ON the DEATH of my MOTHER
ELDA PETERSON NIELSON
by J. GRANT NIELSON
22 March, 1978
|Elda Peterson Nielson Mapleton Queen|
Tunisia, North Africa is a very arid part of the land, it is rather flat with a few small mountains. It has quite a hot temperature which would get up over 100 in the day. But because it was mostly desert the nights were cool. I remember then that I sat down and wrote a letter to my family. Of course I told them that I was all right. The interesting thing about these letters was that about all we could say was that we were somewhere in North Africa and that we were well. We couldn't give the accounts of the day or any kind of news or information. Not long ago I found a trunk that had my letters and read some of them. I was surprised how uninformative and dull they were. I remember also that every letter that was sent out from the front lines was read by an officer and censored. It was my job to censor letters. Since I had to censor my own letters, and because of the honor code it was impossible for me to justify that I should write anything other than what I was instructed to write.
|LeRoy Elda Ane Mary & James Peterson|
Going back farther, to give the background on her father, after two children were born into the family, he was poisoned while he was out sheering sheep somewhere in south eastern Utah. He was poisoned by the water, they said, and eventually it resulted in severe stomach problems, and also tuberculosis of the bone in his leg. He had the leg amputated three times and he suffered considerable pain. Doctor Taylor from Provo operated the last time, and cut the bone off square and didn't round it at all. As a result he couldn't wear his artificial limb because the bone would poke right through the skin. My mother saw all this suffering and in addition he got some kind of infection and he had to be castrated at an early age after my uncle Roy was born, and so he lost his virility. Mother recounts, that one day their ward fasted and prayed, and he was administered to, for some kind of disorder. He was healed immediately, and because of this he had a strong testimony of healing. She saw him suffer a great deal, and he died at the age of 52, living approximately 25 years having these incapacity's. Mother said to me on many occasions, that when she died, she wanted to go quickly, she didn't want to go through the suffering that her father did.
In summary, I felt that her passing, in as much as she had to die, that it was a blessing that she could die under these conditions rather than survive and go through the kind of problems she would have faced. I presume that it was some sort of leukemia that she had, at least Dr. Orton said it was in her blood stream.
As a result of this untimely death my father suffered considerably, and he didn't seem to recover from it for a long time. My brother, Oran who was only 15 years old at the time, probably was affected more adversely than any other member of the family. He was especially close to his mother, and he seemed completely lost. He started smoking at this time and wouldn't eat properly at all, about the only thing he did eat was soda pop. Because of father's sorrows they lost all communication. When Oran became 18 he entered the service. This was after I had come home in 1944. I believe it was in 1945 when he entered the Navy. Even to this day, now that Oran is about 52 years old, he hasn't fully recovered from the shock of her passing. He never seemed to grow up and face the reality of the world, or fully resume responsibility. He still acts more like a teenager than a man of 52. I'm sure this wasn't entirely the cause, but I think her death effected him very much. So, the death of my mother did cause some harsh repercussions. My brother, Earl was in the South Pacific at the time of her death. So, he and I were both away when it happened. He didn't seem to be effected anymore than I was. I remember when I left Italy after having been in the hospital, I received a picture from my father. At that time he was 55 years old and he looked like a man of 65. And I just couldn't face up to coming home. And so, he got on a bus and came to visit me at the hospital Rome, Georgia. After
I saw him I felt much better. This was in 1944 that I was in Rome, Georgia, and I had been wounded 29 January, of that same year. It was in the later part of April or the first of March that I arrived at the hospital in Rome. And it was between that time and July that my father came to see me. And then on 1 July I was transferred to Bushnell General Hospital in Brigham City, Utah. There I was closer to home. Once I got home it was fine and I was able to adapt to the situation and accept it as it was.
|Elda LeRoy Peterson|
I might add that my mother was christened, Elda Peterson. Her father was James C. Peterson and her mother was Mary Helvorson. Through the years I have thought a lot about my mother. I wondered about her condition and I have even had dreams about her that kept coming back again and again. I would dream that she was alone and my father couldn't find her. When I was in my late 50's the dreams stopped. I think the reason the dreams stopped was because my father quit smoking and started to take an interest in the church. By the time he died at 87 years I had ordained him a High Priest and he had done a lot of temple work. He had
really changed his way of life considerably, because before he had been a non-conforming Mormon. I believe because of the change in his life, that he made himself worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom and there met mother. So, the dreams stopped. One day I told my father about this, not in detail but just a short explanation. I told him that I knew things would be alright.
|Elda & Le Roy Peterson Hilda Martina Jensen|
My mother was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville with my father at her side. They have a single headstone with both their names on it. They were originally married in the Salt Lake Temple 12 January, 1916.