As some of you know, my grandma has been very ill. About an hour ago, she passed away. I could really use your prayers right now. It's been very hard for me to not be able to say goodbye in person. The funeral is tentatively scheduled for Friday and I have no idea how we are going to get there. We can't afford to drive let alone fly. We've been having a lot of trouble paying our bills lately with my recent hospital bills. Anyway, any good thoughts or prayers about figuring out that situation would be appreciated. As a way of processing my grief, I wrote a few words about my grandma in the moments after her death. I'm sharing them with you because I think it will help me to grieve. I'm also posting one of the very last pictures taken of her. It is of my grandma and Amelia at Christmas.
My grandmother and I didn't always see eye to eye on certain things, but one thing I always knew was that she loved me with all her heart and would do anything for me. Growing up, my grandma had endless patience and spent countless hours working on various craft projects that would have been enough to make anyone crazy. When everyone else was busy, she would take the time to help me weave paper baskets and fill them with flowers (one of my favorite craft projects). She could read the same story twenty times in a row and never complain or suggest a new book. She loved to talk with me and spent many and afternoons and evenings with me recounting stories of her youth growing up on a farm. Although I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate what she did for me at the time, even then I knew that she was something special. I think of her every day as I sing the bedtime lullaby to my girls that her mother sang to her when she was a child. It is something that I cherish and I hope Amelia and Linnea will pass that tradition on to their own children someday.
My grandma was an inspiration to me in many ways. She didn't have an easy life, but she never gave up. After my grandfather died and left her as a widow in her fifties, she got a job (several actually) to support herself. She walked to work every day until she was into her seventies. She had more youth and energy than many people half her age. Everyone she worked with loved her. One of her favorite songs was "Don't worry, be happy." Whenever it came on the radio at work, she would sing and dance with the girls she worked with at the Why-not Drive In. They thought it was so cute that they had a custom tote bag made for her with the phrase on it. She was so proud of that bag when she showed it to me and she used it every day.
When I was a little older and in high school, I didn't get to see her much anymore because we lived in different cities. She was still ever present in my life though. For my french class we were supposed to collect newspaper articles and advertisements that referred to France or french things. My grandma scoured the paper every day and sent me letters on a weekly basis in envelopes brimming with clippings. My french teacher must have wondered when I found time to do anything but clip articles. She loved to tell me every little detail about her day in her letters and I used to wonder why she thought I would care about such mundane things. Now I'm glad she did write all those letters. It gives me a much better appreciation for the life that she lived and gives me some great stories to tell.
The last few years have not been easy for my grandma. She moved out of the last home she shared with my grandfather to be close to my parents. She was diagnosed with and treated for lymphoma and then had to move into a nursing home for medical care. Even there she made her mark. She loved to work as a volunteer at the nursing home. She ran craft projects and bingo games (her favorite). She was a favorite with the staff and other residents alike. I'm glad that she is no longer in pain and is in a better place, but she will be greatly missed. I love you grandma.