She Suffered Enough
Finally, the terrible day had come. Although she already knew it would happen, she had a hard time picturing it happening soon. She was now left with no choice but to confront it.
In the minutes leading up to that moment, she had already suffered a great deal, but she prayed something would be done to ensure justice was served. It took her a moment to realize what had happened when the official placed the items on the table from his pocket.
A Wonderful Woman
Without her grandma Edith, Daniella felt certain that she would not have developed into the person she was today. She owed her grandmother the world.
In a sense, she had raised her. The elderly woman was the embodiment of a pure soul, showing compassion and kindness. There was one significant distinction, though, and it repeatedly emerged.
Her Biggest Flaw
Love and loyalty weren’t exactly viewed in Granny E’s worldview in a healthy way.
The poor woman had been worn out numerous times by this trait. Daniella waited with anxiety for the day when everything would change, even if she might not have ended up in the hospital as a result of it. Everything could be summed up in one word: boundaries. This was something that Granny E did not possess.
Although Daniella did not attend the same church as her grandmother, this did not mean that she was unaware of what was happening in the Evangelical building on the opposite side of town.
The sweet old lady had been completely devoted to her church for close to 50 years. She worked at soup kitchens, conferences, Sunday school, babysitting, hosting breakfasts, and a variety of other places. However, it was this compassion itself that was the issue.
They Were Using Her
Seeing others take advantage of her grandmother’s generosity made Daniella furious more than once.
One incident irritated Danielle so much that she was on the verge of driving to the church to scream at Pastor McConnell and the church as a whole. If it had been her, she would have made it plain what was acceptable and rejected the absurd request. Her grandmother, however, made no protests at all. But what precise circumstance set it off?
Doing The Most
Granny E was tasked with returning to town to retrieve a box of supplies that Pastor McConnell had forgotten while he was away at a youth retreat at a remote church camp.
She spent most of the night on the road to get home in time for the morning program the following day. The real insult, though, was delivered when she arrived back.
Not Even A Thank You
The pastor simply grabbed the materials and walked away; she didn’t even receive a thank-you.
Even worse, Pastor James, Pastor McConnel’s boss, was never informed that Grandma Edith had corrected Pastor McConnel’s error. All the plaudits were reserved for his subordinate. Over time, Daniella observed that the same event kept occurring.
A Devout Woman
Grandma Edith didn’t appear to mind, though. She assured Danielle that her payoff would be that those instructional materials would “help children find Jesus,” always looking at the bigger picture.
Up until the age of 73, Grandma Edith attended every service and event for many years. You could count on her to be at church whatever day you went, no matter what. Until everything abruptly changed.
Forced To Stay Home
Daniella witnessed her grandmother’s world and social group steadily dwindle as a broken back from an accident forced her to stay at home and rest, and her old age brought on various health difficulties.
Grandma Edith spent the final ten years of her life bedridden and unable to visit her beloved church. And throughout the course of those ten years, she made numerous attempts to connect. It was a tragic outcome.
Daniella sobbed in private as she saw each invitation declined or just disregarded.
Despite her condition, Granny E’s was still smart as a whip. The family did everything they could to be there in their grandmother’s life, but they could all sense the pain that the church seemed to have overlooked.
The elderly woman’s health kept getting worse and worse, to the point where she needed to be taken care of permanently. That’s when she went into a hospice.
She knew the end was drawing near, so Grandma Edith called the church to arrange her funeral service. Unfortunately, that was when her pastors’ true colors came out.
Clearly Not Caring
Daniella steamed with anger when Pastor James said he was too busy … and sent his second in command instead. And three days later!
It might not have seemed like much time to anyone else, but when someone is laying on their deathbed, every moment counts – and they were wasting it in such a blatant way that it felt like an insult.
Pastor McConnel finally arrived and chatted with Grandma Edith about how she was feeling for a few minutes, and then hurriedly went over what she wanted in her service.
Then, the pastor steered the conversation to something wholly inappropriate: money. When the people around him listened to his words, they could hardly believe what they were hearing.
Pushing Too Hard
There had been rumors that her grandma was sitting on a sizable lump of savings, and those rumors were true. His husband used to be a prosperous farmer who left her a small fortune after his death.
Apparently, the church had heard the same rumor as well. The next sentence made Daniella stop breathing. “Lay up your treasure in Heaven” by, “Remembering your church in your will,” Pastor McConnel pressed.
Redirecting The Conversation
Danielle clenched her fists and tried to stay calm.
She explained that this was not the appropriate time to be talking about money. The pastor nodded in agreement, talked for a few more minutes about the service, and then steered the conversation back to what he really wanted to discuss again. Suddenly, something terrifying happened.
It was something Daniella had never seen before. It even took her a few seconds to come to terms with what she was seeing. Her grandma cried.
Over the years, her family had come to appreciate that she wasn’t a “Steel Magnolia,” she was “Titanium coated with diamonds and wrapped in Kevlar.” She would shed tears for others, but NEVER for herself.
