Friday, May 22, 2015

Remembering Mother (Verna Mae)

My mother died in 1991. Two years later Dad remarried, and Verna Mae came into our lives. next week they celebrate 22 years of marriage--longer than many first marriages!

 Although she could never be the mother who carried me, she has been a good companion to Dad, and mother to my sisters and me and our spouses, and grandma to our children.

I say that she entered our lives in 1993, but of course we knew who she was; she was part of our lives long before she married Dad. Lois knew her before the rest of us children. Verna Mae worked at Navajo Mission in New Mexico with Mother and Dad Heise in the 1950s, so she was part of Lois's life before any of the rest of us.

When Wilmer Heisey (the superintendent of the Navajo Mission) became the executive secretary of Brethren in Christ World Missions, he knew who he wanted to work in the office. I don't know if having Verna Mae come as his administrative assistant was a condition of taking the job, but she did move back to Pennsylvania and joined him in the missions office. her organizational ability and work ethic were basic to Wilmer's ability to handle a difficult administrative task.

In my research (working on a history of BICWM) I came across a massive compilation put together in 1978 of all the BIC personnel who had gone out in missions, from the beginning of our work until that date. Wilmer planned the compilation, but Verna Mae was a primary worker in bringing the whole great work together.

Along with the work that she did over many years in the office, she has a straightforward ability to accept people of all backgrounds and welcome them in her presence. Dad has commented on this, noting that she gives the gift of acceptance to everyone.

In recent years she faces the kinds of difficulties that many of us experience as we get older. But in all that happens she faces each moment as God's child, welcoming whatever and whoever comes to her. As her children and grandchildren we are grateful that she is part of our lives.


KGMom said...

Perhaps more than many people, I am very grateful for Verna Mae's gentle presence and acceptance of people as they are.
I cannot imagine our dad's life after Mother died, had Verna Mae not joined our family.

Jan Lewis said...

Such a beautiful tribute. I remember well her efficiency and kindness during my years with BIC missions in Zambia.