The highway that stretches on for miles and miles and miles under ‘big sky country’ gives one precious time to think.
My thoughts this journey:
We travel to be at her funeral. I would never miss it. I would never want my children to miss it.
She changed my life. I know hearing of her life, remembering and celebrating Grandma, will change my children’s lives… Forever.
Grandma was the most special lady in the world to me, along with Grandpa the most special man.
They loved each other completely, wholly. I cannot picture one without the other. They were a perfect compliment to one another, heart and soul.
Grandpa was noble looking, a strong farmer and religious man. Always kind and thoughtful of others. He always wore a good hat & he loved a good horse, a good tune & a good story. (He had many to tell.)
Grandma was his perfect match with a feminine frame, so slight, even delicate, and loveliness all about her. She had a spunky, vivacious spirit! Her smile sparkled with inner joy and youthfulness of soul! She deeply loved and was devoted to her family. Her will alone could conquer any Goliath life ever brought her!
Their family was LARGE. When Grandma had just a few little ones herself, Grandpa’s mother, & not long later, his father, died. My Grandma and Grandpa took in & raised 8 more in addition to their own 6 (a few more teenagers than even that came for a while). 14 children.
Makes my 10 sound simple.
Grandpa and Grandma made you feel immensely loved, no matter who you were, in or out of the family. And I am sure I was their favorite! 😉 Each of us in the family, & even out, felt that way too.
It was hard to say goodbye to Grandpa. He’d lived a rich (as to what really counts) and full life, but we all still cried and cried at his funeral, so sorry to say goodbye. The world had lost a marvelous human being.
Grandma had lost part of herself at Grandpas going, but bravely, and even miraculously, went on.
Five more years.
She had endured several strokes the past few years. And she had now outlived any other person who had received the same heart valve she’d received in open heart surgery in her 60s. She was a walking, talking miracle. She just celebrated her 90th birthday! We never thought we’d see the day!! And we were all SO GLAD we did!
And so now it was time. Time for her to go.
But still SO VERY HARD to say goodbye!
I never ever wanted the era of Grandma to end. She should always be here, right in our lives, comforting us with the sheer joy of her presence, right? Then all is right with the world.
And so I thought about it for many of these long, familiar miles on the road to, and then back, from Grandma’s funeral.
The hardest parts:
– coming to her home to find truly she was not there. It seemed an empty, hollow place compared to the warm, glowing wonder of home & happiness it had ALWAYS, since my very first memories, been.
-knowing her beautiful little body, all wrinkled & delicate, & beautiful still, would be put in the ground. It seemed so wrong for Grandma to be still, she was hardly ever still. And the desire to protect her was there. How hard to have her body put in the ground.
– watching-and praying for my Mom through it all. Mom talked to Grandma every day. Grandma has always been part of her for her whole life, connected as mother/daughter, women/friends. And she is gone. And it reminds us all we are mortal. My Mom, with her siblings, had and have much to do. Preparing for a baby is such a joy, wonder, excitement. Cleaning up after the death of one you love so much is, well…quite the opposite.
– seeing and being with beloved FAMILY!! We met up with my sisters and brothers and Dad (mom was already there) at 6:30 am and we all started driving North to Canada. Just being on the road together, that old, so very familiar trip, brought joy and comfort. Then seeing and interacting again with all those beloved people that we know so well, so long: aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends. Their smiles, their laughter, their familiar Canadian accents! Lol! It makes me laugh out loud for joy even now.
– being able to say goodbye. I touched her soft, wrinkled hand so loved, so known to me, and kissed her forehead, her hair was just as always. She always made sure her hair looked nice. There was the sweetest, most peaceful expression on her face. We knew it was because Grandpa had come for her.
So there was sweetness, and peace too, the kind that surpasses understanding.
And it is time to say goodbye.
But in these miles & miles of driving, and flying, and thinking of Grandma, I have resolved to keep her.
We will keep Grandma.
I will put all the best of what she gave me into our lives and keep her in this way, forever.
Keep Smiling like Grandma! She had the most infectious of smiles!
Keep Laughing like Grandma! She always saw the silver lining, found the humor in the hard stuff and herself!
Keep Working Hard! Grandma raised those 14 children, made bread each day for them, made 3 meals a day for them plus farm help, kept their home and helped with farm work and tagging Christmas trees! Have any of you even seen the old washing machines?! Unimaginably labor intensive! Grandma improved her life and her family’s life through hard work.
Keep Reading like Grandma! No matter how hard she worked in a day, how late it was, Grandma read before bed. She kept her mind sharp and improved her life through reading.
Keep ‘Clean’ like Grandma! She couldn’t go to bed with a dish in the sink. Her laundry caught up! Her house so delightful from Clean! (I will try my darnedest Grandma!!)
Keep Serving! Grandma served constantly, outside her home but most importantly, inside her home. It was truly inspiring to watch her serve Grandpa in his last years.
Keep Loving!! Grandpa and Grandma LOVED!- One another and their neighbors! Their love was tangible, a moving force for good!
Keep Praying. Grandma knew and used the power of prayer in her life, daily for little things and when miracles were needed. I saw her prayers make a difference many times.
Keep the Faith. Grandma loved The Lord. She was true to her faith and her heart all her life. It blessed all of us, more than you reading this could ever, ever know.
So in this time of tender goodbye, we will keep you Grandma- forever- in our hearts and in our lives, most of all in the legacy we pass on to our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. We will keep all the best you gave us Dear Grandma- forever.
Love, CaMarie and Crew