I know I've been avoiding it - but my sister-in-law and step-daughter both called to ask how my Grandma is doing. So it's time.
My Grandmother passed away on Saturday, March 22nd. I will always remember that it was a Saturday, and that it was the Saturday before Easter. She was 93 and had lived a long, full life. Numbers are always mentioned so I'll say that she was the mother of three daughters and one son, the grandmother of six grandsons and five granddaughters, great-grandmother of 11 great-granddaughters and ten great-grandsons, and great-great-grandmother to two little girls. She was wife for over 55 years until the loss of her husband, my grandfather, almost 20 years ago. I cannot begin to list all of her accomplishments but it would be something very similar to the Proverbs 31 woman that we read this morning.
I was not able to be there when she died, but that timing was all in the LORD's hands. I am thankful that after everyone left a special cousin and I were able to stay with her after her death and not only say a final goodbye and "I love you" to Grandma and share precious memories, but to wait with her until the funeral home came. It was one of the hardest and yet most special times I can imagine. When we actually left the room and walked down the hallway arm in arm, you can only imagine how the tears flowed -- as they are now just remembering. The reality, the finality, everything just hit us.
Several days later I sat for the duration of her viewing the day before the funeral and heard wonderful stories of Grandpa and Grandma, tales of fun and good times, what good neighbors they were through thick and thin, and how much they are both missed. It was an honor to be there with long-time friends, childhood companions, and cherished neighbors of my Grandparents. Her funeral the next day was very well attended and the small funeral chapel was packed with people who came to honor and say good-bye to my Grandmother. It was a lovely service full of remembrances that ended simply at her graveside. After a few brief words were spoken, the children and I sang "In the Rifted Rock." (as I just attached that link, in stunned silence I noticed that I wrote it exactly one year before my Grandma died.)
What will I remember? Her smile. How she cooked for a crowd and preserved the bounty of her garden and smiled. How she never sat still but was always busy with her hands quilting, crocheting, painting, writing and sewing. How she never complained or whined. How steady she was - it took a lot to ruffle her feathers, which my Grandfather was quite adept at doing. At her funeral, a cousin stood and said he remembers just two words that he will always remember my Grandmother saying, "Oh, Charles." And how right he was. We all laughed when he said that because she said it all the time. My Grandfather was quite the character and Grandma's "Oh, Charles" was spoken in a hundred different ways, all of which bring another special memory. I'll remember most how lucky I was/am to have this family in that time and place and everything we shared as children on Grandpa and Grandma's farm.
It was a blessed time that I'll cherish forever.
Goodbye, Grandma. Tell Grandpa that we miss him still and we'll all be together again soon.