Saturday, January 21, 2012

How Do You Say Goodbye?

On December 28, I visited with my Grandma and Grandpa. Amazing people and I was so glad to see them. I told my grandma about what I terrible mom I was in accidentally misinforming my youngest about his doctor's appointment and we laughed together. I told her I loved her and how glad I was to see her and how our Christmas card should be coming soon because I was super late sending it to them. I hugged her and told her I would see her later. She was tired but good. One week later, she sent my boys a sweet hand written note thanking them for the Christmas cards they had made them.

Today, we buried my Grandma. I would give anything for one more conversation, one more hug, a few more pictures. One week ago, her health declined and suddenly she was gone. It's been one of the worst weeks. The grief is intense. The reality is that I was never going to be ready to say goodbye. Her impact on my life is profound.

My beautiful grandma was the mom of 5, grandma of 21, and great-grandma of 36. She knew each of us well - she spent time with each of us, she wrote us letters, and she prayed for us. She loved her family, she was proud of us.

I have so many wonderful memories - homemade playdough, delicious food, lots of games (she was an awesome card player!), summer blueberry picking, fun picnics, and thoughtful letters and gifts. She exuded warmth, was always interested in what you had to say, and was always honest. Grandma was a woman of many talents but she was also incredibly humble.

Grandma and Grandpa were married for 69 years. A true example of love and commitment. They taught us by example. They loved each other well. They took care of each other. They continued to learn and grow in their marriage and shared that with the family.

One of the most beautiful things to me was her (and Grandpa's!) unconditional love and acceptance of our children. They were excited about our adoption plans and welcomed our children into the family. My grandma read them stories, played games with them, and made them feel every bit as special as she made me feel. We had a few extra opportunities to stop and visit with our treks to Chicago for Calvin's cleft team appointments and surgeries - super thankful for that. She was always interested in how Calvin was doing. Our boys loved her.

I hear her voice and laugh, feel her touch, sense her presence. I look in the mirror and see the green eyes that we shared. She probably would have hated all the fuss today but she would have loved everyone being together. As I witnessed my grandpa telling her goodbye, saw her gorgeous face one last time, heard her words through her journal, and watched her 9 grandsons care for her one last time as pall bearers, I wept. The tears have come all week. The finality. My heart feels broken. I loved her SO much. I miss her SO much. Life will go on but it won't be quite the same.

She was one in a million. I'm thankful to be her granddaughter. I'm thankful for the amazing legacy and heritage.

I love you, Grandma. Thank you. You lived a gracious, faithful life. You inspired and challenged me. You ran the race, you finished well. See you later.


Courtney said...

So sorry to hear about your grandma. They are special people. Sending prayers your way.

Jen said...

Thoughts and prayers with you. What a beautiful post. She sounds like a wonderful woman, who touched many.

Jodee said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What an amazing gal. Sending hugs and prayers your way.

Heather L. said...

You are so blessed to have such amazing grandparents. We can see the impact they have had on all your lives, and her life touches ours as well as we have seen and observed her testimony and legacy. She is an example for any woman to follow and I'm sorry that you had to say goodbye.

Henry's mom said...

I am in tears reading your post. I can only imagine how hard it is to lose your beautiful Grandma. I am so so sorry for your lose. I adore the picture of your grandparents and your boys. I am so glad you have that last perfect picture, to hold onto FOREVER!

Sending HUGE hugs,
Carolyn and Henry too