Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandma

I know Grandma (Pavkov) isn't here on earth any more...she's having a marvelous time in heaven right now, to be sure, but I wanted to dedicate this blog today to her.

Ninety-six years ago on Saturday, May 11, 1912, a delightful baby girl, Helen Rose, was born to Mathais and Susan Pamer in Copley, Ohio. She was the third of eleven children, almost all of whom are reunited in heaven now, singing the songs of the ages. She married a younger man, George Pavkov, after writing secret love notes and signing them "Esor Remap," her middle and last name spelled backwards (or so I've been told!). Their love was so great that when she passed away last June, I think Grandpa lost his reason for living and joined her in eternity three months later.

Grandma was an amazing woman. She raised six children of her own (along with Grandpa, that is!) and passed on a wonderful legacy to not only her children, but also her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She served our God and Father selflessly and continually -- supporting missionaries in various ways, although most everyone will never forget the thousands of boxes of clothes she sorted through, washed, mended, packed, and shipped off for missionaries to wear and distribute.
(front) - Jorge & Kathy Nemec, Adena Pavkov, Janet Pavkov
(back) Endre and Peg Toth, Grandpa and Grandma, Russ Pavkov, Carole & Ralph Schley
(missing, Ken and Bonnie Pavkov)
She cared for each and every person in her life, especially her family members, as well as people she never met. She enjoyed her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, playing with the little ones even when she couldn't remember who they were. She embodied the Proverbs 31 woman, proving that such a woman actually could exist! And except for when she was battling Alzheimer's in her last years, she never forgot a birthday or anniversary. During those last years, she often didn't know who that "old man" was sitting in the other room, but she never forgot she was married to her beloved George (she just couldn't imagine him being that old!).

Grandma didn't let age stop her from doing things -- as she continued through life, she often traveled wth Grandpa on his trips to Australia, Mexico, and South America, but especially on trips to visit her youngest daughter, Kathy, who was living in Argentina. She even traveled on motorcycle...and photos suggest she enjoyed that mode of travel!

(I had a photo of that...but just can't find it!)

I have no doubt that if Grandma were still with us today and wasn't battling Alzheimers, she would be reading this blog...and probably posting her own on a regular basis (in between packing boxes, making cookies, canning produce, baking pies, and anything else that needed done). Grandma learned how to use the computer, and started keeping in touch with her children and grandchildren when she was in her eighties. I've kept on my computer some of the emails she sent me, even through several moves and several computer upgrades. She always took the time to comment on and ask about things that were going on in my life, and I have no doubt she did that for each of the grandkids that kept in contact with her.

When she was 93, Grandma published a book that compiled many of the poems she wrote during her life. Here are a couple that I'd like to rededicate in her memory:


Don't count your years by numbers;
They fade away.
Don't number disappointments;
They never stay.

Don't add up all your aches and pains;
Or worse they'll grow.
Just count your blessings and give thanks;
And your age will never show!

For Grandma, that was so true. I don't ever remember her talking about disappointments, worries, aches, pains, or anything but her blessings and thanksgivings.

Every few years, Grandma had a double celebration on May 11. Not only her birthday, but also Mother's Day.


What beauteous words the poets find
To write of "Mother"! Always kind,
Forever cheerful, always good,
And, oh, what she can do with food!

She understands when others do not.
She will sacrifice when others do not.
By bedside, too, all day and night
She will stay, until her child's all right.

She bravely smiles while others cry,
Sheds tears of joy for those who try
Then reach some cherished goal at last;
Forgives, forgets what is in the past.

With patience filled, a heart of gold
Is hers; with wisdom, too, untold.
Serene and helpful, day by day
This angel goes along her way.

So write the bards -- but what I long
To know is, what with me is wrong.
For I can strive both night and day
Yet never feel noble anyway.

And while Grandma may not have felt noble, she was. It gives me hope knowing she felt this way....there's hope for me, too!

My heart goes out for my mother and her siblings today, this first Mother's Day without their mother, this double celebration year when we would have celebrated her birthday, too, but we all have some idea of what she was going through these past several years...and I have no doubt she is much happier now, free of cares and worries and celebrating eternity with the One Who loved her before time began...and waiting for when God calls the rest of her family home, one by one.

Grandma, if you were here, I would tell you again how much I love you and appreciate you and all you've done and taught me both by words and deeds. Happy birthday...and happy Mother's Day...but better still, happy eternity!


precious grandma said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful mother! What a beautiful gift to all of us. Thanks. Linda for your love. You put into words what has been in my heart. It's a wonderful gift to me to know the love you had for Grandma. Thanks you, thank you, thank you! I love you.

liz said...

Thanks from me, too. The pictures are excellent.

Martha said...

Lin, I fought the tears reading this. Thanks for sharing Grandma again with us.

GramSchley said...

I finally had time to get to this, and I'm glad I wasn't in a hurry. This is really touching, even a couple of days after her birthday and mothers' day.

For the last 20 or so years, I thought I'd like to grow up and be like my Mom. She showed such Godly wisdom when she shared with others.

Thanks again for the beautiful memories of Mom! Love you!

LindaSue said...

It's been hard to comment on the comments; I'm glad you've enjoyed this...and I plan on not writing anything else this week so those who only pop in once in awhile will still be greeted with her tribute :)

I don't think you could grow wrong in trying to be just like Grandma...she was a pretty wonderful, very godly woman.

Aden Pavkov said...

Linda, that's a great picture of Grandma from her wedding day! Where did you find it?!