rumpff Meagher and Christine Rumpff Arfman; infant son, Roy Rumpff Gibbens and her beloved husband, Captain William H. Gibbens. Survived by: daughter, Susan Gibbens; son, William Gibbens (Susan Kim); grandsons, Zachariah and Jeremiah Gibbens; niece, Patricia Meagher Hattala; nephew, John Roy Meagher (Janet); great niece, Suzanne Hattala Wasilewski (Marc); great nephews, Christopher Hattala and Patrick Meagher; and great grandnephew and “her sunshine” John Robert Wasilewski. A lifelong resident of Irondequoit, she graduated from Rochester General Hospital’s School of Nursing in 1941. She joined the Army Nurse Corps in July 1942 and proudly served with the 19th General Hospital as an Operating Room nurse in Louisiana, England, and France. She married William Gibbens of Cochise, Arizona in 1943. He was in the 28th Infantry Division. They returned to States in September 1945, he returned to the Army in 1948 and was killed in action in Korea in September 1950. She returned to nursing at RGH Outpatient Department in 1965 and retired as nurse manager of OPD in 1988. An active member of St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church, she served on the Altar Guild for over 50 years. A “best friend” to family and many friends, she will be missed. Her family very much appreciates all the comfort and support she, and we, received from the staffs at the Transitional Care Unit and the Leo Center for Caring (VNS and St. Ann’s Community).
No prior visitation. Friends are invited to meet the family WEDNESDAY 11:30 am at ST. ANNS HOME CHAPEL for her funeral service. Interment Riverside Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1245 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14609 or to Leo Center for Caring, 1500 Portland Ave., Rochester, NY 14621.