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         Once upon a time in a magical land, in a place where dreams really can come true, there lived a little girl named Amelia.  Amelia was the youngest of three sisters.  She and her sisters Anna and Catherine all lived happily with their Mom and Dad, but that did not last and was soon to change forever. 

     One day while they were still very young, dad died.  It was not the same in the house since dad died.  This made their mom, Amelia and her sisters very sad.

     A few years passed when one day their mom met a man who she found to be very interesting and loving. Everyone liked mom’s new friend.  After a while, mom and the new friend were married, this made them all a new family.  Complete with their “New Dad” whom they came to call “Poppa”.

       Poppa loved the children as much as he loved his wife.  Poppa especially liked among the three girls the youngest, Amelia.  For not only was she the youngest but she was the smallest as well.  He called her “die Kleine”, or the little one.  You see, he had come from another land where another language is spoken.  In this new land of America, the people spoke English, there it was German.

Everyone was happy.  Doing those things that families do as they grow together; going on picnics, riding horse carriages, going to church, the process of growing up.  This included how they prayed regularly.  They were there every Sunday morning, Mom making sure they were there on time.  She got them ready and out the door all prim and proper. 

This went on for many years.  Then one day, mom began to get very sick.  She went to the doctor.  The doctor said he was not sure and said to go to a hospital and see some special doctors.  These special doctors had some bad news for Mom and Poppa. Mom had something called “Cancer”.  The doctor gave Mom some medicine to make her feel better.  But this did not last for very long.  Mom began to feel more and more pain.  She even began to stay at the hospital more and more as the pain got worse.

oppa would still take the three girls all in a row every Sunday to church and pray really, really hard for Mom to get better.  Then they would all go and visit Mom at the hospital, bringing her flowers from the church.

One day, when they arrived at the hospital, a doctor came out and asked Poppa to go and talk to him alone.  The girls could see this made Poppa very sad indeed.  Poppa tried, as he turned and looked at the three girls.  He tried to hold the tears back, but seeing the faces of the sisters, well, he no longer could contain himself.  He began to cry openly.  One by one the sisters realized what this meant.

The years that followed were dark.  Everyone was sad for a long time.  Poppa for awhile would take them to church every Sunday as Mom wanted.  There they would pray for Mom’s soul to be with God, who loves them. 

Poppa began to wonder, wonder why.  Why would a god who loved them so much hurt someone he loved so much?  Hurt the way Mom hurt as she slowly, painfully withered away.  Then “why” developed into “how” could a “loving god” even exist as this was not a sign of love, not to him. 

Poppa changed inside, changed his mind and no longer believed in an invisible “god” of love or anything else.  No more Sunday’s, no more praying for unanswered requests for aid.  Poppa no longer believed. 

This change of mind lasted right up to the day he died. 

The three princesses turned into three queens in their own right.  They all still had that special bond between them.  They all knew when one felt well, when one would be feeling bad. 

One day Anna felt odd and asked Catherine how she was feeling.  Catherine was feeling fine and wanted to know how Anna was feeling as well.  Anna too was feeling very well that day, thought something seemed out of sorts.  Looking at each other they went to find Amelia.  Running into the garden they could see Amelia amongst the flowers.  Crying out to her, they ran to see how she was.  Jumping up at the sudden surprise, Amelia gasped a short scream. 

“Are you ok Millie?”  Anna quickly blurted out.

“I’m fine why?  Amelia replied in a startled confusion.

“Something’s wrong” Catherine chimed in.  “Anna and I both feel it.”

“Yeah, and when it wasn’t either of us, we came to find you.  But you seem to be ok.”  Anna explained still huffing and puffing with each word.

“Well I’m fine as you can see.”  Amelia retorted indignantly.  A little annoyed now at being startled the way she was.  Everything seemed so peaceful. 

Then the news came.  Poppa was sick, very sick.  All of the girls rushed to the house to find a car and driver waiting to take them to the hospital; the same hospital that Mom never came out from.  Mom, they all began to remember “Mom”, her cooking, her laughing and her singing in church.  

It was hard learning to wait and wait and wait like they did.   Finally a doctor entered the room. 

“You can all come and see him now.  Please be quiet.  He really does not have much longer and we don’t want to agitate him any more than necessary.”  The doctor explained to us. 

“We understand.” as if rehearsed, the sisters answering simultaneously.

Entering the room they could see Poppa lying there.  He looked so sad, so weak.  All the girls were weeping openly as they stood there.  Then one by one, starting with Anna, they walked up, held his hand and kissed his forehead.  Poppa’s eyes opened, noticing his visitors; those young girls he helped raise to young ladies. 

Entering the room they could see Poppa lying there.  He looked so sad, so weak.  All the girls were weeping openly as they stood there.  Then one by one, starting with Anna, they walked up, held his hand and kissed his forehead.  Poppa’s eyes opened, noticing his visitors; those young girls he helped raise to young ladies. 

So the girls sadly began to leave.  Anna exited the door, followed by Catherine.  As Amelia was leaving, she heard a voice behind her. 

“Kleine, Die Kleine….” Was the weak muffled voice.

Amelia turned and saw Poppa, her Dad, looking directly at her.  His hand out stretched for her to take it as a parent to a child.  Amelia came by the bed and took his hand holding it close.  His gaze fixed toward the foot of his bed.

“Kleine…, look, it is so beautiful, so beautiful…” he said in a whisper.

“What Poppa, what?”  she gently answered.

“It is so beautiful, I do believe…..I do believe.” Were his last words to Die Kleine. 

Later, Amelia or Millie as she was known to her family and friends, told her sisters of these things that Poppa had said.  The reaction was the same, a smile, a nod and a soft acknowledgment that “mom was right all along”. 

The young girls, who were then young ladies went on to become moms themselves, and even Grandmoms!  All remembered this time in their lives, the times of happiness, of sadness.  They always kept in touch.  All made sure their own daughters and sons knew of what Mom taught them and of what Dad said.  The daughters and sons told their children as well.

And even though all their lives were fraught with difficulties and setbacks, they worked hard at life all their lives, and lived life well.

This was told to me first from my Grandmother (Nana) then clarified through my mother; and is how I came to know the story of my Grandmother Amelia (Nana) and her sisters.

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