In Their Own Words:
Letter from Samuel Hugh Wilds
on the occasion of his mother's death, March 4, 1935

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Dear Loved Ones: --

When our Little Mother ceased breathing the thought came that perhaps those of the family who were not privileged to be here thru her last days would like to have some impressions and conversations passed on to them. And i found this to be true for several members of the family asked me if I would tell them something of these last days and they seemed glad when I told them that I had planned to do that very thing.

I wish to record at the start that dear Mamie reminded me a great deal of Mother in her tireless efforts night and day to make her comfortable in her helplessness as she did with us in our childhood sufferings. And I am sure our blessed Lord will honor her for her faithfulness. Lucille in talking to Mother one day, writes, "You know this thought came to me, that Mother never was thinking of self but of Mamie and others and not wanting to keep anyone from doing God's Will." The night I talked with her the lights were off, and I was glad for I held her hand and the tears fell. She said, "Well, I've thought that this is all in God's plan. Mamie stays here with me and will until I go. She could get out and do good somewhere, and Anna too." I told here that it was Mamie's joy to take care of her and she said, "yes, I know that for she wrote me once in China that she would come anytime to care for me."

And I am sure that you thank our Heavenly Father for His provision for her and for the fact of Mamie's being with her thru the generous heartedness of Eleanor and Harry over a period of seven years, and Little Mother appreciated it too for she mentioned it ot [sic] me when I was talking to her about her departure. Lucille writes, "She went on to say --- that when she thought over her live and how God had always supplied every need and made her comfortable, she thought how blessed she was and that she marvelled at this and His love for her. She spoke of what a dear son Harry had been to her, and of how she appreciated it."

And, too, I wish to express my gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the fact that dear Anna could be in the family during these past few years with Mother. She was a source of great comfort to Mother and her cheerful attitude and sweet Christian spirit meant much to cheer Little Mother. It was added joy and solace to me to know th at [sic] she was making her home with Mother. This was aanother of the many blessings that our gracious Father has given this home thru Harry.

The conversations with her which concerned her going, I shall try to put in the order in which they came as near as I can, though that isn't of great importance. They began, when one afternoon Mother knowing that she was failing and had been for sometime, said, "Mamie, I feel that my health is failing, the doctors have examined me with the X-Ray and I want you to tell me what the trouble is." So Mamie explained that the X-Ray showed that there was some trouble with the stomach, but the doctors were not certain what the trouble was, but were suspicious of a cancerous condition. The only thing that made them hesitate to say definitely was that the condition was diffused rather than concentrated. Mother remarked that she didn't believe it to be cancer as she had not suffered any pain.

Let me sure you that she did not fear death. She never asked us to pray that she may be healed, but that she may have to grace and patience to bear up under the acute pain she feared attended all cancers. I understand that Mother always dreaded having cancer. I may record for your comfort here we all did pray earnestly that she would be spared the suffering she dreaded; that He would not permit her to linger thru a long period of suffering. And He heard the pleadings. Dr. Guignard was surprised that she went away as quickly as she did.

That she did not feared death. I think you'll see this clearly although the conversations recorded.

Mamie told Mother that it is hard to see loved one gradually going away. (This was when she told hard to doctor's diagnosis of her trouble.) And she replied that "God

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the Father has been good to me and spared me so ling [sic] to a good old age. We must all go sometime."

One afternoon she was sitting in a chair in sitting room looking out the window she loved to do, and asked Mamie, "When I do, what do you expect to do? For do not want to go away without knowing the you are provided for." So she told her she expected to go to stay with Sue for a while and maybe something would open up for her to do. She told her that when she went away she didn't want to children to grieve for her, not for any of them to wear mourning for her.

My first conversation with her was when I expressed sympathy for her in her affliction. I told her what a precious Mother she has always been to us and always would be, of the invaluable lessons she taught us and above all how she upheld Christ Jesus to us, of our first hearing of Him being at her knees; of how I never heard the Church bell's ring but what I thought of her and Father, and their faithfulness in attending services and teaching us to do the same; and of how she has never kept silent when she whould [sic] speak to us to instruct, to rebuke, to re-prove; that we have always been children to her and when she thought we were not acting as we should, she would remind us. And to show you the calm that possessed her at this time, she, with an amused expression on her face said, "When have I ever called you down in recent years?" And to emphasize her concern that we should do the right thing, she said to Mamie a few days before passing away, "Why don't you go to church?" "Because this is Wednesday," Mamie replied. One night, two days later she said to me, "Why didn't you go to Prayer Meeting?" And I said, "This is Friday night." She passed away the following Monday.

I told her that as far as I was concerned her teaching and training and her marvelous example of patience have always been and would always be an inspiration. "So you are going away and leaving us having been faithful in teaching and training us with a sweetness of character and precious, so precious in memory that these priceless treasures would always been with us."

