This is Miss Vonzelle, one of the sweet ladies from church that we will miss sorely when we move. She is one of those go getters who's in constant motion. Always making coffee or arranging the dessert table at pot lucks, greeting everyone with a cheery smile.
Don't tell the rest of the kids, but she loves our Katherine a little bit extra. Whenever she sees us, she makes sure to give KatieBug a big hug and kiss. She tells her that she loves her and that Jesus loves her and "don't ever forget it".
She doesn't call her Katherine, like the rest of us, but "Gracie" after her middle name. She's the only one who ever calls her that, and we don't mind.
It was always curious to me why Miss Vonzelle seemed to pick out Katherine to dote on until one day when she told us about her own little boy.
She told us with such pride how he could tie his own shoes at three years old. He could count to twenty and write his name. And such a good, sweet little boy he was!
One day, he came down with "the croup" and he just couldn't quit coughing, so they took him to the hospital. The doctor there had been drinking, she told us. Her sweet little three year old boy was given an adult dosage of barbiturates by a drunken physician.
Her baby went into the hospital with a bad cough and never came home. She smiled as she told us that it is okay because he is with Jesus now, and even though she has missed him every day all these many, long years, one day soon she will see him again.
I smiled, too, through the tears and wondered at the joy she has even through the grief that has never let her alone.
I know now why she loves our Katherine so. She sees in her the same innocence and joy she remembers of her own little boy and that gives her comfort and hope for what is yet to come.
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18