That old Cat

Emily Peterson with Grandma Velma Stacey

Emily Peterson with Grandma Velma Stacey

Velma Stacey suffered a brain hemorrhage in March of 2003, and struggled with every single activity in her life after that. It was especially hard for her. She had been such a hard worker and a dedicated mother and grandmother, not being able to do anything without help was a trial.

But at least she was able to go to her daughters’ houses once a week to help them. She could fold laundry and wash dishes and floors. She polished furniture and kneaded bread. Her hands knew what to do from years of practice. In serving other people, as she had done her whole life, she found some comfort and joy.

Without question she made the best of it, even though her cognition wasn’t complete. She knew things weren’t the way she wished, and it took a great deal of good humor and patience to survive two years of not being able to do even so much for herself as tie her own shoes.

One day she was being helped by Bill from the car to

Garage Cat on the front porch exactly as it was that day when Velma saw it.

Garage Cat on the front porch exactly as it was that day when Velma saw it.

Janet’s front porch so she could have her weekly bread-making morning. A cat had adopted Janet’s porch years ago, and although it was fed in the garage, preferred its original adoption point to rest in the sunshine every day. Camille affectionately called it “Garage Cat,” or “GC.” Velma had become accustomed to it, and occasionally spoke to Garage Cat.

But this day she stopped and looked at that lazy old cat sitting in the sunshine. She turned to Bill.

“That old cat. He just sits there all day with nothing to do. He sure doesn’t know what’s going on. I really relate to that.”

Bill thought of her every time he saw that cat for years. He never failed to remember Velma’s joke on herself and her laugh at life. It’s like everything else–you’d better laugh or you’ll cry.

Those of us who know Velma best know she is no longer wondering. For 82 years she trained her mind and hands to serve others as she served her Heavenly Father. Her love of scriptures and the word of God trained her spirit to yearn for spiritual comprehension. Her determination to help others learn what she had learned trained her to do hard things–even when she was struggling herself. And she carried with her beyond the veil those habits, ingrained by a lifetime of work and determination.

Nothing was wasted in life or in death. She’s still doing the same thing: working for God and helping others understand what she learned on earth. But now she knows what’s going on.