Posted: September 29, 2020 in Meditations

Alliene, I never knew her. My father and grandfather drove out to a flat open plain in western Kansas. I was a young boy, the significance of this afternoon would not strike me for a long time. The cemetery, stark by most standards, seemed out of place. Where were the trees, lush grass, grand markers, pithy epitaphs? Instead, the sun scorched dry grass in oppressive heat. The men talked, I didn’t listen, not until they stopped at a spot marked by a rock. For the first time I knew I had an aunt I would never meet, her name, Alliene.

My grandparents were young, Grandpa Brown, a tall handsome Methodist pastor, my grandmother, a godly mother of two boys and a girl. 1934 was tough times. The Dust Bowl ate up millions of acres across the Great Plains. The nation still reeled amidst the Great Depression. Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde: all met their end in 1934. But tough times also create opportunity for the gospel message, my grandpa faithfully preached hope to many who desperately needed it.

Glenn was six, Alliene four, John a mere six months. Alliene came into the house from play, she had a fierce headache. Grandma recalled that day in her journal, fevers spiked during the day, seemed like measles coming on. Grandma wrote, “About noon she asked, ‘Mama, aren’t you going to get any dinner, I’m hungry.’ So, I made her a cocoa eggnog and she drank several little glasses of that in the afternoon. Her fever seems to get higher. I wonder what she has? She got so sleepy and begged for me to put her to bed and let her go to sleep. She did go into a deep sleep right in my arms before I could get her to bed. She is real cold now and Bob has gone after the doctor. Presently she clenched her little teeth tightly together and her arms stiffened as tho she were going into a convulsion. I laid her back down, holding her in my arms. Just as Bob stepped back into the door, her sweet pure spirit left her. Ohh, my precious little darling. Gone, gone forever. So suddenly. It was just 8 PM. I can’t write how I feel.”

The journal remained silent for two months, no entries. I cannot imagine the grief of two young parents. How does anyone make sense of the death of a child? We don’t. In that moment all we can know is this, we belong to God. On May 26, 1934, Grandma picked up her pen and wrote, “As I left the empty house and walked in the yard, the most blessed peace, almost joy filled my heart as the thought came to me, ‘Yes, she is gone, she is gone forever to be with God, forever safe from danger and Satan’s snares. What a blessed assurance. Oh heavenly Father, grant that our loved ones may all leave as sweet a fragrance when they go as Alliene did.'”

My little girl is now twenty, her name, Elizabeth Alliene. She carries the name of a special little girl I never knew. Elizabeth belongs to God, each of us does. Whether we live to be a hundred or only stay upon this sod for four short years, our lives are not our own. And what shall we do with the gift of life while we have it? “Oh heavenly Father, grant that our loved ones may all leave as sweet a fragrance when they go as Alliene did.”

  1. Barbara Mackery says:


    Sent from my iPhone


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