My Tribute to My Parents

August 17, 2010 at 7:40 pm (Andersen Roots) ()

Theodor Bonneland Andersen
January 11, 1902 – September 1, 1979
Laid to rest at the El Cajon Cemetery, California

Olive Margaret Nagel Andersen
December 31, 1901 – May 27, 1979
Laid to rest at the El Cajon Cemetery, California

By Jessica Andersen Evans

Oh! Mom how suddenly you were taken away from us. I knew you were tired, but little did I realize just how tired. I know the strain of nursing Dad must have taken its toll on you. I’m grateful you did not suffer. How kind the Lord is to have answered your prayer. I knew that you wanted both you and Dad to go to Heaven together, and in a very special way you did. The Lord just took you a little bit sooner so you would not have to go through the agony of watching Dad suffer and die.

Dad, how happy you must be to be in Heaven with Mother. Just think, she was waiting there with outstretched arms to welcome you home. How there is no more pain and suffering. The Lord has taken that awful cancer away from you. Now you are well and strong and can enjoy the treasures of Heaven. I can just imagine you and Mother walking hand-in-hand and talking with the Lord. Oh! How you both loved the Lord and longed for the day you would be with Him.

I miss you both so very much. There are times when the ache in my heart is so very great, but oh, what a comfort the Lord has been. There are times like right now, when I feel his loving arms around me. What would I have done without the Lord. He has sustained me and upheld me. Just like the words of the hymn “Without Him”. Truly how lost I would be. Without Him I would never see you again. Your presence in Heaven has made it seem much closer for me.

Thanks Mom and Dad for all you did for your children. As far as I’m concerned, no parents sacrificed more for their children. How many children can say that their parents gave up a home and security for their children, but you did. Why at the age of 50 you sold the farm to take us to a better land. You did not want us growing up in a land under the threat of communist domination. You left family and friends to face the unknown. What faith you had to make a step like that one. Even before this, you even sacrificed a family together so your children would not be in an area infested with malaria. Dad you stayed at the farm while we were up in the hills. This was also done so we could go to a Christian School and not have to be put in Boarding School. We didn’t see much of you during those early years of our lives, but oh what beautiful times we had together even though they were very brief.

Thanks Mom and Dad for raising us up in a Christian atmosphere. You molded us and kept us safe from the world and all its snares. You made us what we are today. My prayer is that I can do the same for my children. Home was always a happy place. I remember many evening sitting by the first. We’d sing hymns and have devotions and play games. Mom, I remember the bedtime stories. Peter Pan was always my favorite. From little children, you introduced us to beautiful music and taught us how to appreciate it.

Life in India was always an adventure. We never knew what was going to happen next. I remember the monkies and what a pest they became. Then there was the wild boar that came near the house. Dad, you would not let us out until the boar was killed. Dad, you talked about shooting at the elephants to keep them away from the house. Mother would hold the lantern while you shot into the darkness. Then there was the panther that came up onto our front porch and carried away our dog. There were many adventures with snakes and scorpions, but Dad you never let anything hurt us. Life on the farm wasn’t always full of danger. As children, we found many things to do. The fresh haystacks after the rice was harvested, building homes with empty Kerosene cans, catching fireflies, wading in the river, swimming in the tank and well. Then, of course, there were the many treks to the Homestead to visit Uncle Phil and Auntie Julie. Yes, life in India is truly full of many pleasant memories.

By leaving India we were now truly a family together. We had many great adventures on the “High Seas”. Why there was the thrill of seeing the ocean for the first time, let alone being on a big Ocean Liner. I will never forget the Otranto. The sights were a history and geography lesson all rolled into one. There was the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, Sicily and Mt. Etna erupting, Naples and Pompeii, the island of Crete and Fairhavens where the Apostle Paul took shelter, Marsailles and Gibralter.

Life in England was so different, but we as children learned to adapt. I know how hard a time you and Dad had in England. Though the sojourn was brief, Devon was a beautiful County. In the Spring we’d roam the woods and pick wild primroses. I even got to watch a steeplechase on the Moors of Devon. Before leaving England we went to see London, of course, that included Buckingham Palace, Westminister Abby and London Bridge.

Yet another ocean voyage, and what a stormy one that was compared to the first. Then a long train ride across Canada. It was early spring and snow still covered the ground. What a thrill for us children who had grown up in the tropics. But Mom, I can still remember you shivering. We saw the changing scenery from the mountains of Quebec, the hills of Ontario to the wide open Prairies. Dad, I think of the work you did to support your family. After having been the owner of a farm, you took a job in England growing tomatoes. Then in Calgary you started out as a ditchdigger. The Lord watched over you and you ended up getting a job as a draftsman. Our travels weren’t over yet, we had another long trip by Greyhound Bus from Calgary to San Luis Obispo, California. At last the destination of a dream come true for you Mom. You at last had your family in a free country. There were several years of struggling but the Lord saw that you prospered and honored your faith.

As I look back, Mother you were the strength of our family. The verse in Isaiah 12:2 says it all about you, “The Lord is my strength, my song, and He is become my salvation.” You were our strength and you sang praises to the Lord. Early mornings I’d wake to hear you singing hymns while you worked in the kitchen. What a beautiful voice you had. I think of the hymns of praise and rejoicing you must be singing now. I wonder if you are playing the harp. I remember you saying, “I want to play the harp when I get to Heaven.”

Dad, you were a very special person as well. No daughter ever had a more wonderful father. As I look back, I can’t ever remember you being angry with me. I know that there must have been many occasions, but right now, all I remember is your love. Oh, what wonderful times we had on the farm. You saw to it, that we had special things to do. Even here in this country, you and Mother saw to it that we see as much of this great land as possible. You sacrificed so much and how you were blessed. What more can I say about two dear parents who I love very much.

Yes Mom and Dad, you made our lives one big adventure, with memories that will live on. I’m sure there were many times when you wondered if you had made the right choice by leaving India, the land of your birth. I know you went through many hard times, but they were worth it all.

How fitting it is to have your final earthly resting place, a hillside so like the area of Danishpet. Just standing by your graves in the quiet of that evening, my mind wandered back over the years. Yes, all your children were there together. I’m sure the others were thinking similar thoughts. I wonder when all your children will be together again? I’m so thankful for those last moments together on the hillside. The sun was setting as a final tribute to two of the dearest people I know. One day we shall all rejoice together in Heaven. No one will ever separate us again. I’m looking forward to that glorious day.

In Loving Memory,

1 Comment

  1. Catherine Steel said,

    It was lovely to look at your site on your family as well as your pictures.
    I am trying to trace my friends Grand Mother Marie Topfer born 1888 Vienna Austria. My friend Dad was captured during the war and never seen his family again. He ended up here in Scotland, got married and had a lovely family. Have you happened to come across Topfer’s from that area ?
    Regards Catherine

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