Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Grandma's Grand Legacy

As you all know, my great-grandmother passed away a few days ago. These things are never easy - even when you are prepared. Sometimes, it’s still hard to try and view life as “normal” and that things will go on because your life kind of “stops” for a time. Therefore, I am doing my best to cope by trying to keep living life. It’s all too easy to get dragged down by thoughts of death when someone close to you passes away. But, instead of thoughts of death, I would rather think of thoughts of life - of my life, her life, the lives around me, and the life that Jesus brings. Therefore, this blog will be about celebrating life; beginning with Grandma’s.

As promised, this is my sentimental and “mushy” blog about Grandma. Everyone needs to know just who she was, what she meant to this world (and to me) and why God wanted her here so long. Although it is evident to all of us why God gave her such a long life, it was never very evident to her. Her daughter, Gloria (my Mom’s Mom), even told me that even in her forties, she was already telling her and her sister what things of hers that she wanted them to have. After all, my great-grandmother was born in 1911, and she didn‘t anticipate a long life-span because it just wasn‘t very common until now. Many times, I asked her if she ever imagined she would experience and see so much in her lifetime. I mean, WOW!! Think of all that she has seen! To get to experience the historical and amazing events, changes, and milestones of the 20th century - and into the next - WOW!! Can you imagine?! She would wince and groan when thinking about how she lived into the 21st century and said it was just “too long.”

Aside from all the remarkable things that have happened in the world in her lifetime, her life was nothing short of remarkable as well. I remember how she told me about marrying grandpa. I believe she said she was only sixteen!! LOL They ran off and got married and she said they were a little afraid of what they would come home to. LOL (I believe she said she feared her brother’s rage!). But, unlike most marriages today, theirs was a lasting one and truly was until “death do us part.” Forgive me, but I do not know the exact number of years that they were married. I believe it was over sixty years; until he passed away (I believe I was in second grade at the time). And, in the span of their lives together, they had three children: my Grandma (Gloria), my Aunt (Marlene), and my Uncle (Dennie). Plus, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and most recently three great-great-grandchildren (two of which are my children). ;) WHAT A LEGACY!!

I don’t know how well I will do at writing any kind of biography, but I will just tell you what I know. I know that Grandma was always a great mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother (and great-great-grandmother!!). She was also very hard-working and labored hard at GE for many years. But, more importantly than that, was the hard work she put into her family because she sure has a great one. She was beloved by everyone. She was known for her sweetness, her cute little chuckle, and also for her stubbornness and feistiness. He he. She was always such an inspiration to me because she didn’t let anything get her down!! Even when she was riding around on her three wheel bike a few years ago and fell off and hit her head, she didn’t let that deter her. She kept on doing what she wanted to do; regardless of the gasps of the family and concerns that she was trying to do too much as she aged. Gosh, I remember that she got a helmet for her birthday that year - so she wouldn’t have an incident like that again (it even had “go, granny, go“ written on it lol). But, sweet and stubborn little Grandma (when I asked her if she wore her helmet) said that she wasn’t going to wear that because it would mess up her hair. LOL Man, you just gotta love grandma!! She just kept on living life no matter what it threw at her! No matter how many times she fell down - literally or metaphorically - she always got up and kept going. She was always determined to be independent and able bodied. At ninety-six years old, only the last couple years of her life were spent being totally dependent on others. That’s really something isn’t it?

So, why did God have her here so long? Why was it such a big mystery to her? It was no mystery to me or anyone else!! We all loved her so much!! She was a joy to be around and her determination, endurance, and everything that she was is a lasting inspiration to us all! We are all so very blessed to have known her. Wow, who would have thought that not only would she and her grandchildren get to know and be with her, but so would her great-grandchildren; and even GREAT-GREAT!! As one of the “greats” I can tell you that I have always been particularly blessed by her. She is probably where I get some (if not all) of my stubborn and strong-willed spirit from!! Though, I don’t know if I could tell you which of us is more so. LOL I wonder if, when I get to be her age, I’ll be as strong and determined to endure and live life while all the while having such a sweet, peaceful, and gentle spirit. Her life is amazing to me and I hope that the way people speak about her could one day be the way people speak about me. Doesn’t everyone want to be thought of as that “sweet lady” or “great guy” that everyone adores? To KNOW that you have that much of an impact and that your life left an imprint on this world is the greatest treasure; and why we are put here in the first place. We are MEANT to leave our mark and make a difference!!

