Only she knows what “everything” is.

A few months ago I sent the kids a MOM TEST to respond to. I knew of the 3, Claire would send hers back and she did.  One of her answers has played in my mind ever since.

What is she doing right now? – if not doing missionary things then on the computer

If she found $100 what would she spend it on? – fabric

She is sitting in front of the TV, what is she watching? – it would only ever be a family movie night if she’s in front of the TV

Name 3 foods she hates – butter, candy, white bread

What is her favorite meal? – something with coconut oil + vegetables

Favorite music to listen to? – calm music, soundtracks

What is her nickname for you? – Sweetie

What is something she could collect? – documents, history

What would she eat every day if she could? – coconut

What is her favorite cereal? – Special K

What would she never wear? – her shirt tucked in to her pants

What is something that you do that she wishes you wouldn’t do? – buy more clothes

You bake her a cake for her birthday, what kind is it? – coconut

What does she worry about? – getting everything done before she dies. Only she knows what “everything” is.

What could she spend all day doing? – Family History, Blogs, Facebook

What do you love most about her? – BOOKS

These are not bad answers.  (Except I do like butter.) Claire knows me pretty well. I stopped when I read her response to “What does she worry about?”  She nailed that one.  I don’t think we’ve ever had a conversation about this, but she feels it too.  Her answer haunts me.  I think about it all the time.

My mother, Grace Helen Smuin Laemmlen died at age 68.

My grandmother, Ruby Grace Lundquist Smuin died at age 61.

My great-grandmother, Grace Honor Bushman Lundquist died at age 38.

My great-great grandmother, Charlotte Turley Bushman died at age 59.

My great-great-great grandmother, Frances Amelia Kimberley Turley died at age 47.

I will be 58 in a couple of weeks.  I’m in the end zone, for women in my family.

I remember hearing an older gentleman once comment, “I no longer have the luxury of reading a book twice.”  I was young and his words haunted me because I could not imagine the heartache of feeling that way.  I had a list of books I re-read at regular intervals.  I had unending years spread gloriously before me, waiting to be filled with anything I could imagine.  I am feeling his heartache now as I get older and feel that my days are numbered. My bookshelves are overflowing with books I may not even read once.   The history and ages of my mothers does not run in my favor.  My hair is turning silver and gray.  I am becoming an old woman.2016-11-lewis-family-6

SO, what do I worry about?  I worry about getting everything done before I die.  I worry about that Every Day. My husband and family have No Idea what “EVERYTHING” is.  But I know it down to the painful detail.

This blog has been a little more quiet the last year and a half.  That’s because I’ve been so busy with other things and when I have a quiet moment, I am working hard to get things done before I die.  I started 2 other blogs–

Ann’s Stories:

Our Washington Yakima Mission:

There are now 250 posts on Ann’s Stories relating to Family History and people I’m related to.  Their stories are all in my mind and their photos and documents are in my computer and they are screaming at me to Get Out!  So I’ve been using every spare moment I have to empty them into the public domain.  Once they’re written and shared on Ann’s Stories, I’m posting them  on FamilySearch. In the last few months, I’ve added more than 1000 stories and photos and documents there so anyone can find them.  It’s just a start, but it is a start.  I work on this when I’m supposed to be sleeping.

I am also documenting our mission experience here in Yakima on the mission blog.  As of this morning, I’ve posted 1,106 posts in the last year and a half since we arrived.  Along with the posts are thousands of photos of the missionaries here and what they are doing.  I do this for them and for their families.  I am capturing things that would otherwise be lost.

There are still thousands of books on my bookshelves waiting to be read and dozens of quilts started and not finished and thoughts in my head waiting their turn for paper. These are just a few of the things that keep me awake at night, (not to mention 175 teenage missionaries) but mostly it’s my ancestors and their stories.  On her deathbed, my 3rd great-grandma Elizabeth pleaded with me and her descendants, “Grant that my name not pass into oblivion.”

I am hoping my maternal grandmothers will put in a good word for me that will extend my time here on earth until all of their stories and the stories of their children are told.  Books and quilts are not so important–I’m living fine without them now, but I hope that someday I will have the feeling that I’ve emptied all the stories out and can go to where my loved ones are and face them without regret, without feeling their disappointment.  I long for and look forward to that day.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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3 Responses to Only she knows what “everything” is.

  1. Kirsten Call says:

    Your words inspire me ❤️

  2. Leigh Chazen says:

    Your words startled me. I love you….and thank you for your work which you do so thoroughly and lovingly…and which will affect our family for time and eternity

  3. Irene Bushman says:

    I want to grow up to be just like you…only I’m ten years older than you! I, too, feel that I’ll never get “everything” done…but thanks to you and your wonderful classes and example, I have gotten some things done. The endzone is fast approaching and thanks to you, I look forward to meeting my ancestors and hearing “the rest of the story.” Stay strong, love you, you old grey-haired lady!!

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