A Letter to Grandmother; an excerpt from Central Virginia Heritage, Winter 2013 issue

A Letter to Grandmother
by Jenny Greenwood

This spring I was surprised to receive a letter written to my Grandmother on December 4 1913. This letter had been found in some of my deceased cousin’s papers. It was written by a woman who attended my Aunt Ollie Goss. Ollie had died after 3 days at what was probably a small hospital in Palisades, Colorado. She had been brought there by her husband. They lived on a ranch in Loma, Colorado which is about 25-30 miles away.  How did they travel?  Probably by wagon since I doubt if my aunt was in any condition to ride horseback.

Ollie Parilee McLeod Goss was born Jan 2 1892 in Sharp County AR.  She had moved with her parents, William Franklin and Fanny Belle Young McLeod to Mesa County, Colorado between 1902 and 1905. Her grandmother, several aunts, uncles and cousins were already living there.  Ollie married Jack Goss at age 16.

In 1912 her parents had moved to Oklahoma to homestead, settling in Hughes County, Oklahoma and were not aware of her illness and were broken hearted upon word of  her death.

This letter was a surprise that I will treasure forever.

Jenny Greenwood

The Letter…

Palisades, Colo
Dec 4 1913

Mrs. McLeod,

Dear Friend, I am very glad to write to you, if I can write anything that will make your grief easier to bear.  Your daughter suffered intensely but she was so brave and had so much vitality.  We thought she would soon be better, until she grew worse Saturday night.  She came here Thursday afternoon and I was with her constantly until her death.  On Friday she spoke of you and wanted to write but I asked her to let me write instead for I feared it would make her worse.  She was too ill to talk a great deal but thought of you and told me some things about her babies.  Friday night I kept hot clothes on her all night and Sat. she seemed to rest easier.  Her temperature was good and I was much encouraged that afternoon. Suddenly she grew worse and two Doctors came in.  Her senses were keen and she realized they were talking about an operation, in the hall.  She asked me if they were going to operate.  I told her they were talking it over and would see Mr. Goss.  Just at first she resented the idea, said she wouldn’t live thru it but all most at once was willing if the Dr’s thought best.  When told it was only chance she said “Let’s have it then.” But alas she could not be saved.  She came from under the anesthetic very quickly and knew everything, before I gave her morphine to deaden her pain.  I told her she was very sick and could not live.  She said and you think I can’t live?  And I told her no.  She tried to comfort her husband and told him to be a good man and good father.  She said “O my poor old mother, tell her goodbye for me and that I am ready to die.” Thru it all she was calm, she said “I have no time for tears in this world”.  She said she wasn’t afraid, she thought she would go to heaven.

She spoke of many people, calling them by name to bid goodbye.  Strangers they were to me and I cannot recall their names.  Mr. Goss will know.   Once she said “I have been praying for sleep, I did not know it would be the last sleep.”  Her mind was clear and from time to time she delivered a message for some friend or loved one.  Her husband and children were in her thoughts foremost, and next came you, her mother, knowing her death would cause you pain.  And I am sure, could she speak to you she would say “Don’t cry.” Her suffering is past.  She sleeps.  So you should try to be brave like she was and thankful that your darling was not afraid to die.  Once as I bent over her asking if I could do anything for her she answered “Help my husband to be a good man and help my children”.  How gladly I would help them if I could but I may never see them again.  You can help them in your trial, for their sake, help to train those little feet in the right way.  Teaching them that Jesus loves them and will care for them, The Bible tells us, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord”. We can’t always see or understand, but a merciful, kind Heavenly Father does all things well.  Trust Him. Serve Him.

I do not know you, but if you are a Christian, I know you will find sweet relief in this trial by saying “Thy will be done”.  If you are not a Christian, I beseech you to remember the One who said “come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden”. And then the blessed promise, “Ye shall find rest”.

(The next line was on a fold and illegible)

Blessings upon you, I am,

Your friend,
Mrs. H. F. Meeker

Ollie Parilee McLeod Goss
Jan. 2 1892 to Nov. 30 1912

She died of a burst appendix.  Although her husband got her to the doctor three days before her death, they were not able to save her life. She had been married 5 years.  Had three children, a set of twins, one of whom died at birth.  When she died she left behind 5 year old daughter, Blanche Maxine, 2 year old son, Charles William, and husband, Jake Goss.

(Reprinted with permission from Central Virginia Heritage, Winter 2013.)