The Final Blow
Now, this frail woman was bawling her eyes out. It was a heart-breaking sight; but the pastor just awkwardly stood there in silence, like he was still waiting for a response.
Danielle couldn’t take it anymore. She grabbed the pastor by the arm and forcibly escorted him out, ignoring his indignant response. However, it would be six more months before they would see the final results of the conversation.
The Inevitable End
The family was heartbroken when Grandma Edith finally passed. The woman who had served as an example for two generations was now gone.
But the funeral was filled with happy stories and plenty of laughter. Upon request, the pastors were not invited. However, they were asked to come to the reading of the will. Even where they would sit was dictated in Granny E’s final details.
It turned out that Grandma had a surprise up her sleeve. The reading of the will was held in a conference room at the lawyer’s office, which was packed to the rafters with aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, and many of the grandchildren… and the two pastors.
They were placed at the front of the room, facing the entire family.
The Moment Of Truth
But after all of them sat down around the table, the lawyer kept standing up; he just stared at them for a few seconds and remained silent, not saying a peep. It was like he was waiting for something to happen.
“Mmmh. It seems like there’s someone missing here,” he said then. This left the whole family and the pastors puzzled. Who could that be?
Who Was Missing?
The dazzled relatives and the pastors looked at one another. Literally, the whole family was there. Who could that mysterious last-minute heir be?
And right then, everyone heard a creek. They turned around and saw the lawyer’s office’s door opening. “Oh, there he is,” the lawyer said then. “How are you doing, Mr. Walker?”
“I’m fine, thank you. Hi everyone,” the man said. “Can I…?” he asked, pointing at one of the free chairs. “Sure, go ahead,” the lawyer said as he sat down as well.
Danielle scrutinized the man who had just entered the room, trying to recall if she had seen him before. He didn’t look familiar at all.
Who Was That?
Mr. Walker was a black man who appeared to be in his 40s. He wore glasses and a grey suit. But who was he exactly? Did he have any sort of personal relationship with Granny Edith?
The lawyer must have noticed that everyone around him was puzzled by Mr. Walker’s sudden entrance; so he explained to everyone who he was and why he was there.
Very Close To Edith
“I think most of you don’t know this gentleman right here. I’m pleased to introduce you to Mr. Dejuan Walker. You may have heard his name, you may not.”
“But the truth is he had a very close relationship with Edith until the end of her days. She mentioned him in a special clause of his will,” the lawyer told them.
The family and the pastors felt more confused by the minute. What kind of relationship did the man have with the deceased grandma?
They would soon find out. “Well, now that we’re all here, we can start,” the lawyer said, as he put on his glasses and spread a bunch of papers over the table.
Generous, Even After Death
The air was abuzz with a mixture of grief and curiosity. Everyone was wondering what would come out of the meeting and whether the grandma had left some final words in there.
The will was read, and it was clear their grandma’s generosity stayed well past her passing. Everyone received mementos and significant gifts of money. Finally, it came to the church and the pastors.
Drooling With Anticipation
The two men were already looking ravenous for their share of the estate – to the point Danielle wouldn’t have been surprised if cartoon dollar signs popped out of their eyes. The lawyer pulled out a letter that Grandma Edith had personally drafted, just for them.
She stood near the back, trying hard to contain her smile.
Telling It All
The letter went on to expose all the greed and poor behavior of the pastors.
She described how they had never come to visit in ten years and had only shown interest that one last time to try and take her money. She even noted the time she had driven all night to pick up the youth camp materials – which made Danielle internally jump with joy.
The Original Sum
“I realized that I had allowed my church to break my heart for one last time. But that was the last time. The VERY last time.” The next paragraph was the first strike of payback.
“Pastor McConnel did not know it when he visited me, but I had already prepared my will, long before the visit, which did include a double tithe – twenty percent – of my ENTIRE ESTATE.”
Changed The Amount
The lawyer continued reading. There was even more.
“I got to feeling so badly that we had not personally remembered such nice people as Pastor James and Pastor McConnel. So, I changed my will to include them by name. While I was at it, I changed the amount of money that I left to the church.”
The New Sum
“I’ve included money to reflect the love they and the church haven’t given me over the last ten years,” the letter continued.
“I give you each one cent.” Further instructions must have been in the will because the lawyer reached into his pocket, pulled out two old, grubby pennies, and slid them across the table toward the pastors.
Stunned And Offended
The pastors, sitting conspicuously in front of the entire family, looked as if someone had injected a gallon of novocaine into their jaws.
The family tried to contain their smiles, but more than a few snickers still escaped – along with plenty of loathing glares, but there was still one more strike to come. Grandma Edith wasn’t finished yet.
Oh, One More Thing
“There is one last bequest,” the lawyer continued, pausing for dramatic effect.
Every eye in the room was now fixed on the two pastors, who were trying to compose themselves after the diabolical comeuppance that Grandma Edith had just served from the grave. However, they didn’t know that there was still more for them. And it would be a hard one to recover from.
