A Letter to Greta Sue

Dear Greta Sue,

You are heavy on my mind this morning, since today is your birthday. I wish I could talk to you to make sure you know how much I loved and admired you.

I am remembering the first time I met you. 

You were living with your family on the Wetzel farm in Michigan.  Because your Uncle Johnny had been killed in the Viet Nam war, your daddy Buckshot took over the farm in his place, to help Gramma and Grampa Wetzel. It was hard for your southern mama Sue; she made the best of it, and that is where your sister, your brother Duken and you started life and your mama gave you her name. 

I was in college when your Uncle Jake asked me to go with him to the family farm one fall weekend.  We went in a big camp truck so he could bring crates of Michigan apples back to sell.

I was enamored that weekend, not only with your Uncle Jake, but with the whole deal: the white farmhouse, the big red barn, the open rolling land, the orchards and groves, the ponds and forests, the piglets who escaped down the road, and Jake’s family.

Especially you, Greta Sue.  I was enamored with you.

With your curly braids and little overalls, you were the cutest little farmgirl, just learning to talk.  

I remember you were playing on the front porch when you accidentally fell off the side into a flower trellis. I was expecting to hear you cry in pain and fear, when I heard your little voice say, “Hey! Somebody get me outta here!”

I loved your spirit. God made you spunky, Greta Sue. He knew you would need courage and determination.

When you were a young adult, I remember you saying sadly, “I don’t know why God made me brain-damaged.”  

You never drove a car, but your golfcart was awesome. (Remember when your little cousin crashed it?)  You couldn’t read a book, but you could read people.  You were a consistent encourager and a great tease.  You really knew how to make people laugh!   

And you had a huge heart.  You loved people and Jesus, and we saw you trust in God through these challenging years of dialysis treatments, many surgeries, and the deep emotional pain of losing your daddy and your brother in nine months.

Now your family has lost you. I can hear your voice in my head, respond, “Now Aunt Sarah, I didn’t mean to die. I didn’t mean to hurt nobody.”  We know, we know, it’s not your fault, Greta Sue. Please don’t worry. But I can’t help but wonder . . . I wonder if your spirit may have called to the angels, “Hey, Somebody get me outta here!”

Cuz you are outta here, girl. You are done with all that suffering. You are with Jesus and we are happy about that. 

There is no one like you, Greta Sue. Those of us who loved you, we thought you were great. We thank God for you, and I, for one, hope God will give me a bit of your joyful spunk.

Love, Aunt Sarah

Greta Sue Wetzel, August 7, 1971 – July 21, 2022

It was so special to celebrate her 50th, her last earthly birthday, last year in Montreat.

11 thoughts on “A Letter to Greta Sue

  1. Thank you for sharing this Sarah. I think Greta Sue reminds me as a little girl of Johanah. So thankful she is in no more pain and that all of you could celebrate her 50th with her! I was wondering today how you enjoyed celebrating your 70th! You will have to let me know. I thank God for that first visit on the farm, meeting Jake’s family and Greta Sue! Love you!


  2. Oh Sarah, I loved hearing these stories…. Very moving. What a fitting and sweet tribute for a precious person.


  3. Precious memories! We have 3 special needs grandchildren and so many sweet memories of them.
    God is soooo good. Love you Sarah.


  4. What a special tribute to your wonderful niece, Sarah! Reading it made me feel close to the Wetzel family again and I loved seeing the picture of the family farm. I remember my first visit there as well, when I was so in love with Johnny and so nervous about meeting more of his family than Mary and Jack, both of whom I knew from school. I remember being there for a meal on a Sunday evening and we each had half a cantelope with vanilla ice cream in the middle. It was delicious! Thanks for sharing the gift God has given you for writing. I always look forward to reading your posts. ❤️
    Sharon Archer


  5. Well I’m crying.. what a gorgeous, meaningful tribute to Greta!
    I feel like I know her… and your description of meeting her was so precious!
    God used you to brighten her life!
    You see God’s beauty in people who have deep needs as Greta.
    Thank you for touching my heart through your family’s story of loss.


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