This past weekend one of my grandmothers went home to be with Jesus. I thought I’d share my perspective on having her as my grandmother. I’ve shared with a few friends about her passing and each time I could not help but say these words. “My grandmother passed away today, she loved the Lord with all her heart, mind and strength and she loved her neighbor as herself.” Her life exemplified what Christians are told is the first and second greatest commandments. She was a true delight to everyone who knew her. And if you met her you wanted to get to know her better.
Here is a small glimpse of what I know about her. She was one of the most positive people I’ve known. Her smile lit up her whole face and the room she was in. She laughed easily and would give her honest opinion when asked. Her home was never locked up. Anyone who knew my grandparents knew you could get in their house anytime you wanted. Just move the latch on the OUTSIDE of the screen door and turn the handle and you were in! It was not uncommon to come home from church or other outing with my grandparents and find someone sitting on their couch. Grandma would turn on a pot of coffee and start dinner and these guests would stay and visit a while with us. They would be friends, neighbors, or maybe distant family, all loved ones that would eat at the round table taking up the majority of Grandma’s kitchen and then possibly play a game of dominoes after dinner.
When it came time to sleep we’d make “baptist pallets” out of blankets on the floor next to our cousins and chit chat until we fell asleep, then always we woke up to grandma making coffee and breakfast for us the next morning. I rode my bicycle for hundreds of miles around the block near her house. I just had to stop and check in every couple of laps around. Grandma loved to hear all about whatever was going on in our lives. She would engage, ask questions, listen attentively and then next time she saw me she would ask me all about it how it was going.
She was born during the roaring twenties and grew up during the great depression. She picked cotton by hand… um can you say, BACK BREAKING WORK!. She was born at home, breach!. She had two beautiful girls and the oldest was 7 before she got running water and electricity inside her house. (And I moan about not having a dishwasher!) She had two more girls after getting electricity. She knew all too well the searing pain of loosing an unborn child. She and my grandpa raised 4 girls in a house that would probably fit in my living/dining room. She never owned a brand new car, yet she passed from this life one of the richest women you’ve ever met.
She loved her neighbor as herself. Here’s how I know. She would plan a garage sale and would mend a torn pair of pants or shirt, just to sell it for a quarter! If someone was ever in need around her she would do what she could to meet it.
I was so delighted to tell her about me becoming a mommy. I vividly recall telling her about being pregnant with Jameson. Her memory might have begun to fail, but her inner beauty radiated clearly. She was ecstatic for us and she asked questions and made the best conversation. Most expecting moms wants someone to share in the joy and engage in conversation in this way. At least eight times that day she would realize that I was pregnant and I had the joy of telling her I was expecting and she would light up with beaming joy again. Clearly her memory was fading but who she was shined right through. I counted it as an honor to get to tell my grandma and see her excitement so many times! It served to burn into my brain how delighted for me she was!
When the time came for her to require nursing home care she took this in stride. She told me “sometimes you do things you don’t want to, but if you put a smile on your face it makes it easier on everyone.” And you know when I was able to visit her there, she was always joyous, had her head held as high as she could get it and appeared to make the most of her situation. The staff often remarked to me that she was a delight to have around and they wished others could have the attitude she had. Her joy was not found in her situation or her circumstance. Her joy was found in Christ.
She loved her husband. I always saw her model love and respect toward my grandpa. She knew how to take care of her home and I always saw her run it with grace and love and yet not ever run over her husband in the process. She loved him dearly and missed him fiercely when he was gone. After he passed when she spoke of him she would do it with a tear and a smile. I’d like to think that’s how I will always speak of this dear woman who was more beautiful than the flower she was named for, both inside and out. She gave generously, loved wholeheartedly, and lived fully.
I will miss her, even so I grieve with Hope and full confidence that I will see her beautiful smile once again and we will worship our risen King together.