August 3, 2011

Elevated


I found out this morning that my Grandma passed away during the night. There really aren't adequate words to describe the feelings that come when someone you love dies. But mostly, I'm just so grateful for the Plan of Salvation, and the knowledge that I have that there is more to existence than this life alone. I know that we will see her again. I know that she and Papa will be able to be together again. I know that she must feel so free and relieved to have shaken off her painful, burdensome body. These things bring me a lot of peace.

But of course we'll miss her.

My heart aches for my grandfather who is still here, and who must spend the rest of his time without her. I've always thought that it was a funny thing that we want to spend our lives with our companions, and then someday, they are taken away. It almost seems as if your being set up for failure. Kind of like getting a pet- you get them, knowing that one day, they will die, and it will be heart wrenching and terrible, and your life will never be the same without them.

But it's worth it, isn't it? To have all of those precious years of joy, the memories, the lessons learned. Our relationships really are what comprises a full life. And thanks to our Savior, Jesus Christ, those relationships extend beyond the grave. The time apart will be just a short blip on the eternal spectrum. I am so grateful and at peace having this knowledge. I am still sad, but I can be sad and at peace at the same time.

All of that said, I thought I'd mention a few things that I especially loved and will miss about Grandma.

  • She called me by two nicknames, and this always made me feel so special. I was one of a lot of grandchildren, and I always felt like she loved me just a bit more because she had a special nickname for me. Now, she probably had nicknames for every one of us, but if that were the case, I never knew. My nickname was a secret, and she promised me she would never call me it in front of anyone else, lest I get embarrassed. So I had a second nickname, Snookers, that was a little less embarrassing. But she'd always wink at me when she called me Snookers, like, "What I mean to say is 'Booger-Drawers'!"
Don't ask me where either of those names came from. They've been around since I was too young to remember. I just hope it didn't actually have anything to do with either boogers or drawers.

Also, now that you know my secret nickname, you must promise to never utter it in public, ever.
  • You always knew there would be at least one good thing to eat at the family reunion, because Grandma was sure to show up with a couple of buckets of fried chicken for the pot luck table. You just had to make sure to get in line quick enough to get some before the only thing left was red velvet cake.
  • She was beautiful. Grandma was always dressed to kill, and took a lot of pride in her appearance. Her nails were always manicured, hair was always set, and outfit picked out with coordinating jewelry. I thankfully inherited her beautiful skin, and love of the sun. I think we were both born to sunbathe.
  • She was always the life of the party. I think that this contributed to our regular family get-togethers. Every few months, we'd all get together at Grandma and Papa's to celebrate the recent or upcoming birthdays, and this, among other things, helped us to be a very close-knit family. I have so many fond memories of spending time with my cousins at Grandma's house, and I think we remain closer than the average extended family because of it.
  • One time at the beach, Grandma and Papa took my cousin Kelly and I out to get a "double dip of somethin' " for dessert. Papa was craving some spumoni ice cream, and Grandma kept giving him the hardest time about wanting spumoni, and how gross it was. They went on and on, back an forth for the entire car ride, and Kelly and I say in the back giggling the whole time. I don't know why, but this memory has always stuck out to me as a really fond one.
  • She and Papa love each other, and their marriage is a model to the rest of us. I know that by the time I came around, they had already made it through most of the difficult patches, but I always admired the love and care and attention they gave to each other. There could never be a doubt that they love one another. You could see it in everything they did. I want to be like that when I get to that point in my life.
  • Grandma has always been of a weak constitution, and especially in the last several years, has had to deal with so many health problems, and has been in a lot of pain. She always bore it bravely though, and tried to not let anyone else know the discomfort she was in. It shows to me how strong her character was that she bore those trials with grace and dignity.
  • She knew how to get every piece of corn off of the cob, and not have any visibly left in her teeth when she was finished. That takes skill.
  • "Grandma, would you like some (cake/pie/dessert/etc.)?" "Ohhhh, just give me a sliver."
There are so many more things I could say, I know as soon as I publish this post, I'm going to remember a million other things that I should have written. But I guess I'll just leave it here.

Please include my family in your prayers, especially my Mom. She is so good and brave in situations like this, but no matter how much you did or didn't expect it, losing a parent could never be easy. Thanks for all of your love and thoughts.

We miss you Grandma. Stake me out a good spot on the beach up there, and I'll see if I can sneak in a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic and a few head bands.

5 comments:

Emily@Little Forever Family said...

I am so very sorry for your family's loss Amanda. I have never lost a parent, but I know in losing two children that it feels like a chunk of your heart has been yanked out. And having the knowledge we are so fortunate to have does bring peace, but it does still hurt as it is only human to miss someone. We will definitely pray for your family.

Jen, Jenny, Jennifer said...

What a great tribute to your grandmother! I never met your grandma, but she seems like she was a really neat person. Your family will be in my prayers.

mom said...

What a beautiful post from your heart to all of ours. Grandma loved you and absolutely burst with pride at your lovely spirit. What a gift she has been to all of us. I love you Booger-drawers!
P.S. I didn't have a nickname......

Rebecca said...

This is the most beautiful tribute I have ever read. Grandma sounds like a wonderful woman. Earth's loss will be heaven's gain.

Aunt Nancy said...

Well said Amanda. Those are wonderful memories we will all carry of a wonderful woman.