But she siad [sic], "O Hugh, I feel that I have done the little for Christ!" And I siad [sic], "What a wonderful Saviour we have. Your life has been full of deeds of kindness and thoughtfulness and comfort and encouragement to us and to others in Jesus' Name. You remember how He emphasized this in Matthew 25th chapter when He said, "I was sick, in prison, naked, hungry, thirsty, and you visited me, clothed, fed, gave me drink." And "Whosoever shall give one of these little ones of cup of cold water to drink in the name of Christ, he shall in no wise lose his reward." These deeds you have done in His Name, and they shall live thruout eternity. They are things of life and the life in Christ can never die, not the deeds of such a wonderful life. He honors them and will never forget them. The life you have lived in His Name will always live with us and be a part of us.

And not so, but the name you have the Church as one of the saints, and in the community, in the city and elsewhere, you have won by the living Christ. It makes no difference how secluded one may live or how shut in, the Christ will be manifested abroad in that life who lives Christ. And that's what you have done."

She said, "But I have committed so many sins and made so many failures." I replied, that one of the marvels about God our Father was that He forgets the sins and failures of His children and remembers all the kindly acts done in our Lord's Name.

It seemed to trouble her that she felt that she hadn't witnessed for Jesus as she felt she should have because in a conversation with her, Lucille records -- "Mother said she knew she had not done what she should have in witnessing for Christ, "but she replied "If you feel that way, we ought to feel like insects in comparison." Her reply to that was, "Well, I know I haven't done what I should have inwitnessing [sic] for Him. I know I should have tried to forget timidity and pray and talk in public."

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Another conversation I had with her was in February when after daily observation, I could see she was failing rapidly, I went to her one morning and said, "Little Mother, I see that you are failing rapidly and won't be with us long, and before you go I want Anne to see you before it is too late. Some have thought it better for her to remember you as she saw you last September." And she said as she would say, "Maybe it would be better." But I assured her that Anne was a very commonsensed child that while her precious body was wasting away, I knew Anne would love to see that sweet face again, and those lovely eyes. And so I am not going to stay in Richmond until May as I had planned. "No," shessaid [sic], "It will be too late then." So I said we would go to Durham, N.C. fulfill our engagement there, then go to Richmond and return, then I would stay home. And she expressed her happiness over the idea. And I was told she anxiously awaited our return less we should be too late.

In this same conversation, I talked to her about her going ways; that all through my boyhood days, I had a subconscious fear that she would pass away before I would, but that our gracious Father had spared her to us for many years, and how thankful I was to the Him for her, and I thought it a beautiful arrangement that first Father and then she were preceding of thirteen children, and would be there in the new world, our parents, to greet us and that that very fact made it easier for the time of our departure, and that we could look forward to their greeting us; they had taught us of this beautiful new home and the way to it thru Christ and how befitting that our parents should welcome each of us into this new home of eternal life and peace.

She said it was a wonderful thought and that God, the Father had spared her for so long a time and she was so thankful to Him to know that all her children were provided for. She mentioned in this statement to me her appreciation of Harry's provision for her in her last years.

And a third time she mentioned in a conversation with us the fact of God the Father's provision for her and the family all these years. Thiswas [sic] when she was confined to her bed. I told her that we had much to be thankful for for the way she and Father did everything for us that a child could expect of its parents. That we have never known what it was to be hungry or to suffer need or shelter and on top of all that their ambition for us to have all the education we were willing to take, and she emphasized how interested Father was in our welfare and his ambition for us.

Anne, on seeing Mother said to Lucille, "Yes, Grandmother has changed and much thinner, but she has the same sweet face." "I am going to pray for her to get well, and I believe she will." Of course, if you all won't, how do you expect God to answer. You all just say, "She can't get well." Can't God do everything? I am going to keep on praying." Lucille said that she and Anne had taken a wlak [sic] and she had evidently spoken quite freely about her going. One theri [sic] return, Anne said, "Well, Mother, If I were you, I wouldn't talk about Grandmother's going in front of Daddy. Of course, it will make him feel badly."

She records that on telling Mother about Anne praying for her recovery, she said, "Bless her heart that would be nice if it were God's will. It was sweet of her to pray that for me."

Lucille asked her one day if she could have her wish what would it be. She replied, "Health, if it were God's will, but I know it isn't, so, I want His will of course."

Anna says one evening at twilight she was sitting at the bedside and Mother told the following to her; knowing that her health was failing, after kneeling and praying that she might be spared until our furlough to America, and on arising she thought "Well, when that happens I suppose I shall want to live longer for some other reason." when a voice spoke to her and said, "You will live forever when you shall have passed

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through a little gate called Death." After this she said she never prayed to live a little longer.

Theo records the following conversation with her when she was confined to her room and then to her bed. "It was Sunday. The others had gone to church and I was sitting with Mother. She was sitting on the big chair looking out the window. I was in a chair near her. Now and then she would read a little out of the Bible. She put her Bible down and looking out of the window she siad [sic], "Theo, have you thought of what you are going to do when I am gone?" And I said, "Yes'm, I have. I'll get a romm [sic] somewhere. And she said, "Will you have enough." I replied that I would. Then she said, "I tell you nothing in life matters but preparing for this." (She meant death.) "and you will see that when come to the end of the road." That she was thankful to our Lord for not permitting her to suffer the excruciating pains that attends cancer.

Then late one afternoon Theo was sitting on the edge of the bed holding her hand and they had a good talk. Mother told her glad she was that she was going to be with Margaret and Jimmie and expressed the wish that none of us should go about with long faces and that she didn't wnat [sic] any of us to wear black, saying that she knew we would miss her, but that would eventually pass, that the only life worth living was one of service, that she wanted to know that she would meet all of us in heaven, that we would all be together where there would never again be heartaches and tears and parting." "I sat there like a dummy." I didn't trust myself to say anything. But oh, how I wish I could have told her what was in my heart!"

The Sunday night before Lucille and Anne left for Richmond, which was early on Monday morning, just eight days before Mother went away, Lucille, Anna, Mamie, Anne and I were sitting about the bed. Little Mother knew it was the last time she would see Anne and Lucille, so she remarked, "I don't know what freedom or liberties I shall have in the life beyond, but it maybe that I shall be permitted to follow you out to Africa sometime." And I replied that even if that were not granted, the vision of her sweet face and her precious life and all that she means to us would always be with us in our minds and hearts, and how happy for us that she was going to be with Christ and that we would look forward to seeing her in that gloriously new life.

And again she remarked, "But because of my sins and failures, I feel that I shall be ashamed to see Christ." We replied that when she sees Him she will forget all about her sins because she will be so struck with the marvellous character of Christ, the joy that will possess her to be in His presence will be reason enough for her never for once to recall her sins and failures. "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall Him as he is." And as for Him, you can't remember your sins and failures for He Himself will not remember them. What He will remember is all the acts of kindness that you have done in His Name, and as for your sins, He said, "Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more." And she seemed comforted and told us this little incident. "One day while lying down on the couch, the figure of Christ passed close by in front of me." and running her hand from her hip down toward her knee said, "Like this it was, then He passed." "I was so struck with His wonderful appearance that casting off my old feeble body, I followed after Him full of joy. I have wished that I could have that same experience over again."

And then the moment came for Lucille and Anne to say "Goodby." And how we who were looking on felt for all three of them! When Anne went over and kissed her goodby, Mother put her arms about her and said, "God bless you, dear, Goodby, and I hope you will be a missionary some day too." And Anne replied, "Good-by, I hope to be too."

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Lucille writes, "She always thought it was the sweetness of the other fellow if they loved her, she often told me when I expressed love for her, 'That's because you are so sweet yourself.' I think that was one of her outstanding characteristics."

She continues, "One thing the family can be thankful for as a whole, and that is I never saw any Mother more dearly loved. Little Mother knew and appreciated this and spoke of it to me - how perfectly God had helped and blessed her with all these dear children, and a home.' she said

There need be no regrets with any of you not saying 'if only I had been kinder and better to her.' You have all always been so dear and considerate and lovely to her. My! What a dear precious soul! The memory of her will ever be to me one of my dearest and sweetest. I always said, you remember, that the Mother was an older woman, I could pal and chum with her in a wonderful way. I always felt that way towards her and considered her one of my very best friends."

Both Lucille and Eleanor expressed to me their attitude towards Mother in such a similar way that I am going to write it thus as I attempt to recall their words, "I have never from the first looked upon Mother or considered her and 'in-law' but have felt from the beginning that she has always been one of my own precious loved ones."

Concerning the hour of going, as I held her hand and watched the drawn lines on her face and the gradual slipping away of life and the warmth of the body leaving, I couldn't help but feel what an awful thing death would be without Christ. The heathen would have been hopeless by mourning several hours before such a loved one passed and would yet be keeping up with the loud wailing day at night.- two weeks having already passed - for the departed one.

As we sat and watched there were those wonderful words of our Lord, "Because I lived, ye shall live also," and the drawn lines over that precious face faded away and for three-quarters of an hour before breathing her last, there was that relaxed peaceful expression. There lay the loved one, prostrate, to whom we've clung all our lives, to whom we went with all our perplexing problems of childhood, to whome [sic] we looked for help and comfort, in whose presence we were happy anywhere, at whose knees we learned of the blessed hope that would sustain her and us at just such a time, and where we learned to pray to Him in whom to know is life eternal. There we were leaning now for comfort and strength on the very lessons we've learned from her and using these blessings in her last hours to comfort and help her in turn. What a heritage of eternal blessings we have at her hand. What a lesson to us of what faithful teaching and training she has left us to pass on to those who are in our care. As I looked at that dear body that she had left behind these words were uppermost, "Well done thou precious and faithful Mother, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

I wish for you all to know that I feel that it has been a very special privilege to have been present during our last two furloughs at the going of Father and Mother. I would not have chosen to have been elsewhere at the time and I thank our Heavenly Father for so permitting me to have this privilege.

Dear Ko has been generous engough [sic] to offer to help with the typing of these records an on account of my time becoming so limited, I have asked her to please handle all the typing and mailing. I am sure you will all join in gratitude and appreciation for this.

With affectionate love to each of you, from


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Copyright © 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "Samuel H. Wilds Letter is published here with the permission of Eleanor Cullum Studley and transcribed by Ellen Wilds. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."