Thursday, February 28, 2013


Almost two weeks ago, my Grandma went Home.  She lived a glorious 94 years and I was privileged to have her in my life for almost 38.  Getting used to life knowing her earthy presence is no longer here has been rough...but, oh, the joy she brought and her memories will continue to bring!

I could write pages and pages and pages.  My thoughts run fast, memories poke their sweet heads into my consciousness as I move through everyday tasks, the tears come.  Grief turns into a fragile smile and maybe  even a full grin as I hear her voice, her laugh, her advice- still so vivid in my mind- and I move on through my day.

This is the Grandma who stayed with our family for a week about five years ago and helped me chop vegetables for salsa and tomato sauce.  This is the Grandma whose recipes (potato salad, funny cake, pickled Easter eggs, cobbler, etc.) appear in my cookbook.  This is the Grandma who encouraged me to start a canning journal years ago (and gave me hers). This is the Grandma who celebrated 71 of marriage to the handsome young man above just last month.

My cousin and I shared some memories of her on behalf of the grandchildren at her memorial service this past weekend. I share these here, now, to preserve them and celebrate her.

To us, she was Grandma.

With 12 grandchildren you can imagine the memories are plentiful- some uniquely personal, many shared. All come together like a patchwork quilt, creating a beautiful, warm and loving memory just like the beautiful, warm and loving Grandma she was.

When we think of Grandma, we think about...

Sledding in the backyard in winter and yellow daffodils blooming at the edge of their woods in the spring.

The path leading from their house to ours- some of us memorized every tree root, others sped up and down it on bikes.

Eating at their booth table- the coolest table ever.

White Lake, Sarasota, the hunting cabin.

Grandma reading The Fly Went By and other books, using professional caliber voices that made the stories Grandma's and not the authors'.

Her infinite interest in our lives which always made us feel important and special.

Grandma cutting the boys (and mens') hair on the back porch.

Picking raspberries and blueberries with her wearing her bucket around her neck for easier picking, cracking black walnuts on the back porch and putting up corn.

Her singing “Here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we go, here we GO GO GO!” in the car. (the family in the audience helped us sing two rounds of this)

Her ability to send birthday cards that always arrived on your actual birthday.

Her sense of humor, warm smile and her beautiful little chuckle that, if you were lucky, turned into a belly laugh.

The way she selected her “pretty things”, including prints she framed, to pass on to her grandchildren. She would have us in mind when she would choose something, or let us choose something out of her cabinets that reminded us of her. We know it gave her pleasure to know who received which piece, and we will cherish these items and the stories behind them.

Playing and exploring in their basement- full of costumes, old furniture, keepsakes, canning jars, and treasures.

Christmas Eve supper at her and Grandpa's house- her table set complete with pressed table cloth and the prettiest plates, glasses and dishes any of us had ever seen. Singing grace together, eating our special meal and then all piling into cars and vans to head to Christmas Eve service right here.

Christmas cookie trays, key lime pie, dyed and pickled eggs at Easter. And we'll never forget her (and her sons') love for having “souse” at Christmastime and spicy foods any time. Snacks, like sugar-toast and oatmeal cookies with icing. If we said, “No, I'm alright,” when she offered us a snack, she would say, “Well, I know you're alright, but would you like some?”

Sitting in the pew in front of her and Grandpa at church and hearing their wonderful singing voices.

Recent memories include,

Putting her hair in rollers when she moved to the home,

Eating at the cafe there with her and having SO many of her friends stop by during dinner to say hello.

Watching her teach her great grandson Rummikub this Christmas.

Her BEAUTIFUL white hair, delicate fingers, and beaded necklaces.

We will remember the joy she expressed about the cousins and family getting together. The importance of family is a value she has instilled in us as well.

We are all so blessed to have grown up with our Grandma- from babies to children to teenagers to young adults, to not-so-young-anymore adults- she was always there. Because she was in our lives for so long, she will be missed so very much. We all look forward to being reunited with her one day, always our Grandma.

At a granddaughter's recent wedding

Like I said on my facebook page, if you offer up a prayer for our family, please praise God more than anything else- for her life and the blessing she was to so many people and will continue to be.

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  1. What a beautifully written tribute to your Grandma! I'm so sorry for your loss, and I know what it feels like to lose a special grandmother.

    You have the same face shape as hers. Her younger picture is nearly right beside your profile picture, and I could compare your faces. It's not hard to tell that you are her granddaughter, in so many ways. :-)

  2. Thank you for sharing this! What a beautiful life. My grama popped into my head as soon as I started reading. I miss her for all of the same reasons mentioned above. My grampa is still (slow) going at 96! I also have a grama still actively going at 90!! Amazing lives, all of them. Thank you for honoring your Grama! Blessings to you and praise to the Lord for providing a woman with character, faithfulness, and love for her family all those years!:)

  3. I am so sorry for your loss but am so thankful for the blessing of your grandmothers love and presence all these years.I will say a prayer of thanks for her life and a prayer that your family heals from her loss. God Bless!

