Monday, June 17, 2013

I Will Miss You, Grandma

The last three months of our life have been....intense.  A birth, baptism, loss of a job, trying times at work coupled with a job change, a wedding, and now, the death of my grandmother.  We flew half way across the country with FOUR kids under age SIX (crazy, at best) for a wedding, and then traveled 300+ miles for a funeral, and have spent a lot of time without daddy as he was working two jobs.  Intense.  There is much I could say, my heart has been heavy; for now I want to share with you all what I wrote and read at my grandmother's funeral.  She was a beautiful lady with a beautiful soul.  Loss is hard, death is hard.  I will miss you, Grandma Minnie.

When I thought about what I would like to say and share about Grandma Minnie, I didn’t know where to begin or what to say.  Every memory I have of Grandma is happy.  Then I talked with my sis and we had so many of the same memories, and  they are all happy.  We remember all sorts of things we did at her house, and we remember loving to be there.  We remember lying in her backyard watching the fireworks, playing Oregon Trail traveling up and down the yard, inventing all sorts of perils that inflicted us poor weary travelers, time grouped around her counter on bar stools writing stories about a make believe family, and the smell of her sheets in the guest room.  We remember spending New Years Eve at her house, fixing her hair, and ringing in the New Year by banging on pots and flushing toilets.  Now I realize that mom and dad were probably happy to send the kids away while they rang in the New Year with grown up friends, but back then, I thought going to Grandma’s was all about us.  And we loved it, it was the coolest thing ever.  My mind is filled with fond memories.  I loved going to her house.  I don’t remember a harsh or impatient word coming from her; Grandma’s house was a place of happiness, and it was a place of happiness because she was there.  Her quiet, peaceful presence was always there tidying up after us messy grandchildren, making delicious homemade applesauce, and working in the yard, all while smiling to herself at all of our childish antics.  Grandma was constant, more of a mother than a grandmother, and Grandma was love.  Even during my teenage years when I didn’t enjoy the presence of any adult, I still loved going to Grandma’s house.  Her peaceful demeanor and listening ear were as constant and true as ever.  I remember her smiling down from the stands during all of our sporting events and faithfully perming my hair every year before school started.   During my first few years of college, I loved when Grandma came up to Salem for a visit, as she was a part of home, sent to bring peace.  I remember talking to Grandma, calling her from college when I needed someone to talk to.  

Now, as an adult, I am amazed at the woman Grandma Minnie was.  She owned her own business, working 5 days a week, cutting hair here in Lakeview.  She had many regular customers who I now know must have loved coming to her.  They probably chatted away, while she quietly and patiently listened.  She spent years working at church in the AWANA program, listening to children recite memory verses, she worked in the church nursery, her house was always spotless, and she was a wonderful cook.  Jamie mentioned how Grandma taught our mom how to make the delicious homemade tortillas, applesauce, and macaroni and cheese that were staples at our house.  Every Monday during the summer, we looked forward to spending time at Grandma’s house with our cousins, while she filled the role of babysitter.  She didn’t miss a sporting event.  I can remember always seeing her Bible and Daily Bread lying on her nightstand, where I know she spent hours reading her Bible and praying for her family.

It’s strange just how etched her house is in my mind.  I remember her bookshelf and what books were on there.  I remember her dresser and how much I loved looking through her jewelry, and her wonderful walk-in closet filled all sorts of interesting things.  I still remember how it smelled in there.  Grandma’s house was not only a place of happiness, it was a place of comfort, rest and joy. 
Even during these last few years when her mind was suffering from Alzheimer’s, her presence was still a comfort.  Because wherever Grandma was, there was love.  Throughout these last difficult years, as I’ve watched my parents and aunts and uncles care for her, it has been extremely hard.  But it seemed like even though she was suffering, there would be stories my parents would tell here and there about how Grandma would give them just what they needed at the most trying of times.  She would recognize them and give a smile, or even just utter the words “I love you” just when they needed to hear it.  Even when she was unable to fully converse with others, her presence was enough, always emanating peace, joy and love.  That is what makes her passing so difficult.  Grandma Minnie, even in her last years, was comfort and love.  

Even though it is difficult, and we will miss her greatly, it gives me great joy to think of her sweet, quiet presence in Heaven, still showing love to those around her.  She is whole once again, freed from her suffering and with Christ, smiling down on us, and praying for us.  I look forward to meeting her again one day, but for today, I am thankful for all of you here who are joining with our family to remember and celebrate our sweet Grandma Minnie.

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