Thursday, November 4, 2010

Love and Laundry

Last Sunday, my daughter sat in a church pew in front of a dear friend of my grandma, Mrs. Kelso. In passing, I told Mrs. Kelso that my daughter was sad she never met "Grandma Jean" because they are so much alike--two party girls who love Jesus and pretty shoes.

Mrs. Kelso said "That Jean was a sharp dresser! Of course, your grandpa kept all of her clothes in tip top condition."

I gave a confused look. My grandpa was born in 1917 and was totally old school in the line between women's housework and men's work. After grandma got Alzheimer's, my grandpa tried to take over the housework. Grandpa ruined load after load of clothes by accidentally adding bleach to colored loads and other such laundry mishaps.

That's when Mrs. Kelso told me that when my grandmother started suffering from advancing Alzheimer's disease and could no longer handle the laundry, then my grandfather asked his neighbor, Mrs.Kelso for help. Every Thursday morning my grandfather would walk my grandma's pile of delicate laundry down three houses for Mrs. Kelso to wash for him.

Mrs. Kelso told me "He asked me to do her pretty things when Jean started getting so sick from Alzheimer's. It was my JOY to do that for her."

This new story about my grandparents made me cry. A friend saying that it was a JOY to do a sick friend's wash. My grandfather's total humility in asking a neighbor to do his family's wash.

My grandfather could have dressed his Jeanie in some easy to care for cotton sweatshirts at that last stage of her life. At that stage, my grandma wouldn't have know the difference. Instead, my grandpa insisted that his wife keep up her love of pretty, fussy clothes, even if that meant extra work and humiliation for him.

Married life is so beautiful!


  1. Thank you for this moving story. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and I love her so much. Regards from Slovenia!

  2. This was a really beautiful post, Abby. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. That is so moving. I read this MOMENTS after hearing from my Grandad's neighbor who was calling to check on him. (Grandad is in the hospital.) Paul is such as sweet neighbor and really looks out for my Grandad who has Alzheimers. Thank the Lord for these angels among us!

  4. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Acts of love from little old men make me cry. Precious!

  6. What a beautiful story. It really hit home, as my grandparents just spent the weekend with me and I am so touched by their beautiful and simple love for one another. My grandfather lovingly puts drops in my granmother's eyes and checks on her when she is getting herself ready for the day. My granmother still lovingly irons all of his shirts. I feel so blessed by the time I spent with them and then your story. I can only pray my own marriage matures so beautifully!