“How can I write about a woman I hardly knew, and how can her life be redeemed 18 years after her death?” I prayed following a stirring inside that this was what God was asking me to do. The conclusion I came to was obvious and didn’t require too much consideration. “It’s impossible!”
Yet how many times have we found ourselves in a position of impossibility, only to discover that our impossible is simply a launching pad into the stratosphere of God’s divine intervention that make all things possible?
Anni McCrum was a woman who lived a life of pain, struggle and heartache. She suffered physically as a child and carried a deep wound from her mother that greatly affected her ability to mother her own children. Add to that the culture shock of moving from her homeland of Denmark to post-WWII London, England as well as the stress of life on a coal barge….. Are you getting the picture? Life was tough for Anni. She had no choice but to fight to survive in every sense of the word. Love was squashed by fear and disappointment. Joy was cast aside by the desperate demands of raising young children on a boat that had no electricity, water or insulation.
This is a tough story to write, as it is relentless in its struggle and tragic in its end. Anni died estranged from three of her four children and carried an emotional wound that I’m sure pierced her heart every waking moment.
This story is vitally important to me, and it is appropriate that I would begin this blog by introducing you to Anni for several reasons, most importantly because she was my grandmother, my Bedstemor.
Anni died when I was 15. I had very little emotion because how do you grieve for someone you hardly knew? I met her maybe five times in my life. I knew she was special but that knowledge never translated to a heart connection, as there was simply very little opportunity. My brief childhood visits to the boat are treasured memories for the novelty of the experience, more than the relationship.
And yet, something extraordinary happened 12 years after her death. I had just given birth to my first child and was finding the adjustment to motherhood more difficult than I ever expected. My son was only two months old when I had a dream in which I met Anni in Heaven. I woke up sobbing and grieving, not just for her death, but also for her life.
I was suddenly compelled to know who she was, to know her life story so that I could pass it on to my own children.
Six years later, Anni’s story has been written. I now know this woman as though I had spent time with her every day of my life. She is dearer to me than I could have ever imagined and my life is richer from the journey I have experienced in writing her story. I had no idea how, or even why I was to write it, but I knew it was important. It became especially pertinent when I felt that it would be a story of redemption. Not only has this story brought deep healing to my own life following the miscarriage of my third child, but also I believe that it has redeemed Anni’s life.
My family is now reading her story and the power of healing and redemption is touching their lives. How far that impact will reach, I have no idea but what I thought was impossible has already been made possible and so there are no limits to the potential of this story.
Her story is also the inspiration for this blog in which I hope to share the lives of many everyday people who have extraordinary stories.
Anni’s legacy that was buried with her now lives with the possibility of touching many lives for generations to come. This story reveals the redemptive power of a living, loving God.