A Hard Blow
Grandma Edith’s revenge against the two greedy pastors had been entertaining enough for the family, and, surely, for the lawyer as well, as much as he tried to stay composed and professional.
However, there was something all the people in the room knew. They could predict what would happen next, and all eyes were set on one person.
It Was Mr. Walker’s Turn
The whole room knew that the next to be mentioned in the will would be Mr. Walker. The man hadn’t said a peep for the whole meeting.
Everyone looked at him, wondering whether they would finally find out what role he had fulfilled in Grandma Edith’s life and what the will would say about him.
To A New Home
Daniella and her family also had a feeling about something else: they knew that Grandma Edith was simply setting the greedy pastors up for a one-two punch.
As soon as the words came out of the layer’s mouth, she nearly fell out of her chair. Granny E was indeed leaving a huge pile of money to a church … but one that they never saw coming.
A Different Church
She listened in awe as the lawyer named a different congregation; one that was tenths of miles away from the church Edith used to attend every day.
It was a competing church with a larger population of African Americans. That’s when the pastors’ eyes widened, and their faces changed from a look of incredulity to pure horror. But why?
No That Welcoming
It had slipped a few times that the pastors, despite preaching tolerance, were quite the opposite.
They had their flock remain mostly Caucasian for very questionable reasons. Grandma Edith had battled against it for years and had even considered leaving her church because of it. So, in the end, she reached out with one final lesson that had the entire family nodding in agreement.
But Why Them?
Even if Granny E wasn’t a part of the church she had given the money to, she made a point of writing that people from that congregation had reached out a couple times – wanting to make sure she was okay and if she needed help with anything at all.
But why would they do this?
Reach Out Program
That church had a reach out program to the elderly of the area.
They made a point to pop in during special times of the year or at random for a chat over a cup of tea – nothing much, but the handful of visits had meant the world to Edith. They showed more kindness to a stranger than her own church had in all those years. But that was the end of what the pastors would listen to.
Won’t Stand It Anymore
They stood up, pursed their lips in insult, and departed as if the fires of hell were on their heels.
Danielle stood against the back wall, brimming with a huge smile. Finally, her grandmother had set some boundaries. Even if it had been at the end of her life. There was, however, the matter of the other church. What was their reaction?
Walker Was The Pastor
As everyone had guessed by then, the pastor of the other church was no other than Dejuan Walker. Along with the elderly woman’s family, he had been one of the most important people in Edith’s life during her last moments.
Everyone in the room looked at him with admiration and reverence, waiting for the man’s reaction.
Shocked To Tears
Dejuan Walker ran his fingers through his hair and tried to hold back the tears.
He revealed he knew of Edith over the years, not only because she had been giving small, secret tithes over the years, but simply because of her beautiful soul. However, that wasn’t the end of it. Dejuan Walker and Grandma Edith went way, way back for reasons that left everyone speechless.
The Walker Dynasty
Dejuan Walker’s father, Clarence Walker, had been a pastor in the same church, as was his father before him. It was an African American congregation in the area with almost 100 years of history.
Not only was Grandma Edith familiar to Dejuan Walker; he had also been close to his father Clarence, and even to his grandfather. And it was mostly due to the church’s relationship with one man: Edith’s deceased husband.
Grandma Edith’s Husband, Jason, had been in touch with the three generations of the Walker family. During the worst days of racial conflict in the 50s and 60s, he had been one of the few white men in the area who had stood up for African American rights.
And that wasn’t all. He had even put his own life on the line for that cause on one occasion.
His Life On The Line
One night of June in 1966, an angry mob had surrounded Clarence Walker’s house and church, claiming that he was hiding a black man whom they accused of a crime he didn’t commit.
Clarence Walker was, in fact, hiding that man, and had to escape from the angry mob as well. Jason, Edith’s husband, was the only white man in the area to support them.
He had even hidden Clarence, his family, and the man they were trying to hunt in his house until things calmed down. The Walker family had never been able to forget what Jason had done for them, and remained endlessly grateful to Edith as well after Jason passed away.
However, that wasn’t all. There was another detail to the story that left everyone shocked.
There Was More
According to Dejuan, his father had told him that one of the preachers in Edith’s church had a dark past. Allegedly, his father had been a well-known racist and agitator in the area.
However, Walker had never told that to Edith; he knew how important her church was to her and didn’t want to make it seem like he was spreading slander for his own benefit.
Dejuan shed a few tears while sharing this story about Edith’s past and his own family. The whole family looked at him with reverence. Their grandma had never told them that story, and now they admired her even more.
However, it would be Danielle’s turn to cry when she found out Walker’s plans for the money.
Every last penny would go towards the elderly program that Edith had benefited from. Along with her family, those were the people that had cared the most for her in her last days.
They would use it to make sure that people like her grandmother weren’t alone as they got older. It was the perfect ending for someone who had spread joy and love for so long.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely.