Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma

My Grandma turned 93 this past Sunday.  Saturday I went to visit and brought flowers, the boys, my niece, and my mom.  It was good to see her and it was painful as well.

I grew up next door in the same yard out at the ranch.  There were countless days I spent more time at her house than mine. I absolutely adored having a grandma so close.  A grandma that would ride horses with me, show me old pictures, tell stories, lay on the grass to point out cloud shapes, let me mow the lawn, dust the house and do dishes (when you are little chores are fun) and help me perfect skipping rocks across the reservoir. In the summer I earned a penny for every potato bug picked off her garden...and discerning looks for every flower I accidentally pulled thinking I was helping her weed.

She taught me that she would not stand for anyone saying they were "bored".  There was and is, always something to be done.  Housecleaning, crafts, or an impromptu trip to town for ice cream.  She took us on walks and picnics, and fostered a love of collecting rocks (especially in my sister).

I wasn't patient and she wasn't one to force anything so I missed out many other lessons she had to teach. My sister however, learned to sew, cook, garden.  She also gained a strong command of the English language.   Grandma was a big believer in the importance of good grammar, because of her, my sister is too. She became a grammar nazi...I really wish now that I would have paid more attention.  If I were to print out my blog she would enjoy circling my many errs in red pen. (Like she used to do with the newspaper.)

Grandma did manage to teach me that books are wonderful, crossword puzzles can be fun, and poetry is beautiful.  Though her love of poetry didn't ever sink in too deep with me, it is something that reminds me of her.  She instilled a life long love of learning.  She also was a living example to living your faith.  She had a strong faith in God and lived her life walking his path.  Without being judgmental or looking down on others, in all aspects of her life she seemed perfect in my eyes. She also let us stay up way past our bedtime to watch Saturday Night Live with her.

She taught me the joy of keeping in touch with people.  Your day can be made with a simple  phone call or getting a letter in the mail.  In college I loved visiting with her on weekends and exchanging handwritten letters.  Though occasionally I received the bittersweet  empty addressed envelope. I tried to smile and think, she thought of me.  I tried to push down the fear that she was getting more forgetful.

I really noticed my grandma's memory start to slip from her when I was in high school.  Her personality has always stayed the same. For that I am grateful. She never spoke ill of anyone, she always had a sincere compliment ready, and her beauty shines through in how she treats others. Her sense of humor and determination to do anything is still intact.  (Growing up she worked as hard as any man and had a love for learning.) She is humble and never one to brag, but she will always talk up her loved ones.

It hurts that someone I love so much and have always looked up to doesn't know who I am anymore.  I hurts that my children won't share the same kinds of memories that I have.  I so much want for them to feel the love and have the love that I do for her.  I wish she could recognize and get to know my Husband.  She had such a way of making people feel part of the family. At one time her mind was a steel trap, with facts, figures, names, dates, stories, tips and tricks all neatly organized and ready for anything.  Sound advice when asked, encouragement when needed. A solution to any problem stain and a go to recipe sure to be hit, and a trick to reign in an ornery horse.

It hurts to see that her shaking has gotten so much worse.  To see all the things I remember her loving being taken from her.  She has always been an avid reader, and her eyesight is going and her shaking makes it almost impossible for her to read.  The same for sewing and writing letters.  She prided herself in never forgetting birthdays or anniversaries and loved exchanging mail and the Reader's Digest.

It hurts to hear her repeat the same conversation we just had to pictures in a magazine in her hand, and realizing than in the time for her to look down she forgot I was even there.

It hurts seeing her in the nursing home (although I know it is where she needs to be) because it is the one place she always said she didn't want to go. And because it makes me feel guilty I live so far away and only have made it to visit her a few times a year since she moved in.

It hurts to hear her say she feel useless because she can't do anything.  When I know she had such a strong work ethic and determination. She really could do anything.  She prided herself in helping others and was so worried about being seen as a burden.

I just want you to know Grandma, you never have been a burden. Not a single day in your life. And with all the things that you are no longer able to do you are still someone I look up to for all that you are still able to do.

You are still the belle of the ball.
You still spread joy and happiness, you make people feel happy.
You still have the best smile.
You still give the best hugs.
You still are my best example of grace.

I love you grandma, with all of my heart.  I wish I lived closer so I could visit with you more often.

1 comment:

  1. That is so very sweet. You're Grandmother was one of a kind and made everyone feel welcoe and important. Getting old is so hard to watch. Love you.