  4. What a lovely, loving tribute to your grandma. In the older picture (taken in the 30s, I'm sure), it's startling how much she resembles my mother in a picture taken in almost the identical pose! They would have been the same age. May she rest in peace while keeping watch over her family.

  5. That was beautiful and brought tears down my face. My grandma used to read me a fly went by too. Thank you for sharing.

  6. We used an old cassette tape recorder to record a party for my grandmother back in 1984 She was celebrating her 85th birthday, and her four sisters and family was there. Just this Christmas past, my mom gave me her cookbook, and a copy of the tape which she had transferred to a CD. It's such a wonderful thing to hear her voice and the sisters too, as they celebrate her birthday with wonderful recollections and stories of their youth. Praise God for giving us our beautiful Grandmothers to love! Thoughts & Prayers are headed your way.

  7. This is beautiful! I lost my grandmother (for now :) about the same time, and am trying to get to blogging about it. I can share so many similar memories with you! Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. What a beautiful tribute Jane!! So sorry for your earthly loss...but, praising the LORD with you that she is HOME!! How precious the thought! Isn't it amazing to think that you will one day meet again? Praying for you and your extended family today. And, did I read correctly that her husband is still living? I will be praying for him especially...he must feel it keenly. HUGS!

    With Love,

  9. Such a lovely post. It brought many memories of both my grandmothers.
    Blessings & farmhouse hugs,

  10. Beautiful sentiments - thanks for sharing. Thinking about you.

  11. Oh, condolences, Jane. By her pictures, I can see your grandma was lovely, and this is such a nice tribute to honor her. Praising God with you that she is Home - what a peaceful comfort.

  12. I see you in her photo! Beautiful tribute...blessings of peace to you!

  13. Your Grandma was BEAUTIFUL at every age! Whenever I see an "older" person, I always wonder about them...their they lived, what they accomplished, "who" they were then and who they are now...every human being has a story to tell, and most of them are things of great beauty. Certainly true of your Grandma. And I think, "there, someday, go I..." I, too, long for and look forward to a reunion in heaven with my Grandma. I know she's there, I know she's waiting for me.

  14. My beloved great grandmother passed away in 2011. While it is a joy that she is finally sitting at His throne, where she always wanted to be, I still feel a terrible sadness when I think of her. My husband and I are expecting our first child in September and if it is a girl, we will be using my great grandmother's name, Florence, as our little one's middle name in remembrance of her. I will pray for your family during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post.

  15. So sorry about your Grandma -Such a nice post about what she meant to you. You couldn't have asked for a better Grandma I love the picture at the wedding -kindness in her eyes.

  16. I want to be a "grammom" just like her! What wonderful memories you have - they are a blessing from God. - Esther in NJ

  17. As a parent, I now enjoy watching my children play with their grandparents. I am always so amazed at how much they remember about their grandsparents houses, yards, etc. I think it says alot about a grandparent who can put memories like that into children. Sounds like your grandma did it very well. Hope the memories continue to flood you in the coming weeks.

  18. How lovely to shed tears while reading a tribute to a lady I did not have the pleasure of knowing on earth. How lovely to know that type of precious memory so that it evokes such emotion when hearing it from someone else's heart. How inspiring to want to be the type of grandmother that stirs a granddaughter's heart so.

  19. What a wonderful tribute. My grandma is 94 this year and hopefully I get to keep her a while longer.

  20. What a beautiful tribute to an even more beautiful woman. As I read your story it paralleled my own grandma in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. You share a great deal of her beauty, inside and out!

  21. I really loved this tribute to your grandma. It made me think of my grandma who passed away a few years ago. I miss not being able to call her or hug her or just sit at her feet. Thank you for sharing your memories and allowing me to reflect on mine.

  22. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. My dear grandma has been gone for 28 years and my love is still as rich for her as it ever was. I know she is in heaven having a lovely visit with her friends and family that went on before. What a wonderful day it will be when we are all together again.
    a little bird

  23. She will be missed! Grandparents are so special!

  24. I can tell you all realize how special she was and how lucky you are all were to have her and those great memories. There are lots of us that don't come from "normal families" or anything close and ache for what you had growing up. Thanks for sharing =)

  25. What a sweet memorial to your beloved grandma. Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad you have such wonderful memories of her and will carry on her legacy.


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