We heard from Barry’s mother today that his grandmother, Ruth E. West, who we called “Ninnie”, had passed away last night in the hospital. She was eighty-seven years old, loved the Lord, and had not been well for quite some time.
About two years ago Ninnie was placed in a nursing home by her daughter, Barry’s mother. Because of reasons not worth going in to here, Mary Katherine had set it up so that no one was allowed to contact Ninnie but her, or Barry’s sister Tammy. We could only send cards, notes, flowers, etc. We knew she received them, because Mary Katherine would let us know they had arrived. Ninnie was developing dymensia and did not have any recall of things of the present. She was certain she was having conversations with her husband, Vaughn, who had passed away about five years ago.
Ruth had lived through heart disease, cancer and the death of two husbands. She ministered to children at her church for years and is still known in East Ridge, TN by many who grew up under her training as “Miss Ruth”. She used to love to tell me about how she’d tell the kids she had distemper when she would get a cough. One time, one of the children told her that was what dogs get and they knew she couldn’t have distemper! The little boy was so concerned that he insisted she go to the doctor again because whoever had told her that was wrong!
We will miss Ruth. But God had already tempered the blow of this by our not being able to speak with her. The last time I saw Ruth was in late February of 2005. It was about three weeks before my surgery, and I spent a week in Ohio in her home. We talked alot, Ruth and I, on that visit. We spoke of things she said she had never told anyone else. We spoke about her first husband, Mr. Mauney. We spoke about her and Vaughn – about their relationship, the trials they had been through, and how God had used those trials. We spoke about her not having finished high school and how she wished she had. We talked of her raising Mary Katherine as an only child. The list could go on and on…. you can talk about alot when you are willing to spend time with each other. Ruth loved to talk, but most of the people around her had already heard the stories so many times that they really didn’t react to them anymore. We sat and looked at a trunk full of old photos – each having their own story. I enjoyed every day I spent with her, and I look back and wish it had been a longer visit.
The whole day has been rather subdued. I have cried several times, and Barry has been so sad and didn’t know how to get it out. He’s not a crier, too macho! But we have sat, and talked, and hugged. It’s been nice. It brought a smile to my face when I found a “Love You” card in the mail. My husband had mailed it yesterday from work. How like God to deliver that to me today, when Barry’s love would be of special comfort. Another of His temperances for this sad day.
So, we say goodbye to Ruth. However, we know she is with the Lord right now – in her new body. She always said she couldn’t wait! Said the first thing she wanted to do was thank Jesus for saving her – then she was going to go find Vaughn and many of the others that had passed before her. Praise God for Ruth!
Relying on Him,