Weatherer of Storms

She is the ultimate weatherer of storms,
a lifetime of inevitable storms because living means storms.
You can’t have one without the other.

A post-World War I childhood,
adolescence forged during the Great Depression,
entering adulthood as the nation entered World War II,
she lived through storms.

A marriage to a soldier, of course,
a man who nearly gave his own life on many occasions,
a man whose normal was enduring close calls in a PBM Mariner above troubled waters.
He, too, was the ultimate weatherer of storms.

Building a life in post-War America meant weathering storms:
welcoming four children whose clothes she made with her own two hands,
cooking countless meals to fill growing tummies while ensuring nothing went to waste,
“vacationing” at the homes of family members who opened their own storm-ridden lives,
who gathered in connected gratitude amidst the storms.

Detailed letters—and the rare extravagance of a long-distance phone call—kept her connected to beloved family and friends over miles long before the convenience of emails and texts.

Newspapers and luxurious radio news reports kept her abreast of worldwide storms decades before colorful television broadcasts and quick online scrolls brought them to life.

Doing what had to be done to survive:

relocating a young family while in search of work,
a basement office to earn a living,
hours spent transcribing business notes on a typewriter,
home-sewn clothes on the backyard line,
children in that very same yard entertaining themselves,
DIY everything when DIY was not a hobby but a means of daily sustenance,
family playtime at the nearby beach for reprieve,
rescued dogs who needed a good bath in the basement tub,
a family-wide paper route to supplement income,
genuine hospitality extended to parents who would die prematurely,
an astonishing work ethic.

It was indeed a different time, yet they were still humans just like us, humans who weathered incredible storms.

The stories sound nostalgic,
glamorous in that old-Hollywood, black-and-white,
almost-mystical-and-mythical kind of way.
But there were storms, so many storms.

Tight budgets and prolonged illnesses,
crises widespread and under their very roof.
Joyful unions and excruciating endings,
new lives welcomed and lived ones fading away.

In disappointments ordinary and profound,
in connections forged and dissolved over distance and time,
in gains and losses alike,
she still found deep joy and gratitude even while weathering storms.

During her final active decades, she welcomed, fed, and entertained her sprawling family several times a year.

She baked huge batches of Christmas cookies, treasured trinkets made by grand little hands, and displayed family photos as reminders of God’s goodness.

She faithfully visited her siblings and children at their homes and helped raise local granddaughters.

She humbly served her church family and accompanied friends in their own suffering.

She collected and adorned porcelain dolls, perhaps to fulfill childhood dreams made sparse by the Great Depression.

She delighted in caring for small dogs, dogs who became the recipients of her extraordinary nurturing in a near-empty home.

As her husband of more than sixty years passed and her own health declined,
it became clear that she needed a smaller home and life.
Agonizing decisions and great releases of what had been were required.
More storms.
Always storms.

And yet she weathered even these with tenacity and humble thanksgiving
for what had been and what would still be.
She held sadness and suffering with honesty, courage, and hope.
She was outwardly appreciative of every kindness shown.

As she came to the end of her long life, her storms were buffered by
weekly Bridge games with new community,
special outings to restaurants and craft fairs,
visits to the homes of far-away children,
hours in the sunroom feasting on delicious meals and conversation with her nearby daughter and son-in-law.

She welcomed thirteen great-grandchildren and had the joyful privilege of holding many.
Her physically condensed life overflowed.
What she had faithfully poured into these next generations during her abundant near-century of nurturing service was poured back into her as the sun set on her earthly days.

Her vibrant spirit, long reflected in sparkling splashes of color on her lips, nails, jewelry, and clothing, shone back on her through the hearts she touched with her kindness and generosity.

It was her ability to weather storms that made her who she became,
that taught her to dig deeply and to hold tightly;
to walk into swirls of unseen, unknown, and untraversed while relying on the One who holds the wind and waves and tells them to obey;
to suffer from a place of unswerving trust;
and to know with confidence that all will be well.

And it is.

Betty Ann Sammons
March 23, 1923-December 15, 2022

Lacey Wood is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend who is learning to embrace life’s many changes with open hands rather than white knuckles. Having invested over a decade into full-time mothering and homeschooling her long-awaited daughters, she is re-entering her profession as an Early Childhood Deaf Educator. She endeavors to extend compassion to herself just as she does to those around her and to truly abide in the love of Christ. Connecting with others and their stories in deep ways is a source of joy and growth. In doing so, she grows in her ability to love them and Jesus better. Finding balance between doing and being, getting out of her own head, and welcoming silence before God are just a few of the ways she is intentionally being kind to herself in her current life season.