I am sick at home for the second day this week, and although it is no fun to be coughing up a lung, it has been a good time of reflection and walking down memory lane. You see, on Tuesday this week, I learned that my grandmother (my dad’s mom) had passed away. I was at school, and thankfully able to slip out of class to call my parents. Since then I have been slowly processing the memories I have of her and what I always want to remember.
Her death was of no surprise to me. She was in her late 80’s and her health had been declining for years. I had said my goodbyes several times and knew that it was just a matter of time.
As I think upon my interactions with my grandmother, I cannot help but smile at her spirit. You see, she was the type of person who wanted things done a certain way and would not settle for anything less. Now her demands were not unreasonable, just more unusual. “I want a cheese sandwich and pickles for lunch!” or “Play the piano for me”. Most knew better than to argue, and it really was a privilege to bring her joy through the simple things.
Physical affection was important to my grandma. I come from a home that is loving, but not in the overly physical way. Whenever we went to visit my grandparents, my parents would give us a gentle reminder to let grandma hug us. Apparently as a small child, this was very difficult for me- being smothered by my grandma. As an adult, I can now understand her more and see that was her way of showing love.
My grandma loved nature! Going on a walk meant a leisurely stroll where we would examine every leaf and beautiful flower. As a young child this was torment for me- who walks fast even to this day- but as I look back I know that she was worshipping our creator and taking a part of his beauty. She would send me leaves she had pressed in the mail and no visit to grandma’s house was complete without watching the birds in her big backyard.
Just as she loved nature, she loved food. Meal times at grandma and grandpas were no small affair. The table was set with cloth napkins, silverware in it’s proper place, and every aspect of the meal was accounted for (my mom’s homemade jam included). But it was the preparation or the decoration that I remember most, it was the vocal delight on my grandma’s face as she savored each bite. Meals were not complete without exclamations of “mmm…. this is good!”
I cannot think of my grandma without thinking of my grandpa as well. They had been married more than 70 years, and are a wonderful example of how to love. I think God created grandpa with grandma in mind- for they complemented each other in all areas of life. I could see that through the years they had learned to understand each other and love each other for who they were.
There are many stories my grandma told me. Some I remember, some I don’t. One in particular stands out to me for no other reason than I think I heard it 30 times. Whenever my grandma visited, she would notice that my toe nails were painted. That usually triggered the memory of when she was a young mother she painted her toenails bright red. She also owned a turtle during this phase of life and the turtle would come and nibble on her bight-red toenails hoping they would be strawberries. Sadly not, poor turtle.
There is a legacy of faith in my family, that is as strong as ever when it comes to my grandma. She loved her savior. She loved to hear music that worshipped her savior. Church was a place where she would learn more about her savior. She had even dedicated many years of her life to the mission field in service to her savior. This week upon learning about her death, I couldn’t help but imagine her healed body running full speed into the arms of the savior- ready to worship, adore and love on her savior.
Next week I get to go back to the States and celebrate her life with family and friends. It will be difficult to see the loss, but at the same time a great way to honor her life.