These are the things I think about as I endure through these days following her departure from earth and into heaven. I think about how we all got to be just as determined, enduring, and strong like she always was. We all got to keep living life! Sometimes, I even think about her being in heaven looking at us and saying, “oh, don’t you worry about me!” Grandma always worried about being a bother - though she never was. She didn’t ever want anyone to “make a fuss” as my Mom so often told me. ;) Ok, sorry Grandma, but I got to make a LITTLE fuss over you!! I’m just as stubborn as you are and I’m going to write about you and tell the world how wonderful you are - so there!! LOL

I would now like to share a few moments with you that cheered me up in the last few days. The first being another picture of a life being well-lived. I have a video clip of my friend, Brittany, who was awarded the local golden arts award. She goes to my church and I performed with her (as well as her father Joseph) in the Christmas Eve drama. Wow, talk about talent! AND, she has a dynamite faith and sweet spirit as well! I’m grateful to know her and that she will also be one to leave a grand legacy as she accomplishes much in her life!!

The second person I would like to mention is Haley Chaney. Some of you will likely remember me requesting prayer for her and posting a couple blogs about her. If you haven’t been getting regular updates through signing up through her care page, then I’ll tell you that the latest update is nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, I see a lot of my grandma in her. LOL As I read through her updates yesterday, I couldn’t help but be reminded of grandma as I read about her determination, stubbornness, and endurance. Haley had more than just a fall or bump on the head like my grandma got every so often. Haley got a pretty bad head injury to her brain. Things looked really bad, but she made it through and then progressed rapidly in only a month’s time!! Her Mom had written in the update that an ER nurse that happened to see them not too long ago had tears in her eyes because she said that the fact that Haley was alive and doing as well as she was is just a miracle!! Glory be to God!!

Ok, I know that this is an insanely long blog, but bear with me for a few more comments. These have to do with my son, Casey. For those of you that don’t know, Casey was named after my great-grandmother’s husband who went by the name of Casey. So, I think my son was especially meaningful and precious to grandma (or so I have been told). They definitely had a special bond. I can’t even begin to tell you of the countless times that he has shown her love or affection without even being prompted to do so! Even in the last few visits with her, he has displayed such amazing, pure, and unconditional love for her. It was like witnessing a perfect example of Christ’s perfect love right in front of my very eyes as the pureness of my little child (who is now five years old today!) blessed the hearts of all who seen and heard of his heart for grandma. Casey’s blue eyes always had this look in them; like he was looking right into grandma’s heart and knew just what she wanted/needed. He would look at her with the sincerest look of love and tenderness in his eyes and then crawl up on the arm of the recliner and sit there. He would lean up against her, give her kisses, and even fall asleep sometimes. In those moments, I could see such radiant joy on grandma’s face; even if she didn’t speak it out loud. Sometimes, she would just smile; and give her trademark giggle. I would watch as their hearts seem to do all the talking. No words were spoken; just the unspoken emotion and serene looks on their faces said it all. It was just like one of my friends always talks about; it was “skeletal thoughts.” Meaning, it’s when you have things in your mind that you want to say or communicate, but they can’t be put into words. They are just this “skeletal” framework of thoughts and feelings that you have that words and actions just cannot convey. “Skeletal thoughts” are just moments of “being” and just conveying your heart - no words, no nothing…..just being, gazing, and existing. Yet, all the while, everything that you could possibly want to say is communicated without having to utter a sound or even make a movement.

It’s this picture perfect image of “being” and pure love that lingers in my mind the most; the thought that I see and hold onto whenever I think of her. For some reason, it just makes me think of Jesus talking about the little children coming to Him, because sometimes (out of concern for grandma and that maybe Casey would jar her or not be gentle enough) I would ask her if he was bothering her. I always asked, but I always got the same answer. She always grinned from ear to ear and said “no” and that he was fine right where he was. She wouldn’t have let go of those moments for anything and neither would Casey. Those moments were theirs, and even the concerns of a paranoid Mommy were invalid because in those carefree moments of bliss, nothing else mattered.

So, in addition to wanting to live a life like hers, I also want to live a life like Casey’s. I want to be humble like a child; always loving others unconditionally and seeing their innermost needs. I also want to be sweet and fun-natured - like he was today. Casey doesn’t realize, yet, that grandma is gone. I don’t even know if he will understand when it’s time to say good-bye (which will be next week on Wed./Thurs. for those of you wanting to know - I’ll give you more details as I get them). Anyways, for Casey, life is still good. He and Gianna were laughing it up today and it made me smile and laugh as well. I really needed that. Sure, it’s ok to be sad and miss her, but in moments like this today, God showed me that life is still beautiful and meant to be a joyous thing. I can still smile and laugh and that’s what grandma wants for all of us anyways. I can imagine her laughing at Casey as he cracked up today. In fact, I have a video clip of it that I just uploaded to You Tube. I hope it makes you smile! I know she would have been “tickled” to see it!!

Ok, well, I think I got all of my “mushies” out. ;) Sorry this is so long everyone. I don’t blame you if you skimmed through this (or skipped it entirely). LOL Anyways, I love my grandma and I’m glad I got to share more about her with everyone today. God bless all of you!!

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